This Blog is for YOU...

If you are/were Gender Dysphoric - so as to know some from me and share some with me, and reaffirm that none of us is alone... To acknowledge that we have a treasure of insurmountable Courage, Strength and Hope in us. I have a feeling that we were given slightly higher quantities of those special gifts :-) [If you have a question to ask me, you could write it as a Comment to one of the posts, and either I would reply to it as a Comment itself, or probably, respond in one of the future posts on this blog]

If you have never been Gender Dysphoric - so as to understand what it means to have a Gender Identity Disorder. Of course, it primarily depends on whether you want to or not. If you don't, please do make a quiet exit and try not to be a nuisance.

If you're confused - so as to realize that everybody goes through a stage of confusion - the period could be short, or sometimes, very long. What is important is to acknowledge that being unsure until you're sure is as normal and as alright as night before day.

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If you're a human being - so as to find out for yourself whether you want to try to make the world a better place to live in, for every fellow human being, irrespective of their health, wealth, colour, race, gender, religion and any and every other line of division you can think of.

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And finally, this blog is for ME - so as to be able to make some difference somewhere by sharing my experiences, and along the way, slowly grow out of those anxieties and insecurities that have inhabited my life for over 2 decades. It is time to escort them to the door now!

Come, Join me on this journey!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Yours truly, The Possibility of Acceptance

[Note: This is especially for those friends of mine who I just finished The Landmark Course with. I really wanted to share myself with you all, but couldn’t because there was little time. Since you would need to know from the very beginning, I’ll do my best to make this easy to understand. If anything is unclear, you’re most welcome to ask questions in the comments section here. Also, if you look to the left of this post, you will see the link from where you can download the film I mentioned on the last day of the Course. It's a 20-min documentary about the issue that I am going to share with you in this post.]

[For other readers: I just attended a worldwide acclaimed course called The Landmark Forum. All I can say is that it is life-altering. I’m a new person today, thanks to this course, and I strongly recommend it to everybody. You may visit their website and take a look at what they do:
http://landmarkeducation.com . The present post is my coming out to my group-mates from the course.]


Who I am is the possibility of Acceptance and Fulfillment, not just for myself, but for the whole world. And for this possibility to be really alive, I have to start with myself and you. It is important for me that I share my past with you because it will only help you and others to widen your limits of acceptance and fulfillment with the whole world.

As you must know, among all the babies that come into this world, a few newborns’ bodies or minds are not fully developed or they’re born with certain ailments which nobody has any control on. For example, some babies have a hole in their hearts when they’re born, or might have a missing limb.

A similar but vastly different ailment is something that is called “Gender Identity Dysphoria.” It is a disorder recognized in medical books wherein a person’s mental gender is not the same as his or her physical gender. That is, a male child has inner feelings of a girl, while a female child identifies with the male gender instead. This is not by choice. This is a disorder that they’re born with and have to struggle with, all their lives if they don’t take a step to correct it. They’re known as transsexual people.

I… was a transsexual child. When I was born, I came in the body of a boy. But ever since I gained consciousness, my feelings were a girl’s feelings, and I always felt I should have been a girl. This created such complex problems that you can probably just imagine. I had to live a double life, a fake life to be able to look ‘normal’ to people. I had to present myself as a male in front of others even though every bit of it was an act. I was playing the role of a boy every single moment of my existence, and yet, I was not a great actor, because most people would see how effeminate I was and for a lot of them, it was just a matter of mockery.

So, I grew up living an unreal life, and faking my identity for 25 years. When I was 25, I finally took the decision that I did not want to live that way any more, and with the support of my priceless parents and family, I underwent a whole process of physical transformation from a male body to a female one. I also had a sex change surgery in Bangkok in 2007, post which I was certified to be a Female.

But somehow, the surgery never freed me the way I had thought it would. You know why? Because it had become a way of life for me to live an act, and I’ve been trapped inside that act. My ACT, by the way, is “Please accept me.” Just because I could never like my own self, I always went out of the way to please others so that they would like me and accept me. Even when I didn’t want to, my whole agenda was to please others and make them say how nice I was. Now, this Act did not leave me after the surgery because it was a way of life for me. I didn’t know any other way of being.

