Rathi / India
“Back home, I remember days when I found it difficult to focus on studies; wearing sarees and sitting down to study would help me concentrate better then. My family was aware of certain things that I used to do. They believed that I could be “fixed” through the offerings made to our Gods and frequent visits to doctors who didn’t understand transgender people.
In the final year of my diploma course, I was one of just two students who was offered a job. I relocated to Chennai for work and stayed with my aunt for a year. Throughout that period, thoughts of my identity stayed at the back of my mind. I slowly started asking around to see if there were others like me. I found someone on Facebook who was a transgender and lived with them for a year before I moved to a place of my own. By that time, I was working as a Senior Technician in another organisation. I was an honest employee who was valued in the organisation and loved working on the mechanical side of things because of my interest in cars.
While I was trying to get to know my community and build my career alongside, there were some people in the community who tried to deter me from growing. I had lost my job because of that. By that time, I had loans to repay and my living expenses to take care of. Eventually I was trafficked into the system of commercial begging and sex work; it took a while to even understand what happened with me.
So I left everything to go back home. After a few days though, my father started taking me to different doctors once again. One of those doctors gave me sleeping pills. All this psychologically affected me. I even attempted suicide once but my brother saved me. After some treatment, I came back to Chennai. Weekly once, I would go with my people for begging but I tried finding a job though I did not get a lot of help.
I currently have a lot of financial constraints and struggle to meet my essential needs. My father helps me but I wish I had a job. I have been searching for jobs in the automobile industry as I have experience in the field, but I need to work on my communication skills. I keep checking job search websites although I have not found anything positive yet.
I await the day when all people in our society see us as equals. I wish I could interact with everyone freely. I want to work in a place where I belong and can be accepted for who I truly am. I want others to respect me.”
Rathi was part of PeriFerry’s corporate training program, Revive. Though she did not get placed at the end of the program, she has been working on upskilling herself to ensure job readiness and is keen to get back to the workplace. We are determined to continue our efforts until she finds a place where she truly belongs.