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03 Dec 2022, Edition - 2699, Saturday

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Are transmen an invisible community?

Indrani Thakurata


We are at a crossroads as a nation.Unless you are living under a rock, you will know that the SC hearing on Section 377 is on. Even Though we are at a much better place vis-a-vis awareness around sexual orientations that aren’t the socially accepted ones, we have a long way to go. In India, the LGBT community is the most neglected one, devoid of privileges that the society bestows upon the so called ‘normal’. Thanks to the queer marches and many other platforms that have mainstreamed gays and lesbains but the third gender (eunuchs and transgenders) are still struggling to find a space under the sun. How much is known about Trans men and their lives? Many of us are unsure about Transgenders and more so about Trans Men who are a completely invisible community.

“ Eunuchs have their community but very little is reported on Transmen and their lives. The stigma attached to them and the misery that they have to go through because of gender dysphoria,” says Alaknanda Banerjee Bhattacharya, Journalist. It is true that very little is known about Trans Men, who they are and where are they placed in the society. T. Mahender , Programme Manager, Saathii, a researcher who deals with the LGBTQ community closely takes this opportunity to clear the vagueness surrounding the Trans Men by answering few, most often-repeated questions.

A trans man (sometimes trans-man or transman) is a man who was assigned female at birth (AFAB). The label of transgender man is not always interchangeable with that of transsexual man, although the two labels are often used in this way. Transgender is an umbrella term that includes different types of gender variant people (including transsexual people). Many trans-men choose to undergo surgical or hormonal transition, or both to alter their appearance in a way that aligns with their gender identity or alleviates gender dysphoria.

The term trans- man is used as a short form for either identity (transsexual man and transgender man). This commonly referred to as female-to-male. Trans-men may identify as transsexual, as transgender, neither, or both. Transgender man is an umbrella term that may include anybody who was assigned female at birth (AFAB), but identifies as male..

Transitioning the body

Transitioning might involve some or all of the following steps

●Social transition: using a preferred name and pronouns, wearing clothing seen as gender appropriate, disclosure to family, friends and usually at the workplace/school.

●Sex reassignment therapy: hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and/or surgery (SRS)

●Legal affirmation: name and (sometimes) sex marker correction in legal identification documents

Being socially accepted as male may be challenging for trans men who have not undergone HRT and/or surgery. Some trans men may choose to present as female in certain social situations (e.g. at work). After physical transition, trans men usually live full-time as male.

Sexual violence

Trans men can be victims of sex crimes, and there are cases where rape has occurred, including with the intention of changing the sexual expressions and/or the sexuality of trans men.


Accessing health care services for trans men is becoming difficult due to denial of services from the female doctors as they attire and looks a male.

At work

Trans-men workers can have a difficult time coping with the traditional workplace due to established gender norms that limit the roles perceived and expected of them. Among fellow employees, potential teasing and/or discrimination can arise further affecting the emotional state of transgender workers. On conditions anonymity , a Transman told me that the cultural sexism is more visible to them, than to anyone else. They see both sides of the coin, he asserts. They are often not recognised as trans, and they can pass off without many glances. But he asserts that the man obviously has it easy in a workplace than a woman. His ideas, and his capabilities are less judged than his female counterpart. This disclosure calls out the real scenario that the women have been fighting for long, and also helps us understand the challenges that needs to be addressed. And often, it takes the ‘third eye’ to understand it objectively.

In school

Those who identify as trans men at an early age may have troubles when their identity conflicts with judgment from traditional school protocol, whether public or private. Discrimination may come from classmates who tease or physically harm transgender people as a result of transphobia.

In college

The needs of college students who identify on the transmen has been largely explored within the last few years,
Much of the scrutiny and discrimination that transmen people face in college can be attributed with having to choose what gender binary they are going to publicly identify with within the public eye. Transmen people face inequality when applying to schools.

Forced Marriages and family support

Sometimes, parents are known to pressurize their girl to marry, and continue to have children Immortality through continuing bloodlines and grandchildren almost always takes precedence over the child’s personal choice and happiness. When a transman transitions from female to male, his brother could be threatened that another male heir has suddenly appeared on the scene.

Fortunately, there are supportive parents who are concerned that their trans children could be abused and thrown out of the house by greedy siblings once the parents have passed away.

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