Tales of transgender people

Asmika Guragain/Pahichan – Bhumika Shrestha, a transgender, takes a trip down  the memory lane when she was grappling with antithetical situations.  Bhumika was, in fact, accustomed to hearing derogatory words such as  ‘chhakka or hijara”. But did people ever try to  understand Bhumika’s anguish and feelings? Perhaps, not!

Bhumika loved to put on her sister’s dress and  makeover when she was just five. Even her parents seemed least bothered  to see their 5-year-old son’s interest in a girl’s costume.

However, things started getting complicated when  she entered her teenage years. “My friends, neighbors, and unknown boys  started bullying me,” says Bhumika. “I also had to drop out from my  school when some teachers insisted that I should  behave like a boy,” she recalls with tears in her eyes.

Bhumika was only 16 when she met Pinky Gurung, a  transgender. “I was waiting for a bus at Ratna Park when I noticed Pinky  staring at me making me feel uncomfortable,” recalls Bhumika. “Later  when she took me to Blue Diamond Society (BDS),  my happiness knew no bounds to encounter with other transgender,” she  added.

She started grooming herself later to win the Miss  Pink transgender beauty pageant in 2007. This title transformed the life  of this 30-year-old Bhumika augmenting her confidence and later making  her the first transgender person to be the  general convention member of Nepali Congress and to contest the  elections to the Constituent Assembly as the proportional representative  candidate from Kathmandu constituency-9.

That’s not all. She also unbolted her journey into  the Nepali film industry where she will be seen in an upcoming Nepali  movie ‘Kanchhi’.

“The stardom that I gained after winning the  pageant, and the opportunity to contest the PR candidacy, enthused me,”  she said. Her involvement and entirety for the rights of transgender  took her far away from the birth-name, Kailash, a  boy’s name.

Meanwhile, Pinky Gurung, 40, who hails from  Lamjung, reminiscences of having more female friends than male friends  at school. “Despite being a boy, I was often feverish and girlish due to  which my friends used to call me with belittling  names. I sometimes used to question myself about my nature,” recalls  Pinky.

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Pinky, in fact, was Sanjeev for the society. It  took her almost 15-20 years to open up her identity in the society. “I used to carry skirts and dress in my bag and used to change it at my  friend’s cafe,” she reminisces. “I opened up myself  in the society when I was 29.”

After working as an activist for several years at  the Blue Diamond Society, Pinky became its President. Having worked for  11 years with the BDS, she was nominated as the party candidate under  the proportional representation system in the  parliamentary election from Naya Sakti Party in 2017.

“Even though I was not elected, I appreciate the  party for providing the opportunity to a person belonging to minority  LGBTI community,” she says adding that she will remain active in  politics to work for LGBTI communities.”

Likewise, Sophie Sunuwar, a proud transgender woman  proved herself by exhibiting her artistic skills. He was born as a son  in the family and even helped the mother in the household chores. Sophie  was skilled in dancing, acting, cooking,  drawing, and even knitting sweaters.

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“I realized that I was different. My family noticed  changes in me but they never raised a question about my gender,” Sophie  told APD. Her journey started when she initiated working as an LGBT  activist with BDS where she met other people  like her.

Sophie, 31 of Baneshwor, worked with WOW magazine.  “Working in WOW (World of Women) magazine was a starting phase where I  got to rivet my makeup skills to many celebrities,” she says.

Working with this magazine not only backed her to  annex other experiences but also assisted her to open her own makeup  studio called ‘Reveal’ in 2015.

“The road until this moment has been rocky. There  was a time when I wanted to leave my passion and work but I gave myself  another chance. And here I am, Nepal’s first transgender makeup artist,”  she asserts.

“All you need in life is confidence and ignorance,  then success is sure,” this popular saying of Mark Twain is proved right  by them. However, many Nepali transgenders still lack experience.

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