WOW | Coffee Break

THE DIVERSITY OF BEING A TRANS WOMAN

Bhumika Shrestha
Activist

About yourself: I am is proud to say that though there may be many who share my name, but there is none like me. And this is because I am the only transgender by this name. I wonder if things would be the same if I were normal. I have experienced many ups and downs in life. From winning the title of Miss Pink 2007 to being a human rights activist and politician to going through mental torture and even physical abuse sometimes when society looked down on me as a ‘hijara’.
Maybe there is lack of awareness in society. The issues of being transgender was never in the open, and we do live in a male dominant society. I am certain that eventually we can overcome this stigma and live in peace and harmony despite out gender differences.

Your achievements: It’s not only big accomplishments that are achievements. Being here at WOW for an interview is also an achievement. Winning Miss Pink in Bangkok in 2007, being a general convention member of Nepali Congress and a human rights activist… and also the times of despair when I was looked down on and all of which made me who I am today, I take as achievements.

Difficulties yet to overcome: Everyone goes through difficulties in life in many ways. There were days we had to face severe discrimination and sometimes still do. But it’s useless to ponder on such things. I was able to surpass that and maintain a positive outlook. I believe that perceptions can be changed. I guess people were confused on how to address the issues of transgender identity. We fought for our rights and we have achieved and overcome this stigma to some extent. There are still challenges and difficulties but I am optimistic that we will overcome this bias.

Happiness is: I used to be happy when my family or friends were happy but I have now realised that I have to be happy first. Externalities no longer determine what happiness is for me.

Message to women: Why not celebrate women’s day with more males partaking and joining in rallies and also helping out more in domestic chores. Unfortunately many women of high status and even public figures limit their boundaries to speeches and functions. Right after the program, when they reach home they succumb to playing the role of a dominated and helpless woman. I don’t understand why? All women are advocators of women rights and must practice their rights at all times and everywhere.