Sowndharya, is a story of rebirth and transformation – the one of unending bravery and courage. A child conflicted with gender identity, isolated in her grief and with nobody to talk to – is someone the world tramples and ruthlessly weeds out, without mercy. But this child, lived and loved, fought hard against the many injustices, the hostile world tormented him with.
“Born in a family of five people, my sister passed away when I was really young. When I was in 6th standard, I realized about my gender identity. I might have looked like a boy on the outside but my feelings were inclined to being feminine. I was scared how I would live my life going forward. My father never accepted me for who I was and the situation at home was very toxic. It was my maid servant who loved me dearly and accepted me the way I was. After she passed away, I didn’t know where to go.
I went to my transgender friends. I went to Sahodaran office and it was a drop in centre back in those days. I would go there every Sunday to fully express my feminine self. We used to get together, laugh and talk about life and love. My father did not like me going there although it was my safe place. After sometime I couldn’t remain in my house anymore due to the harassment, so I ran away. I met Priya, who took me to a few transgender gurus – Kala, Komathi, Ramba. I started crying as soon as I spoke to Kala Amma. For the first time, I felt like someone understood me. They told me that I don’t have to beg or sex work so they kept me at home for six months. After a few months, they pushed me to go to Bombay and beg for a year. It was a very rough year for me.
A major transformation happened in my life when I met Kalki from Sahodari Foundation. She introduced me to art, and got me ahead in my life. She taught me MS Office, counselling, and upskilled me. Through world vision trust, I educated 5 transgenders via online platforms. I teach a lot of people dance and I’ve been performing along with my group for the last 15 years. I’ve also worked with Aravaani Art Project where we have done art project in Flipkart and our Ernavoor housing colony. I’m a social activitist – where I attend to crisis situations, and also work with Snegithi NGO as a technical advisor. We do a lot of voluntary work, and this is my life.”
Sowndharya is a force, a resurgence that lesser mortals like us, had to be educated about.
So she lived.
To tell her story.