We would like to first of all thank the MSJE for taking up the issue of
trans people in the country. We would also like to appreciate the steps
taken by the ministry to address the concerns of our trans
communities. As you all know, in India, because of the large numbers
of our trans sisters and the remarkable way in which they have come
together and organised politically and supported each other, everyone
thinks trans people means only hijras. But trans men also exist. This is
a fact that the government also overlooks when making policies and
programmes for trans people. A case in point being the Aravani
Welfare Board in Tamil Nadu which provides services to only aravanis
and not trans men.
If trans people are a minority with almost no rights in this country, trans
men are a minority within that minority. It is hence, we feel, important to
give special considerations and additional support to a minority group.
Because we were mistakenly identified as women by parents, doctors,
the state and society at large, it has been very difficult for us to come
out of our homes. For years we were guarded behind closed doors, not
allowed to move freely, forcibly married, teased in schools and
colleges, had to drop out of educational institutions, physically
attacked, verbally abused etc. A lot of these problems our brave Hijra
sisters have also faced. But because they were mistakenly seen as
boys, they were free to roam around and find other trans people.
Because their Hijra mothers made space for them, they were able to
leave their homes and live with their trans sisters and mothers. We
don’t have that. We struggle for years alone before we find another
trans man. We struggle for years before we can find a job, independent
housing, find health facilities including Sex Reassignment Surgery
[S.R.S] and overall Trans and General Healthcare. We are sure our
trans sisters will also agree that sometimes words fail to
explain how difficult it is for us to just survive in a society that is so
patriarchal and transphobic.
We, as trans men admire and respect the courage of our trans sisters
who have led the way for LGBTI rights in India. We are learning to
organise ourselves from them and are in the process of doing that.
Just like there are hijras, kinnars, mangalamukhis, aravanis, kothis,
jogappas, shiv shaktis among trans women as identities, there is a
wide range of trans masculine expressions. Some of us have had
surgery, some of us haven’t, some of us are more masculine, others
are more fluid in their gender expression. We have many names to
identify ourselves like bhaiya, thirunambi, gandabasaka, babu, ftm,
trans man etc.
For an umbrella term, to refer to us in all our diversity, we would like
the use of the term, trans masculine. We do not identify with PAGFB
[Persons Assigned Gender Female at Birth] which is what is being
used in reports and meetings here to describe our identities. We
strongly urge you to refer to us by identities that we assume, not ones
that are imposed on us without due democratic discussions and
We would like to be included in the consultations to formulate
progressive policies for trans people and for trans men and people
identified as intersex to be given an opportunity to put forward our
Since the issues and identities involve such a broad range, we would
like to make a direct submission in front of the committee and put
forward our recommendations. We urge the MSJE to give us some
more time to do larger consultations with the trans masculine
community members and come up with recommendations that would
truly reflect the needs of the community.
Signed by 74 trans masculine identified people across India whose names are being withheld for our protection.