“We never had a son. It was a mistake. She was always a girl. We just didn’t know it,” reads a quote by the father of a woman named Gazal in the story ‘A Lipstick and a pink silk stole’.
Gazal, who underwent a sex reassignment surgery, will feature in, ‘The Queer Ink Anthology: Contemporary LGBT Stories of India’. The book will be available in stores next month. The story is a fictionalised dialogue between her parents while she was undergoing her surgery. Another quote by her father to her mother reads, “Every living day in that body is death for her. And to think that she couldn’t share that with us for so long because she was scared we’d abandon her? …Our own child couldn’t trust our love.”
The book covers 30 semi-autobiographical accounts of people living in India, who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other gender-non-conforming identities.
“Sex reassignment surgeries could be a very lonely process. When the person is in transition, the family needs to be closely involved both, before and after the surgery,” said Shobhna S Kumar, founder of Queer Ink, an online bookstore. She received over 100 entries for the book.
Kumar said the idea behind the book was not to take a legal stand, but to focus on relationships of those with queer identities, their lives and challenges.
“During the our research, we spoke to several women who wanted to undergo the operation. However, most of them preferred to remain anonymous, migrate to other cities and start life afresh,” said Kumar. “Providing the right information to the families can help them deal better with the situation.”