Sanjana Singh believes parents should not try to change their children but accept them as they are.
Mumbai: She was rejected for being different when all she wanted was the warm embrace of her family and the people she knew.
She left home at 15 years of age – alone but defiant to make a mark for a transgender like her.
And today, she or Sanjana Singh, has become the first transgender in Madhya Pradesh to become a government employee.
Director of Social Justice and Disabled Person’s Welfare Krishna Gopal Tiwari made her his personal secretary on March 1.
Sanjana spoke of her constant struggle to fit in for the last 15 years. “I just feel my hard work paid off,” she told this correspondent.
Social work was not only Sanjana’s ticket to the job, but it also gave her immense satisfaction to be able to do something for her community – women who continue to live on the fringes of social perception.
Before joining Tiwari, she was the first paralegal volunteer of the District Legal Authority.
Why this field? “The welfare of society was what I was interested in. I later worked for an NGO for over a year.”
Sanjana, who was forced to leave her house at 15, is no stranger to pressure and stigma. “My work has been focused on making society accept the transgender community,” she said.
But it was not easy for her when she first joined a transgender group. “There were issues of acceptance in the group too. But these are petty things. What needs to reduce is the vast gap between us and society,” she said.
She wanted to make sure that the third gender has social acceptance and work. “I want our community to get job reservation. The opportunity to people should be given who are willing to work. It should be an option for the community because if everyone has a job, then after a certain point of time, the transgender community will lose its culture of what they do now – performing at weddings and visiting homes of newborns.” She wanted preconceived notions about her community to be wiped out.
“Reservation for our community is far off as the government can’t fulfil the expectation of mainstream men and women,” she added.
With Section 377 decriminalised, Sanjana felt the community now has more options and rights. “After the verdict, we can easily avail government schemes for health, job and education,” she added.
Expressing her views about social acceptance, Sanjana said people, who talked about her behind her back, were now sending her friend requests on social media and inviting her to their homes.
Sanjana’s sisters have been very supportive ever since she left home.
Sanjana is thankful to the Madhya Pradesh government for the platform to live a respectful life.
She believes parents should not try to change their children but accept them as they are. She signs off saying her work to persuade other members of her community to join mainstream life would continue.