Not until I actually SAW my Act in the Advanced Course [thanks to all of you and especially, Sunitha, Pratiksha and Rahil], and had an absolute breakthrough. I’ve also consistently lived with a thought that people judge me every moment, which is why, I could never really BE with people. But the exercise where we just learnt to BE with each other was another revelation for me. I saw my Act so clearly and it hit me so hard that I broke down thinking how all my life, I had not given myself a chance to feel free and open.

The Advanced course was magical. I feel so free and child-like… it’s like living with no burden and absolute clarity. Honestly, I hadn’t accepted myself fully even after my surgery and physical transformation. Today, I thank you from the bottom of my heart… because the biggest thing I have realized and truly felt is that…

I am whole, complete and perfect. :-)

Now that you know my story briefly, you can take a look at the other posts in this blog (preferably start from the first one which will be at the end) and know me more, if you’d like to, of course. But I must urge you for something. Please broaden your horizons of acceptance. It is very easy and common to mock and reject those people who somewhere fall out of the boundaries of ‘normality’ (and I do not mean only transsexual people) – the normality that WE have created just for the sake of our comfort. We may laugh at those who seem ‘abnormal’ but believe me, the inner struggle they have to go through is massive anyway, without the world making it even tougher. All they need is acceptance and a sense of being loved, because in all probability, their self-worth and self-love is terribly low. Please learn to ACCEPT a person – even though you may not identify with or understand their way of being. I can actually expect this as my right from each one of you, because you have finished the Advanced Course. If there is any bunch of people in the world who can take on this request whole-heartedly, it is you. Let’s accept… ourselves and everybody else because like somebody said (not the exact words), “Show a little compassion to everybody you meet, because each one is undergoing a little struggle of their own.”

32 comments:

  1. It's all empty and meaningless :)
    Great video! and thank you

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  2. It's not ALL empty and meaningless. Life is! :)

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  3. It was a very moving exp goin through your blog..
    you are a very brave girl and I am sure you are goin to go places..

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  4. OMG! Did I just meet the bravest person I have ever met? I guess so.

    I am Nirav. I was the one who came and met you at the Evening Session, requesting you to continue blogging, since it's one of the ways you can inspire even unknown people living anywhere in this world.

    Now, I would like to thank you...
    Thank you for being who you are, and what you do.
    And thank you for doing what you have done to me. I am an advertising professional, teacher, founder-secretary of a Foundation, and a participant in the Leadership Program at Landmark Education, and I was on the verge of quitting some of these areas because it was getting "too much". Now I am not quitting anything. Thank you very much for the inspiration.

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  5. Sushil - Thanks a lot ya! I'm all set to go to all those places! ;-)

    Nirav - Awww... You made my day! Completely! And you know what, the admiration is mutual... because I'm awed by people who can do so many nice things parallelly. I, myself, am a one-time-one-thing person only, and sometimes even a one-time-no-thing person. :-)

    And by the way, when it comes to bravery, what I believe is this - the tougher one's circumstances, the bigger the strength one musters somehow. Everybody is capable of courage, only everybody doesn't have the same circumstances. Human beings are a marvel at large, and I'm only too glad to be a part of this beautiful creation!

    Thank YOU, Nirav! And all the best for everything that you're committed to! [whispers: don't overwork yourself! :-)]

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  6. thnx for those words,kinda helped me......I am kinda having tough time deciding my life and thinking abt my parents since they dont totally accept my existence,but besides tht,I think I needed these words,I needed to bring the words from deep inside me,I guess I cudnt.........thnx again.....
    its true,we need to accept ourselves more thn we need others to accept us,tht is wat we all need

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  7. Dear Nihilus,

    Yes, acceptance always begins at self, just like happiness. I can completely relate to you and I know that the battle is that much harder when the army you're fighting is right within you, actually breathing on your very existence, but you know what, this battle CAN be won, and when it is won, both the armies win!

