Yug (name changed), has been in and out of the Umerkhadi Children’s Home in the last two years. A child being transferred across various institutes does not have a very easy life, but Yug’s journey has been layered with more complicated challenges.
I remember the day very clearly when 15-year-old Yug came up to me and said, “I want to tell you my biggest secret, didi…I like boys!” I was surprised to see this young child have this immense introspective ability to understand himself, that too with confidence. Another instance that was so joyful was when we were looking at Instagram filters together and he found most of them boring until he chanced upon the one with big eyelashes and lipstick and he immediately clicked a photo and said, “Didi, please save this for me.” That’s how we started talking about his identity.
After his secret ‘coming out’, Yug had a lot of questions.
“Ladka or ladka ki shaddi hoti hai kya?” (Do boys get married?)
“Mujhe boyfriend kaise milega?” (How would I find a boyfriend?)
“Log mujhe chidayenge kya?” (Would people tease me?
Yug loved to draw and paint. He sat for hours to do mandala art or colour. He handed over the mandala art sheets to other children and said “Colour this and you will feel peaceful, then you can share with didi how you felt and any thoughts, worries or problems you have.”
One day, our counsellor Trupti, showed Yug a video of the first transgender judge of India. Yug’s eyes couldn’t believe it and Yug walked out of the Child Guidance Clinic saying, “I want to study and either be a police or a judge”.
Yug loved playing role play games. Student – teacher, boss and employee. Every time he came to the Child Guidance Clinic, I’d teach him a bit of english and give him homework. He once requested me to let him teach other children. So, I gather a few younger children to whom Yug taught alphabets and things he has learnt. His favourite was to share about consent with other children. Just like us, he took the dolls and sat next to us and explained to the other boys about consent.
Yug was happiest when he danced. Krishna, our dance teacher at Dongri, had created a special time for Yug so that he can dance solo! His favourite was dancing to the ‘nagin song’ and every time he had a breakdown or is struck with sadness during a counselling session, he was quick to request a song, which he knows will lift his spirits.