#Friendswithstyle – What is “Normal”?
Sometimes, it takes a lot of courage to be who you are. To be blessed with an easy life is one thing, but to come out to the world, in a way that it doesn’t consider “normal” is something! Lucky for me, I’ve been privileged enough to know one who has done that. Rachana is a trans-woman. A power-house of positivity, she’s more than comfortable with herself.
What Rachana has been through to come out is a thing of the past but her vision of building a secure future for herself is something that I personally admire (Apart from her sense of humor and matter-of-fact attitude).
When she was about 10 years old, she realized that though she’s in the body of a man, she thinks and feels like a woman. One can only imagine the intensity of how tough it can be to, first of all, come to terms with it yourself and then the pain of explaining this “unnatural occurrence” to your near and dear. What followed is history. Disagreements, disownments and never-ending battles that can not only destroy one’s self-confidence but also their desire to exist, leave alone live!
Rachana came out of it stronger and wiser than ever. She had the foresight to understand that this situation could lead her to being ostracized and to survive in this society, she needed power. She made education that! A lot of us tend to take privileges like education for granted. We quit school and college because we think we are smarter than that. But for some, education is a weapon. Rachana holds a double Masters’ degree. She speaks English impeccably. But guess what, despite all these qualifications and her high IQ, Rachana was rejected from the corporate world just because of her identity. A perfect example of a society full of educated fools.
Today, Rachana has moved over from the betrayal of this hypocritical society and has taken a stand to be the support system of many others like her by fighting for their rights. After the NLSAv.UOI judgment of 2014 (Read about it here), she co-founded the Telangana Hijra Intersex Transgender Samiti (THITS) which is an unregistered, unfunded organization. The THITS team work with the system and Police by bringing to their knowledge, the crime towards members of their community, filing FIRs and taking action.
One of Rachana’s biggest achievements as an activist is the arrest of the murderers of Pravallika, a trans-woman sex worker. The THITS team pursued the Police for a fortnight if not more to find the gang of goons and put them behind bars. With the help of social media, they posted tapes related to the murder online, which were picked up by the United Nations’ Human Rights and passed down into the hands of India’s Central Government Human Rights campaign. Rachana is always on the go, joining protests and actively taking part in campaigns to protect her community.
Apart from being a part of my blog, Rachana has also penned the lyrics of a song that reflects on transgender issues, which will be out soon! She’s part of the ‘Kudrat’ Project that helps weavers of Telangana promote their handloom sarees. Rachana accomplishes so much in a day and I can’t even post on my blog regularly. I promise to do so hereafter.
It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t mention the inspiration behind this blog- Ravita Mayor! Besides inspiring me, she also gave me the privilege of wearing one of her gorgeous creations. She works day in and day out to rehabilitate Transgenders and sex workers. Her contribution in this field is immense and so heart-felt. She’s one of the biggest examples of a strong and responsible designer. Thank you Ravita!
Outfit on me designed by Ravita Mayor|
Photography and conceptualization by Mike Anderson|
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