Through Positive Eyes

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Dolly IndiaDolly

They said I could look after patients in the ward. I became famous there as Dolly the caretaker.

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I have faced many difficulties in my life. I am a Hindu Punjabi and I am transgender. As a child, my brothers used to sexually abuse me. When I was older, I had an accident and was taken to the hospital. My mother could not handle seeing how injured I was, and she fell ill and passed away. Following that, my father committed suicide.

My accident had left me unable to pass urine and I needed an operation. My brothers continued to beat and verbally abuse me and we had disputes about property. My grandmother advised me to sell a room in the property we owned to pay for my operation, and I was able to get Rs. 90,000 (less than $2,000 US), which covered it. After the operation, however, I was still unable to pass urine through my genital organs and did so through a hole on the side of my body. I felt upset but continued to live as normal a life as I could. Complications arose and I was put back in the hospital.

There, I met a Muslim man who mistook me for a relative of his named Pappu, who had gone missing. When his family met me, they began to cry, saying my features and my mannerisms were like Pappu’s and that I was their son. I thought that being a part of their family might help me, so I lied and said yes, you are my mother and father.

They took me to their house. I thought that they would be rich, but they had nothing! I got used to the idea, however, so I sold my family house. I got my share of the property and moved to Agra to be with my new family, to help them. But they too sexually abused me. I enjoyed it, but later on would feel guilty and think it was a sin.

In time, I moved to Bombay. Although my Muslim father knew I was gay, my Muslim mother did not and she forced me to marry a girl in Bombay. My genital organs were still not functional, but my mother had seen that my wife was well-to-do and got me married. On my wedding night, I told my wife my story. We were very worried and didn’t know what to do. Family members pressured us to have a child anyway, and we had a test tube baby, a daughter.

Afterwards, I continued to have sex and then I fell ill. I tested positive for HIV. I felt guilty. I was worried and cried a lot and thought I would die soon. I went to the hospital and asked them for work. They said I could look after patients in the ward. I got food in return. I became famous there as Dolly the caretaker. Slowly my health improved, and I began to look better.

Now even though being positive is fine, it prevents me from getting a house. It is difficult to get work too. I get laid off because of it. With God’s grace I remain strong. I am very happy. I am healthy and I live by society’s rules. I behave and dress according to what society will approve. I am not excessively sexually active. I do not dress as a woman while I am on duty as a social worker in the hospital. I make patients feel comfortable to share their problems with me. Now society is on my side, and how they see me is how I want them to.

Part 2

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