I arrived in Delhi on 1 November 2022 from Visakhapatnam – with wide-eyed dreams of living in a big city, excited to pursue my Diploma in Photography.
My name is Hayathi, and I am a 33-year-old transgender woman. I live in Munirka, and since my first day in the city, I have been discriminated against because of my identity every time I take the celebrated Delhi Metro.
On Day 1, a Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) security officer at the New Delhi metro station ordered me to move away from the women's line. She did not ask me to show my ID card nor did she ask me why I was on this line; she simply asked me to move over. When I pulled out my ID card, the officer allowed me to pass through – but there was no apology.
A few days later, a male CISF security officer screamed at me – "Why did you go to the female checking booth?" When I explained that I am a woman, they let me use the booth. Yet again, there was no apology.
I have lost count of the number of times this has happened. Every time I step out of the house to take the metro, I feel anxious, jittery, and self-conscious.
'Was Shouted at Even After Showing ID Card'
On some days, I am subjected to pointed gazes and constant stares, and on other days, I am laughed at or subjected to rude behaviour. Every time I use the women's line for a security check, I must explain myself.
But I am tired of explaining myself. I am tired of proving to everyone why I should be where I belong. I am tired of wondering what will happen every time I step out.
Several times, I have been ordered to show my ID card – and shouted at, even after showing it to the officials concerned. But sometimes, when I am in the women's coach, they would single me out and ask me to move to the general compartment.
I came to Delhi with immense confidence to study... but this has made me question myself.
The CISF personnel would ask me to not only "dress like a woman," but also grow my hair and wear bindi and bangles.
But why should I have to change my gender expression for them?
Tired of being discriminated, on 14 December, I made my way up the offices of IPS Officer Jitender Rana at Shastri Park. First, I was not allowed to enter the premises to talk about my grievances.
I explained to the officials that I was there to simply speak about:
Discrimination at security checks in metro stations.
Request for a separate security check for trans persons and those who identify as non-binary and gender non-conforming.
But they immediately asked me to leave the premises. The CISF unit at Shastri Park heard the term 'transgender' and said that they cannot do anything for a 'single woman'. They were mocking me and laughing at me.
'Makes Me Lose My Confidence'
In my email to the Ministry of Social Justice on 14 December 2022, I suggested:
Separate security lines for transgender people.
Job opportunities for transgender women and transgender men in the CISF at security checks in the metro.
Allocate at least four seats to transgender women in the same compartment with women and two in every other compartment.
Sensitise CISF and other government officials about transgender people, sex, gender identity, gender expression, and how to handle women who look manly/masculine and men who look feminine.
On Friday, 17 March 2023, I received an email from the ministry recommending the DMRC sensitise its staff in matters related to transgender persons.
On 21 March, I made my way to meet some senior officials, who assured me that steps would be taken to sensitise staff.
But experiencing these situations on a daily basis makes me lose my confidence and affects my mental health. I am not the only person who is going through this – I know several trans women and men who think a thousand times before taking the metro, who take the same route to avoid altercations.
I live a dignified life, and as a human being, I deserve respect – so does every person, irrespective of the class, caste, creed, gender, and sexuality. Being a trans person should not be an exception to this.
(The Quint has reached out to CRPF. The copy will be updated with their response.)
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