I was told I cannot be a nurse . . .

I am Naresh from Imphal. I am 24 years old and have completed B.Sc. (Nursing). When I applied make-up and danced in school and college functions, I had full support. But when I tried to work as a nurse, I found no place for myself as a trans woman. My first proper job, in a private hospital in Imphal, lasted just about a week. Some of the staff members and the patients were initially accepting, but one day a senior doctor scolded me in front of everyone in the ward saying, “You look like a woman, you keep your hair long, and on top of that you’ve become a nurse . . . people like you are useless!”

If he had wanted to say anything, he could have taken me aside and talked to me. I felt quite bad and just stopped going. The hospital people too didn’t call me once, even to ask for an explanation for my absence.

Later when I applied for state government recruitment, I was shortlisted as I had fulfilled all eligible criteria, but I wasn’t selected. I could hear the security persons snickering amongst themselves, “Eh, nupi saabi are also nurses?”

As it is, there are very few trans people in Manipur who are technically or professionally trained. If we can get proper jobs, then it will help our community more. Trans people have lots of health problems, but a lot of us feel shy going to the doctor or hospitals as we often face discrimination and ridicule. But in this NGO where I am presently working, trans people feel more at ease telling me about their health problems than to a male or female nurse.

As told to Thingnam Anjulika Samom, freelance journalist and gender rights activist


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