    I have learnt that "I am whole, complete and perfect" should be the mantra for anybody who is dealing with self-acceptance issues. Stand in front of the mirror and repeat it over and over again, as you hold an eye contact with your own reflection. It helps... tremendously.

    Also, if you take my advice, however difficult your parents might seem, never forget that they love you most dearly. Keep that love going. Disagreements don't have to mean that we stop expressing our love. You know, love can work miracles! So, show your love to your parents even against all odds (and don't show it as a strategy. You DO love them, just express it. Don't let the circumstances stop you from doing that). They may say a lot of things you don't like to hear but think about it this way: In their world, they don't like to hear a lot of things you say too. If you feel they don't understand you, trust me, they would be feeling the exact same thing about you. So, you see, this ice would never thaw unless one of you (I'd say YOU) kept on expressing unconditional, undying love, come what may. I hope you can see what I mean.

    And at the end of the day, take my word for it... YOU have the power to create your life just the way you want it! [I highly recommend 'The Secret' by Rhonda Byrne] Never forget that!

    I'm glad my words helped you in some way. Take care of yourself. May Hope always be with you... Here's a big (Hug)! :-)

    love
    Gazal

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  8. I really should have completed that thought.
    "Now go and give it whatever meaning you choose to give it."

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  9. hey gazal!!
    im sorry i took so long to post a comment! Have been meaning to post one since the day after the forum.
    To tell you the truth i was blown away when i read your blog!! Now i realize the problems that you were talking about and the "Please accept me" act that you had going on!
    I would like to add that i showed your blog to my friends and a lot of them have been completely awed by the kind of courage that you have shown!
    They got inspired to actually look at the forum in a different light after listening to your story! So I thank you for touching moving and inspiring so many people, me included!
    I love you for the person you are which btw is a phenomenally talented writer and speaker to a very sensitive and caring individual!
    So gazal all the best to you in life.. I'm sure you'll achieve great things in life (you have already begun the process!).
    Please stay in touch!
    Take care

    Nachi

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  10. Dear Nachi

    You're such a sweetheart! :-)

    Thanks for every word you've said here! It means a lot.

    And of course, we'll keep in touch. We're a part of a group that was "One for All, All for One", remember? :-) Take care... And all the best!

    love
    Gazal

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  11. Hai Sister
    Just now got a chance to go thru ur profile, i feel as if am already very late to post a reply after reading your complete profile. you are really very great,Now i accept that u r a real woman by birth!I have No words to praise u in any language.,am always on ur feet.God bless u! Take care of ur health.Reply me at arumam01@yahoo.com.

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  12. Anonymous - Hi! Thanks a lot for such generous compliments! May God bless you too! Take care.

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  13. hi Gazal,
    I also did the landmark forum and like Nachi said after reading ur blog it made me look at Landmark in a different light. i must say that reading ur blog was moving. i wanted to know if I could talk to you in person bcoz what u have written has been very inspiring. also i want the world to know about transexual and the world to accept them and realise that all the religious and cultural beliefs that damned transexualism is baseless and it should not be stigmatised.

    best wishes
    Rishika

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  14. Hi Rishika! Firstly, thanks a ton for having an open mind and for having the courage to want to make a difference!

    Can I ask you how you intend to create awareness about the issue, as you're planning to do? I mean, does your social standing etc give you the power to do that? Basically, please let me know a little about yourself.

    Thanks again for sharing your views here! All the best, and take care...

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  15. i am a student of the IBDP (International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme) course. as part of my curriculum , I have a subject called "theory of knowledge " (TOK).my TOK presentation topic is about transexualism. i wanted to know if u could tell me if sex change operations are legalised in India ? did u face any legal hurdles ? through my presentation i will be reaching out globally to a large audience ( basically students and teachers). for my presentation i need a first person view on transexualism which u could probably provide me with. thank you .

    best wishes
    rishika.

