How Did Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju Transform Into A Trans Icon?

Meet Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju: India's first transwoman doctor, actor, and fierce LGBTQ+ advocate, trailblazing paths and inspiring many!

Born as Angad in a conventional, middle-class family in Bangalore, India, the journey to becoming Karnataka’s first transwoman doctor wasn’t an easy one. Now, she has also become an actor. This transformation marks a significant milestone for Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju.

She faced obstacles at every step, but persevered through them to reach where she stands today. Now, having established herself as a successful transwoman, she wishes to make the society more queer sensitive. Trinetra aspires to see transwomen excelling in all walks of life with the dignity, respect and opportunities that they duly deserve.

Early life

Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju was born in 1997 as a male but realized quite early on that she did not relate with that gender identity. Like usual Indian parents, her parents too did not at first understand her. 

She herself accepts that her father tried his level best to masculinize her. Though he was also one of the most supportive persons later on when she underwent gender reaffirmation surgery in 2019.

As a young Indian boy, when Gummaraju showed a liking for make-up and girls’ clothes, she was chastised by her family members. But even more so by the neighbourhood women. Her effeminate ways were ridiculed at. 

Trinetra Haldar - Story Of First Trans-woman Doctor
Source: Mad4India

In an interview with shethepeople, Trinetra revealed that she told her parents about her liking for boys when she was 13-14 years old. At that time she did not even know terms like trans or gender incongruence. What she knew was that she did not feel herself in the identity she was assigned at birth.  

She lived with that identity for 20 years before her surgery in 2019 and since then has proudly and happily embraced womanhood. 

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Education and career 

Even acquiring education was not easy for Gummaraju. She was bullied in school and sometimes even teachers made fun of her. Contrary to her expectations, her time in medical school was no better. Many of the professors were transphobic and the curricula lacked queer-sensitive information that at times even verged on queerphobia.   

While in college, the authorities initially forced her to stay in a boys’ hostel and denied her accommodation in the girls’ hostel after she underwent her surgery.

Against this, Trinetra filed a PIL in the Karnataka high court. She is demanding that educational institutes be directed to set up gender-neutral hostel facilities. These facilities are to accommodate students from the LGBTQAI+ community.

Forbes 30 Under 30, 2022 | Meet Dr Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju whose content  helps queer children connect with their journeys
Source: Moneycontrol

It was while interning during her final year that she came across the auditions for the web show ‘Made in Heaven’. Like for any ordinary Indian, Bollywood was something that seemed out of reach, but still she gave it a try and ended up nailing it. 

With ‘Made in Heaven S2’ Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju stepped into the shoes of an actor. She was already serving as a successful primary care physician.

Activism 

It was in 2015 that Gummaraju decided to try her hand at content creation. She began by documenting her transition journey from male to female where she extensively talked about her surgery and recovery. 

Her YouTube videos and social media presence repeatedly highlight the lack of queer-inclusive medical education. They also spotlight the status of trans rights in the country. They have also helped in busting a lot of myths about trans people. These videos act as a wonderful guidance for young trans people or for youth facing doubts or confusion about their gender identity. 

Trinetra has been quite vocal about the abysmal condition of trans-affirmative healthcare in India. She has created a list of queer-friendly doctors in the country. This list, called ‘The Rainbow Pill List’, is easily accessible on her Instagram.

In 2021, she filed a report in the Madras High court stating the necessity for queer inclusive education in medical schools. She is demanding the removal of archaic and queerphobic portions of the syllabus. She also challenged the rampant practice of conversion therapy that allegedly tried to ‘cure’ LGBTQIA+ people. 

Justice N Anand Venkatesh directed the National Medical Commission to purge medical syllabi of queerphobic content and ban conversion therapy. The therapy was eventually declared a professional misconduct, thereby registering a big win for Gummaraju and the larger trans community.  

She has also openly come out against corporates’ lip service to the trans community. She is demanding LGBTQIA+ friendly workspaces, including gender neutral washrooms. Additionally, she calls for the protection of trans people from harassment, discrimination, and abuse.

Honours and achievements 

In 2022, she featured on the Forbes 30 under 30 lists for India and Asia. She was also on the Forbes Top 100 Digital Stars Lists in 2022 and 2023. She was also among the GQ 25 Most Influential Young Indians List in 2021 and GQ 30 Most Influential Young Indians List in 2022.

Her presence has graced the covers of popular magazines like Forbes India, Femina, and Elle India.

Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju: Reimagining And Recreating, Again And Again -  Forbes India
Source: Forbes India

Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju’s work is nothing less than miraculous. She has spent a major part of the 26 years of her life fighting, first for herself and then for other trans people. 

As a transwoman, she has reached milestones that are still a distant dream for a majority of the LGBTQIA+ people in India. Thus, she is opening up unexplored avenues for the trans community.

She is undoubtedly an inspiration not just for queer people but for everyone.  

Image source: Hindustan Times 

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About the Author

Shambhavi Srivastava

Shambhavi Srivastava is a Mass Communication master's student. She is an avid reader and believes in strongly voicing her opinions on various issues of national and international importance. She is a women's rights read more...

6 Posts | 1,504 Views

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