Kali is an 18-year-old trans woman and Instagram influencer. In the last few months, she has started an Instagram page – @melanatedbitch to meticulously document her transition journey and has prominently voiced her opinions on subjects like gender, sexuality, bullying and mental health. Her words have indefineable energy that encourages the trans community to challenge, aspire and outshine.
https://www.instagram.com/melanatedbitch/ ->Instagram handle of Kali.
In conversation with whatsthehustle team, Kali talks about her childhood experiences, online experiences and the Indian Government’s take on the Trans community.
Q. What was it like to grow in a hetero-regular community where gender roles are so profoundly built-in? Would you like to share any experience from your childhood years?
Kali: It was definitely hard from a young age because I found myself extremely feminine and I always loved playing with Barbies. When I was 5-years-old, it was not a huge problem, everybody let me do whatever I wanted to do, but as I started growing older and turned 10- years old, it became more and more hard. People started mocking me and pushing me to be more like the boy because I was a boy and I have to do things that boys generally have to do, which affected me. I felt very uncomfortable when I was forced to do certain things that I didn’t want to do. Even though my teenage years affected me while I turned 15 years old, I stopped caring about society and started my transition.
Q. In 2014, India’s Supreme Court recognized the transgender as the third gender, do you think this legacy sanctity has lessened the discrimination and ignorance by providing equal opportunities to grow?
Kali: Most probably yes. I don’t have a lot of experiences with the legal system but it seems to be a positive thing because a lot of people now have the options to choose – before it was only male and female. Also, that judgement made public spaces and institutions have gender neutral bathrooms which is a positive need, even though a lot of places don’t have them but at least in the book, it is the laws that exist.
Q. Despite legal recognition, the prejudice in our country has pushed many transwomen into seeking alms, from being labelled with various names, harassed and manhandled to terrified being cursed for unlucky. Do you think implementing sex education can help to bring about a difference to the community?
Kali: There are really bad ideas for who transgender people are or why trans people are trans. People don’t understand the difference between being transgender and intersex. I don’t think only sex education can help, the general education about human biology will help to understand different kinds of people who exist. And we need to work on these ideas of trans people having special power and there are a lot of myths that make us different people. We want to fit in and we want to be normal as possible.
Q. Being a young transwoman influencer on social media, how challenging did you feel to transpose the voice of mediocre into contemporary voices of eminence?
Kali: For me, I don’t feel or consider myself an influencer. I love doing makeup and taking photos, once I am done. So I post them on social media regularly which inspires many and I usually get a lot of messages and comments from queer and fellow trans people intending to be like me. And I realised India needs more influencers. So I have been trying to be one. Maybe in the future, I will have more experiences.
Q. Again, talking about Social media, it has both the dark and bright side, how do you manage to eliminate negativity by absorbing the positive side?
Kali: Social media has helped the LGBTQ community to explore, find and discover people with similar interests everywhere in India. For me most of my friends are online and it has helped as a community for us to be there for each other. This is the biggest positive aspect. Harassment and bullying on social media is a negative aspect, it is not hard to block people but some people keep coming back. But the positives out ways the negatives easily.
Q. What would you say to someone who is planning to come out as Trans?
Kali: I would say understand where you are in life right now and what would happen if you come out. Try to understand what your parents, friends and people around you think about it. And get some kind of idea about the consequences completely and then come out. Because sometimes coming out may not have the best results for you and can make your life even more miserable. You should probably wait until you get into college or become financially stable so that you can avoid certain unpreventable circumstances from the family, so always look at the situations and the environment you are in and then decide to come out.