The Trinetra Method: How This Vlogger Is Making a Change Post 377

This 22-year-old medical student dispels myths and gives people insight into the transgender experience.

Updated05 Sep 2019, 08:40 AM IST
India
3 min read
“People need to understand that there is so much diversity within the transgender community itself, that I mentioned earlier, and that painting an entire community in one large brush stroke is not how you will understand and humanise the experience. Do the work. Listen and learn.”
Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju

All of 22 years old, Trinetra Haldar is a medical student, a vlogger and an activist. Through her YouTube channel ‘The Trinetra Method’, she has been documenting her journey as a transwoman, sharing intimate details of her gender confirmation and breast augmentation surgery. She reaches out to thousands of followers on Instagram as well, to provide insights into unknown or misunderstood aspects of the transgender experience in India, often calling out transphobic and problematic behaviour.

Why Start Vlogging?

Trinetra explains that she took to to expressing herself through art to deal with the harassment and abuse she experienced in her early teens.

“I was about 13-14 years old I think, and that was the time that I just started high school and I was being bullied, quite terribly, in fact, because I’ve always been rather 'effeminate' and I had told people that I’m attracted to men and as someone who lived like a boy at that point in time, it wasn’t received very well," she said, adding that while this self-expression started out as a form of therapy, she soon realised how pivotal her documenting her experiences is, when strangers on the Internet started reaching out with messages of solidarity.

“I realised that it's not about me anymore. It's become activism and I think that that type of positive visibility is very important in society,” she said.

Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju
Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju
(Photo Courtesy: Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju)

Privilege Can Be Used to Create Visibility

Acknowledging that her experience comes from a place of privilege that not everyone else enjoys, Trinetra says that it made her realise that she must use her privilege to create more visibility and awareness.

“I do come from a Hindu Brahmin family. I do come from a family that chose to educate me and not throw me out of the house, which should not be a privilege but it is in Indian society. I come from a family that accepted me as their daughter and funded my medical transition. I think anyone that comes from that kind of privilege, or any privilege for that matter, should acknowledge it and should use it so as to create more visibility, more awareness. I think nullifying that privilege is the goal,” she said.

A Year After Sec 377 was Scrapped, Have Things Changed?

Trinetra says that while Section 377 was just one of the methods used by law enforcement agencies to harass transgender people, the situation still remains very much the same.

“Even though it’s been a year, transgender people continue to be harassed on the streets by people, by law enforcement. Perhaps it brought to the forefront several activists, lawyers and several people working for the equality of LGBTQI+ people, perhaps that representation and visibility is very important. But does it change the mindset of people overnight? It does not. Does it make institutions more LGBTQI friendly overnight? It does not.”
Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju

What Are Some Misconceptions People Still Harbour?

“The most common misconception is that being transgender is all about the genitals. It’s all about one surgery and it’s all about genital ambiguity. Well, it’s not! There is so much confusion and curiosity about our bodies, that people should just come out and ask, instead of making assumptions,” she said.

Painting the entire transgender community with one brushstroke, believing the experiences of all trans persons to be identical and considering surgical transition to be a merely cosmetic process, are some of the things she believes, need to change at the grassroots level.

“Understand that the world is not as simple as you thought it to be in your class 8 Political Science textbook. People don’t understand that calling yourself an ally, does not end at calling yourself an ally. Do the work. Listen and learn,” she signs off.

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Published: 04 Sep 2019, 03:22 PM IST

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