SHOMA A. CHATTERJI PROFILES TEESTA DAS, A VICTIM OF GENDER IDENTITY DISORDER, WHO EMERGED AS A WINNER DESPITE THE BIG SETBACK IN HER LIFE.
Teesta Das, 33, was once a man. Teesta is tall and dark with sculpted features and a normall
y alt39 femalealt39 voice.
Teesta realised her problem early in life. ” Most of the time, I was taken for a boy with predominantly female traits, which is common. But when I studied in a boys school, my teachers were very sympathetic towards me though they too, felt that I was a boy with the traits of a girl.” Serious problems came up when Teesta began college.
” I am the only child of my parents.
It was impossible for them to accept that their only son was actually a daughter! Their tragedy might have been less perhaps had it been the other way round – had I been their daughter wanting to become their son! So, their first reaction was to throw me out of the house,” she recalls. But they have now learnt to accept the reality of the situation and have welcomed her back into the family. ” Living life out of a suitcase, moving from one hostel to another has come to an end,” says Teesta, with a smile.
Her story has been put across in a 20- minute documentary called I Could Not Be Your Son, Mom by Sohini Dasgupta. ” It is the story of a courageous young person who denies the life she has been given,” says Buddhadeb Dasgupta who has produced the 20- minute documentary directed by Sohini Dasgupta. The film aims to break the conspiracy of silence on the subject of Gender Identity Disorder and about people who are victims of such disorders.
The fact that they term it a alt39 disorderalt39 proves that we are still not prepared to acknowledge and accept people with alternative gender preferences – a boy who seriously wishes to become a girl through surgical processes or vice versa. ” Teesta Das, the subject of the film, not only accepts and acknowledges that she once was ” a female trapped• a male body” but is pretty vocal about her choice,” says Sohini who assisted Buddhadeb Dasgupta for several years.
College was a traumatic experience.
She was physically harassed so much that she had to quit college. She finished her graduation through correspondence.
” I was sexually harassed by boys in the neighbourhood and when I went to lodge a FIR at the local police station, they refused to register it. I insisted and they made a general diary entry but no FIR. I was firm through blocks in my way. I understand the dilemma my parents must have gone through. My maternal grandmother burst into tears when she saw me as a woman for the first time because she could not recognise me. But this documentary has opened the closed doors of my near and dear ones,” Teesta reminisces.
” While researching the film, I realised that we hardly know anything about Gender Identity Disorder.
Gender conflict is a grey area few are willing to talk about.
This widened the canvas of my film, informs Sohini.
The film would not have been possible without Teestas active co- operation. What made her agree? ” Most of my earlier interactions with the media lacked a humane touch. They were trying to sensationalise my case. I felt this documentary would spread awareness about these closely guarded truths. People will learn to accept this as an inescapable fact of life,” The condition was that the film had to take a positive approach. ” I look at the issue as a gender- identity crisis, not as a sexual crisis as is felt by most,” says Teesta.
” Her parents took her for psychological counselling when she was 13,” says Sohini. ” The psychiatrist said that she was a boy with predominantly female features.
It back to square one. The irony of her life is that her mother wanted to abort the child when she was expecting Teesta for financial constraints” adds Sohini.
” Gender identity disorder is said to be a pre- birth condition,” says Teesta, who has become an expert on the subject. ” In biological terms, tha