I was recently having a conversation with someone in my family who showed me the profile of a makeup artist in Delhi, “Look at how talented he is.” The image in front of me was a woman in a short fitted skirt, smoky eyes and gorgeous black tresses. “But this is a woman, no?” I asked. She affirmed once again with an ‘arre’, he was a man. The fact that he was transitioning, the fact that maybe, he never felt like a man, was secondary to what he was born as.
A trans woman is to now grace the ramp of Lakme Fashion Week, we have seen reality television stars documenting their transition and common folk, like you and I taking to social media to speak about their most vital and painful reality of not able to relate to the person in the mirror. This crisis also takes a big toll on their personal lives as British writer and LGBTQ activist Juno Dawson (formerly known as James Dawson) points out in his new piece in Glamour Magazine, ‘When a son becomes a daughter’.
Dawson interviews his 61-year-old mother, Angela, for the piece who has been aware of the fact that she has been transitioning for two years. The author documents her mother’s imminent confusion in this piece, “I always wondered why your relationships as a gay person never worked out. If I look way back into the past, there were odd things, but I didn’t spend too much time dwelling on the past until you told me.”
The activist talks about how the lack of representation and news of trans folk in popular media only added to their confusion in the 80s and 90s, ” This is why trans people campaign so hard for representation in the media, and why I find it hard to be mad at my mum for not understanding what I was going through as a child. I had no concept of transgenderism and neither did she. How could we have?”
Although Dawson speaks about her mother’s worry for the safety of her trans daughter, she feels that with trans people being considerably better spoken about in the news should urge parents to do their research and also spread awareness. And as for the author, physical changes aside, “At the end of the day, me – the real inner me – was always Juno. She won’t change at all.”