Chennai: Be it education, societal acceptance or recognition of rights the transgender community has never had it easy, always having to overcome the hurdles thrown at them by society. The story of 22-year-old Rakshika Raj, a transwoman with a nursing degree and no job in hand, is yet another example of the hard lives of illustrious transgenders.
Born as Rajkumar in Walajabad, Kanchipuram, she says she identified her sexuality when she was in high school. She says,”When I confessed this to my parents, they treated it as a mental disorder. I then undertook a hormonal assay which showed my testosterone levels to be below average than that of a male. “
After she was identified as a transgender, her family shunned her and she was left to fend for herself. She says,” I worked as a peer educator at the NGO SWAM Social Welfare Association for Men during my student days, where I educated HIV positive people on safe sex. This helped pay my tuition fees.” She says this was when she became interested in nursing.
“My community faces a lot of discrimination. As a nurse, I want to help my community,” she says.
She then joined Padmashree college of nursing, Walajabad where she says she received a lot of support from the college’s then principal Dr.K.Menaka.
“I never faced discrimination in college. My principal extended her full support and warned of severe action against anyone who bullied me. I was easily accepted in my college circle.”
However, life was not easy for this aspiring nurse later.
Rakshika who was recently in the news for receiving her degree in BSc Nursing from Governor Banwarilal Purohit at the 31st convocation ceremony of MGR medical varsity asks,”What is the use of receiving a degree when one can’t find a job? The Tamil Nadu Nurses and Midwives Council (TNNMC) does not have a separate box for transgenders. When I approached the council’s registrar regarding the matter, they asked me to tick the female box.
But I don’t identify myself as a female. All my documents have been changed to identify myself as a transgender which I am extremely proud of. Identifying as another gender is forgery.”
This news comes after the Supreme Court’s historic 2014 judgement which ruled that transgenders are eligible for all rights just as every other citizen of the country and can apply for education and employment under the ‘other’ gender category. “The TNNMC is waiting for a government order (GO) to implement it,” Rakshika accuses. The failure on government’s part to pass the GO has made Rakshika’s life hard, as she is struggling financially with no job in hand, even a year after she graduated.