Here we present to you the one who has overcome the path of oppressions and turned it into success – Sruthy Sithara. It’s no way different from any success story but what makes it a special story is her self-realizations and a well -planned come out at the right time itself. Let’s see how she has made it a milestone for all in her community.
Welcome Ms. Sruthy Sithara to The SheSight Magazine!
I feel privileged and honored to be with Miss TRANS GLOBAL 2021. Hearty Congratulations!! It makes me proud; extra sweetly as you are from my own country. Let’s begin with how you got such a unique and adorable name?
It is one of my community members named Jasmine who address me as Sruthy from the very first day we met and I liked it pretty well though it’s very common in my place. But since the day I got the gut feeling that I am going to be a shining star in the near future, I added ‘Sithara’ which means star in Malayalam and Hindi. Thus, I renamed myself as Sruthy Sithara and I am here.
How could you turn the nervousness into determination to achieve a come out?
Yes, just like any other person in my community, I also was very nervous to disclose with any. I wasn’t aware that my acquaintances are well cognizant with these natural transformations within the human body. I realized this change when I started feeling discomfort when someone addressed me as a boy. From then onwards I tried to understand myself more and accepted who I am. My schooling was at Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Kottayam, Kerala and I feel proud to say that people there are having some knowledge about this and very much accepted my state. It was to those school friends, I disclosed this for the first time. And luckily, they came up with full support. That was the first time I got confident that I can follow my feelings and can come out to my reality.
How has your family accepted this and are they still supporting you?
I must say that I am lucky to have the very foremost support for any person. My family is being very supportive to me and that is where I can say I won for the first time. Actually I had really planned the things. Since I was very fearful about how to take the future, my sincere planning helped me out. Firstly, I managed to achieve a permanent job; I got into the Social Justice Department under the Govt. of Kerala. Then, I spoke with my school friends and they agreed to visit my father regarding this. To all our surprise, my father accepted this natural phenomenon and that became my backbone. A new ray of hope, peace, and confidence emerged in me. My father does a lot of social work and he once even said that he doubted this six years back then. That moment really gave me immense joy that my parents are able to understand though I belong to a very small village in Vaikom, in Kerala .I could rejoice myself that they had accepted me. I always try to be very open with all members in my family and that might have helped my transformation a bit easier. So this is what I have to tell others that everyone should build a smooth rapport with your family from childhood itself. It is the first society that we are going to have and the support and inclusiveness should begin from there. If we have protection and pillar-like support then we won’t rely on outside relationships.
I always feel proud talking about my father and family and love to openly mention it every time so that it can inspire people who find it difficult to come out or their family. I am in constant touch with my father and brother and they do stand with me always.
How is that immediate life after coming out? What should one face and take care of it?
After they come out all are here to face rejections from different realms and are sure to face many oppressions. That’s how many community members end up in toxic relationships and choose wrong paths and even are forced to migrate to other cities.This can be easily avoided if family can give them security and strength. It is through many difficult stages that any one does come out. And still continue to get odds from society; while booking tickets, getting a bank account and so on. No way is it different, I also have to come through all these;but all those times, I had a strong determination in my mind that some changes must be brought up and I have been very optimistic that I can do something towards that positive change.
These days there is a huge improvement in the acceptance by society. It evolved due to many sensitisation programs, campaigns and all the pains underwent by our predecessors. So now there is a community where we do some activities to support the members; making them self- equipped and living a life in our own place. So, all those who find difficulty with societal status, please make sure you are surrounded by your real well-wishers and always beware of wrong connections that can occur anytime. Make your own living, build your own status and be within the community. We cannot always trust normal genders as it is hard for them to understand our reality.
You have actually analyzed things well and have been planning to come out. Do you recommend the same to others so that they can have a better and sustainable life?
Not exactly, I can recommend that. It’s purely based on individual choice. I wish the society to grow in such a manner that any person finding that self-oppressions should be accepted as such and the society should pave a way to come out at the earliest; why should anyone suffer as it is a natural phenomena? It should be like they can start to live the way they want and not like what a society wants. For me, I was very fearful and that horrible feeling shouldn’t be experienced for anyone else.
But there is a huge change in this scenario that there are some parents who support their children and are still staying with their parents.
Are you conducting any campaigning for raising awareness in the society?
Yes, I have started ‘The Kaleidoscope’, an online social campaign with this purpose. Till now we have been giving sensitisation campaigns only through reels and videos in social media. Due to lack of time and exposure we couldn’t make it physical. We are advocating on LGBTIQ+ rights and associated topics like house arrest, conversion therapy, medical negligence, and so on. We are working towards increasing the visibility and acceptance by the society and make people aware that this is not a medical problem and cannot be treated with medications.
Can you brief about India’s first Transgender cell?
Yes, I am one among the four members of India’s very first Transgender cell formed under The Govt. of Kerala. It was formed in 2018 under the Department of Social Justice. Laya, Syama, Devu and myself are the members here. We are working towards giving appeals for some laws binding for transgenders. Till now there are laws specific with gender and henceforth, we are unable to do marriage, adopting children,etc. Regular conferences, campaigns, classes are all happening as well.
What kind of mentoring have you availed for and how has that helped you?
I have been mentored by Namitha Madam from Chennai and Renjumma from Kochi. Namitha Madam was a national figure during my days of coming out and never expected to be getting in touch. It was Renjumma who mentioned about the pageant and she connected me with Namitha mam. She started grooming and making me prepare for the event. I have been receiving all sorts of advice and support a mentor can provide. It was a life changing moment not only for me but also for my community. When my news is spreading it is making people aware that we are also capable of doing many things and that has helped to raise the mental thoughts of society.
