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Trans Woman Opens Cafe To Defy Office Harassment: And Other Trans Women Who Inspired Us In 2020

Inspiring Trans Women

As the LGBTQIA+ discourse widens, transgender women are reclaiming the space they deserve and are entitled to in every sphere of life. In 2020, especially, we saw, loved, and were inspired by several such women on the internet whose stories spoke of the successes they achieved, and simultaneously, the barriers society is yet to take down. For instance, Urooz Hussain, whose story we reported earlier, set up her own cafe in the face of office harassment. Though her story is motivational, it is also revelatory of the prejudices that still persist against trans persons. For far too long trans women have been ostracised. It is time to accept and look up to them.

Here is the story of Urooz Hussain and other trans women who inspired us in 2020: 

1. Urooz Hussain

An inspiration for all, 27-Year-old Urooz Hussain is a trans woman from Bihar who has set up her own cafe in Uttar Pradesh’s Noida at Sector 119. Having faced harassment at the workplace, Hussain decided to turn entrepreneur to beat the system that discriminates against trans people. The name of the cafe is ‘Street Temptation’ and Hussain hopes to become financially independent through this.

“I was subjected to harassment at my workplaces so I decided to start my own cafe that treats everyone equally.”, said Hussain to news agency ANI. Further, Hussain also said, “I hope this can inspire others from my community.” Read her story here. 

2. Dr Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju

Dr Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju is Karnataka’s first trans woman surgeon, who is leading the conversation around trans rights and women’s issues extensively on social media at 23. She has been vocal about her gender confirmation surgery (GCS) on Instagram, talking about her transition and the challenges she still faces. “Ch*kka, tr*nny, f*ggot, m*ttha, k*jja, and countless other titles were awarded to me. This day forward, it’s Doctor,” she had posted earlier this year upon completing her medical course.

In an exclusive interview with SheThePeople, Gummaraju spoke of female sexual pleasure and the fetishisation trans persons face in popular media. Watch the conversation below:

3. Mx Dhananjay Chauhan

Mx Dhananjay Chauhan, who identifies as a trans woman, is the first transgender student of Punjab University. They have not only challenged the norms of gender in a hyper-masculine setup, but also reshaped the education system in the region of Punjab by opening doors of Punjab University for transgender people. They have many firsts to their name and a tireless body of work that they have done for the transgender community in Punjab.

In a conversation with SheThePeople, Chauhan opened up about their journey, saying, “Family members do not want their kids to be become trans or transition. Nobody wants it, everyone in family wants their children to be cisgender. Absolute acceptance for your gender identity from family and society at large is rare.” Read their full story here. 

4. Gauri Sawant

Gauri Sawant, a trailblazer in the field of trans rights in the country, was one of the petitioners in the case that recognised transgender as the third gender. She fled her home at the age of 18 as she did not want to be a disappointment to her father. She stepped into activism and offers assistance to trans people and others with HIV/AIDS. She is also serving as the Goodwill Ambassador of the Election Commission in Maharashtra. Gauri has an adopted daughter, Gayatri, whose mother was a sex worker and died when she was just four years old. She gained international recognition when she featured in a Vicks ad in 2017, that broke taboos around motherhood in the trans community. Read her story here.

Sawant spoke to SheThePeople in an exclusive interview, expounding upon how patriarchy begins at home. Watch her conversation below:

5. Dr Beoncy Laishram

Earlier this year, Dr Beoncy Laishram became the first transgender doctor from the Northeast. The 27-year old doctor is based in Imphal, Manipur, and has emerged as a symbol of hope for the state’s highly prominent yet marginalised Nupi Maanbi (trans woman) community. Presently, she is also working towards helping the trans community get access to healthcare.”Around 2016, I realized I could no longer live that life. It was then that I began openly identifying as a Nupi Maanbi,” she was quoted saying. Read her full story here.

6. Nisha Rao

In 2020, Karachi-based Nisha Rao became the first transgender lawyer in Pakistan. From begging on the streets to negotiating cases in the courtroom and standing up for transgender people’s rights, Rao’s story has become an inspiration for many. She ran from her home in Lahore when she was 18, and ended up begging on the streets of the city. After several years of hard work, Rao managed to earn her law degree in 2018 from Sindh Muslim Law College. Speaking to Reuters, Rao said, “I am proud to have become Pakistan’s first transgender lawyer.” Read her full story here.

Views expressed are the author’s own.