I’m Hemabati. I’m 39 years old and live in Imphal East district. I’m a trans man. My partner Nanao and I have been living together for 13 years now in my house. But some of my family members still do not treat us like a couple.
Since 2005, a year after Nanao came, my brother set up a separate kitchen along with his wife and two children, even though we continue to live in the same house. My mother who used to eat with me and Nanao also started cooking her own food since late 2015, after I asked her to give me my share of the family property.
We might be trans men, but first we are human beings!
Nanao and I want to live properly, in a small place separately to call our own. My father died in my childhood. The registration of the homestead land was transferred from my father to my brother’s name a few years back as he needed a loan. But now, my brother is adamantly refusing to transfer back some land to me.
Whenever I insist on my inheritance, a major quarrel ensues. He verbally abuses me, and even says things like “You with vagina, why would I give to one with vagina? You can stay in this house till your death, you can even die here, but I won’t give you even 25-paise worth!”
The neighbourhood is supportive, but my mother is not understanding enough. I want this to be resolved while she is alive because the frequent quarrel among us siblings is only providing entertainment for the neighbourhood. I tell her, “Ima, while you are living, I want to build a house separately of my own. And when there is some facility available for trans people, I want to apply for loans, etc. So please transfer at least a small area to me.”
But every time I say this to her, she vanishes for a few days without telling us where she is going. Now I want to take legal recourse but I am also hesitant as this is a within-the-family affair.
As told to Thingnam Anjulika Samom, freelance journalist and gender rights activist.