I started to act for advertisements of Adidas, Lulu Mall Kochi, Pears soap. I have recently started my acting debut in one Telugu movie; the first schedule of shooting is over now. Finally, I also got to reach my passion and I feel so happy about it.
What advice do you have to give to parents in this society?
I really don’t have anything to advise the parents or elderdly persons in the society, but I do certainly have many things to share with children here. If we are providing proper sex, gender education at schools, definitely there will be a change in their mind and that is actually going to help society. Even after providing some campaigns and awareness classes, some elderly persons still believe in the same patriarchy. So there is no point in educating them rather we can concentrate on young budding minds.
You are now a role model for many after winning the global winner title. To what can you give credit in molding your inner personality ?
I love to read a lot and that has helped me to realize myself. I got inspired a lot from Dr. A.P. J Abdul Kalam Sir. I also make sure I adopt those inspiring quotes and that has given me immense confidence. I do motivate myself and try to change my perspective on all things. Once I started seeing these in another way, many things around me got changed into better ways. Earlier I felt a little difficult when people started staring at me. But very soon I started giving them a smile back and everything is changing now. I used to advise my community to ignore those who pass negative comments or stares at us. Instead, start accepting that people are watching your traits, some of your uniqueness. Things become easier and cooler. I started giving them my unique, gentle smile and because of which I never get affected by any sort of negatives from the public.
What are the sensitisation programs mainly aiming at?
These are the classes that we conduct to bring greater awareness among the society.
I deliver sensitisation programs at five sectors; schools, colleges, doctors, police and multinational companies. For students, we have to talk from their level of understanding and for mature persons, from their level. So we do make sure that after these sessions the audience gets some kind of better understanding about sex, gender, equality, etc. And what we have felt is that it’s easier and more efficient to deliver talks to students than older ones.
I always look forward to bringing some confidence in my community and therefore, I try my maximum to achieve my goals. I love to be some inspiration for the upcoming generation and I do whatever I can to my level best.
Winning the Global title is something that changed your life. How was the journey of preparations and grooming yourself?
Yes, indeed. It has changed the perspective of myself and the way at which society has started looking at me. I feel happy and thankful to many helping hands behind this achievement. This achievement is a great reward not only for me but also for all the members of my community. Through determination, hard work, persistence I could achieve it. There was an inner fire within to prove to this world that we can achieve what others can.
It was an awesome journey for around six to seven months. There were some limitations as it was on virtual platforms but it never compromised on its quality to be delivered. We were having rounds similar to MIss world and Miss Universe Competitions; introduction round, cocktail round, evening round, Q&A round,about my country,queen speech and other speeches, totalling around 30 rounds. Moreover, there are around 50 people involved in this journey including many photographers, costume designers, make-up artists who have helped during each different round.
Also, I had to overcome some other pains as well during those days when my another mentor Ms. Anannya Kumari Alex passed away. That incident shook me like anything and was very down. Later, when I found that I had to win for her, I raised up again and fought back all my sadness and I won for her. I even dedicated the award to Anannya kumari Alex.
Can you share some unforgettable incidents in your life?
Yeah! One of such unforgettable incidents in my life had happened once in Thrissur, Kerala. Back in 2018, soon after my come out we saw the advertisement of a fashion show competition at Thrissur. I called the organizers over the phone and made sure that we transgenders can also participate. Along with my friends we went there to get involved but they humiliated us very badly. So that was the first thing that came to my mind when I won this prestigious global title. I hope that person might have heard or remembered me after my achievement.
It wasn’t your first award to win the Global Title. You were once Queen of Dwaya, share some experiences about it.
It was back in 2018, the very same year in which I did the transformation. Soon after I came out, I think after 3 or months, this event occurred. During those days I wasn’t as good looking as I feel now in my external beauty. I always doubt myself in this regard. But I was so confident in my inner beauty and talents because I always believe that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder not on our looks, fairness or body shape. And I could overcome such stereotypes and I feel proud of myself. I could change the perspective of so many people about beauty contests and strategies for winning.
The most difficult times when you may find it hard to believe in yourself is during the time of transition. How difficult it is and how to surpass such days.?
It is true that during those transition days, we feel discomfort in many realms and doubt ourselves a lot. There will definitely be a huge void in the level of confidence; yes, it is very difficult to believe in ourselves until everything slowly gets settled down.
Initially, a lot of difficulty we have to undergo. We feel like why only I am abnormal while the rest of the world is normal. Why all these are happening within me only; so and so many questions and doubts arise. The mind will be fully occupied with why’s and how’s and what’s. It takes a lot of time to realize that this too is natural and perfectly normal. Some may fail to withstand these days and end up in suicide and depression,
The only solution to quickly overcome all these turmoils is to start loving yourself, accept yourself, and accept all these as natural. If you are lacking this then you may end up in some external relationships, trusting them not yourself and never can chase your dreams. So come out of all those inferior comparisons and love yourself, identify more about yourself, recognize what you want to aim for and just work towards it. All the rest of sweetness will follow your way,
Whenever possible I used to make them understand the general trivia that if we give more significance to relationships then we may have to end our own dreams and desires.I try my best to inspire my community by giving them awareness on all these and i really feel happy when some people calls me and tell that they followed my words and they are getting inspired and changing towards their betterment.
A message from Sruthy Sithara to everyone
Life is all about being happy. To what extent we are getting happiness is what gives us contentment. There is not even a single room for others’ opinions; never think about what others will think. It is one ourselves who should be the director of his life; if we give direction to someone else, there begins all issues and misunderstandings. Try to realize yourself and accept how you are. Also try to accept each person the same way they are. The society comprises different kinds of personalities. The whole world is common for all. Allow everyone to be a part of this beautiful world and live your part as beautiful as we all are.