The other wedding planner of Made in Heaven

The other wedding planner of Made in Heaven
Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju in Made in Heaven.
  • The 26-year old is a trained doctor by profession and actor by choice.
  • Trinetra underwent a gender affirming surgery in the midst of her MBBS.
  • The journey through school and college was not easy either, especially since the bullying wasn't coming from fellow students alone.

The second coming of Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti’s Made in Heaven swerves from profane to the profound in a matter of seconds. While the lines – “Sometimes heaven does not ordain a companion for us. Some of us are meant to travel alone…” – may not be intended for Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju, who essays the role of a trans wedding planner in the upcoming web series, they most certainly fit the bill. Trinetra, a trans actress, says she is alone but not lonely.

Delve a little deeper into the life of this 26-year old queer woman and you see she’s a work in progress. A trained doctor by profession and actor by choice, 26-year old Trinetra underwent a gender affirming surgery in the midst of her MBBS and since then has been creating content on her social media channels for the queer community. While her journey has been eventful, no doubt, it has been a lonely one.

At an age when most children are busy with toys, Trinetra was coming to terms with gender dysphoria or gender incongruence. By definition, gender dysphoria is nothing but a sense of unease a person experiences when their biological sex and their gender identity are not in sync. A transgender person is someone whose gender identity does not match with the sex assigned at birth. While there is a term to explain queer people today in medical parlance, but for the society at large, society continues to view them differently and often makes them the butt of jokes.

Opening up to Business Insider in a no-holds-barred interview, Trinetra says: “I was the first born male child but I was never one of the boys. All the things that little boys are expected to do like sport and everything we associate traditionally with being masculine was not coming to me naturally at all. My father tried to masculinise me in as many ways as possible, which every Indian father would do. It took me many years to come to terms with the fact that I am not a boy and I don’t want to adopt that identity.”

The journey through school and college was not easy either, especially since the bullying wasn't coming from fellow students alone. Her queerness earned her no brownie points with her teachers and professors either. It took her many years to come to terms with the fact that she was not a boy and neither did she want to adopt that identity. It came with a lot of bullying and ragging in college and rejection from teachers and professors, she says. And no, there is no recourse to bullying and ragging even today. She explains: “A child feels powerless in such situations. People in positions of power are role models.”

So bitter is her experience as a trans woman that she does not even like mentioning the name she was born with – a name her parents chose for her at birth. As she explains, asking a trans person their name before their transition is disrespectful because it brings back memories of a traumatic past. She says the name a trans person is assigned at birth is a “deadname” and is typically associated with trauma and rejection.

A similar incident was seen with Hollywood actor, Elliot Page, of Juno and Inception fame. The actor, who was assigned female at birth, and later publicly came out as a trans man, was trolled after coming out and spoke extensively about it.

She is very vocal about her transness or queerness on her social media channels. She gives blow by blow details of her gender affirming surgery and how painful it was for her. The content she creates is both bold and perhaps designed to shock those with a weak stomach. She gives graphic details about the pain she experienced for months after the surgery.

For someone as vocal as Trinetra is, she refuses to say a word about how her personal life has changed after her surgery. Call it the Bollywood effect, if you please. Ask her how her life has changed and she talks at length about the clothes that she can now wear freely and easily that she earlier could not. The joy of wearing a traditional red and white saree is evident in a 2018 video where she is offering sweets to Goddess Durga at a Puja Pandal in Kolkata.

On how it is for a queer person to find a date, she says while she is on the dating scene and that she has had both good and bad experiences, she is happily single. “For the first time in my life I have a real sense of self worth after everything has been achieved. I do not think anything in my life is lacking because I have been able to give myself a lot more than any man has been able to…So I feel content and at peace by myself.”

Gender affirming surgery may solve one part of the equation for transgender people, but it does not make it easy. Dating for transgender women is not particularly easy because transphobia shows up in the dating game as well. Typically, the dating pool will have heterosexual men and they are not open to the LGBTQ+ ( lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual, and more) community as much. So the pool of available men for trans women continues to be other queer men. “It can be quite a task to navigate that and to have someone find out and reject you… or to come out to someone and they react with aggression and violence,” says Trinetra. Often, men would not be willing to take trans partners home and that can lead to a string of casual relationships.

What is most sad is when Trinetra says that trans women are not only seen as inferior and that they are okay with the bare minimum. Indian society tends to beat it out of you, she says. For the longest time, even she was fine with people who saw her as a woman. It is no longer the case. She believes that she has achieved way too much to be reduced to someone’s attraction towards her. Every trans person reading this should believe that they are inherently enough and beautiful. “I am not seeking anything external. I am very content on my own. If someone’s energy matches mine then it is great.” There is too much emphasis on romantic connections, says this 26 year old.