We should count our blessings, agreed. Sometimes we should also count what we have sacrificed and what we have lost. For it helps us appreciate the value of the idea we fought for.
In the journey from Zakir to Aqsa, I have lost many things-
1. I have lost my immediate family. Other than my mother, I do not have any meaningful relationship with any of my family members. My brother and his family have boycotted me. I need not elaborate on the importance of having a family. I don’t have one.
2. I have lost my relatives. I have no communication with any relative and have not met anyone for many years now. They are not aware of my transition. All my family members and relatives are blocked on social media. Do you enjoy the company of your uncles, aunts, and cousins? I am not even allowed to meet them. I have stopped going to my hometown of Mumbai and my relatives are not allowed to visit me here by my family.
3. I have lost my friends. I have lost some of my closest and best friends simply because I decided to be myself.
4. I have lost money. Transition is not a cheap affair, especially since the facilities are not available in govt hospitals. I have invested lacs of rupees in my transitioning.
5. I have been afraid of losing my job. Yes, you read this right. However progressive may we call ourselves, I was afraid I may lose my job because the name on my degrees doesn’t match my new legal identity.
6. I have lost social connections and respect. It is difficult, exhausting and uncomfortable to be brave everyday, to explain to every person and to face their reactions. How do you avoid this? You retreat into a shell. I may appear confident but I am a timid tortoise who wants to go back to my shell in a jiffy at the smallest of sign of danger.
7. I have lost security. Being a non-passing trans woman puts me at risk of verbal, physical and sexual harassment every living day of my life. Not all fears come true but not all fears are invalid.
8. I have lost respect and popularity. Many many people who used to appreciate me previously now don’t even look at me and their eyes speak to me what they think about me.
9. I have lost my ability to be a biological parent. In the current circumstances, that is not feasible. I have lost the right to contact my nephew who was also my foster child and whom I raised for 5 years
10. I have almost lost the chance of finding a loving life partner. It is very rare for persons like me to find a suitable match – a loving life partner who would accept me and love me the way I am. All I get are creeps.
Now, though I have lost so many things, I am happy and satisfied with my decision.
And if, hypothetically, I were in a similar situation again, I would choose what I chose, again.