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  16. @Rishika

    First of all, its tranSSexuality and not tranSexuality.:)And 'Sex Reassignment Surgery' is legal in India. Since you are going to speak out to a global audience, its better you do your research well. :)

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  17. well obviously I am going to do a lot of research .. in the last few days after i posted the previous comment I did quite a lot of research on transsexuality and found out that there are no laws framed on transsexuality in India, and the recent abolishment of section 377 includes LBGT - which does include transsexuals but laws for transsexuals rights are not yet clearly defined like they are in other countries. :)

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  18. Rishika - Sure we can talk! I'd be willing to provide you with whatever help possible to me. If you can leave your email id here, I'll contact you there. And yes, you will have to do extensive research. I'll just be one part of it.

    I'm very glad that you've taken this subject as your choice of presentation. All the best! And may you be able to make a difference! Take care...

    Anonymous2 - Thanks for your input to Rishika! Take care

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  19. thank you gazal. my email id is rishikakariwala@yahoo.co.in i was wondering if i could ask you questions related to the legal hurdles that you might have faced. i also wanted to know if i could have a recorded interview on the phone with you or meet you personally. my presentation is due on the 22nd september. i wanted to know if i could have this interview anytime this week.

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  20. accepting our true selves can sometimes be the hardest things to do. words cannot describe the courage you have shown, to accept it and show it to the world.

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  21. Anand, having friends like you and a family like the one I have, took care of every bit of support that I could have needed in generating that courage within me. I owe you all a lot! Love you.

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  22. hai gazal after seeing u iam very happy its a ray of hope in my life iam 29 male bangalore but a women from inside and now its a high time that i want to a sex change operation and be as a female for ever iam crying every day being in mens body i want to talk to u regarding every thing abt sex change seeing u iam geting new ray of hope reason to smile u r very lucky person to get wat u want to be tc bye plzzzzz to reply me iam dhiraj and help me to come out of this mans body

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  23. Dhiraj - Please go through my blog thoroughly (including all the comments and my responses). A lot of your questions will find answers. If you still have any more questions, please feel free to ask me those here, and I'll try my best to answer them at the earliest.

    I'm glad that my life could be a reason for you to be hopeful. Take care, and all the best!

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  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  25. Gazal we met during SELP and now there's more interaction through Facebook. During SELP since you didn't share, my view about you was that of an extremely pretty girl who wants to excel as a script writer. I was wondering ki yaar ye Gazal modelling kyu nahee karti... its so boring to be a script writer ;-)
    I never saw you as another human being until you shared abt your wonderful project on uniting the family.
    Then I read your blogs above (though not all) and also saw the TV interview...
    My respect for you has grown multiple folds since then and feel proud to be in friends list of such a fantastic human being.
    BTW, I am assisting as a Communicator for Landmark Forum in Action Seminar series with Hari Kotian... got a lot of doubts cleared and am seeing life with an entirely new perspective (Context is decisive!!).
    I am writing this comment for completing with you that I didn't see you beyond a pretty girl... Yes, you are pretty (even a blind person will agree with me) but you are prettier as a human being!! Thanks for being who you are.

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  26. Hey I deleted one post coz it got posted twice :))

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  27. Prashant - Thanks so much for your heartening compliments! It feels nice to receive comments from people one knows in the real world. And yes, I'm complete with you. :)

    Take care.

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  28. Dear Gazal, U dint mention that how long it took to develope ur BREAST,curves in ur body ?after starting of HORMONS,what was ur feelings at that time,what was the real feelings u got when u were addressed as a LADY by some1 4 the first time ?I hope u r not offended by my guruocity,Wish u a HAPPY N PLEASURABLE life 4ever

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  29. thing is that you are still having reservation in your mind that you are transgeneder or transsexual as others who go for SRS bt still confused about their sexuality and feel like being EUNUCH and join their community (see kalki of sahodari foundation).
    it is really good to see if you really recognise yourself and are happy with what you are from your birth and take pride being a woman.

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  30. Anonymous3 - Breasts take 1-2 years to develop. When I started taking the hormones, I was anxious and also happy with the slow changes visible in my body.

    Anonymous4 - I have responded to you elsewhere on this blog.

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  31. Hey Gazal,

    Reading your story was as very heart warming experience. You have showed tremendous courage and I wish you the very best in life.

    Be happy and continue inspiring people through your story and by just being yourself!

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Civility check done? :-)