Why are transgender men still largely invisible in India?
To most young transmen, Satya Rai Nagpaul is a vision of what they could become – broad-shouldered, with a thick beard, deep voice, and several awards for cinematography, he is a spokesperson for transgender rights. But his professional success has ensured that his gender is of no consequence except when he chooses to use particular labels.
“I can’t wait to grow a beard like Satya’s,” a transmale student told me wistfully. “He came to my college for a lecture on film, and I just kept thinking, oh my god, how awesome it would be to look like him.”
Did Satya remember when he had first felt this moment of excitement in his own life, knowing that there was someone who had transitioned, and knowing that his physicality would one day match how he felt inside?
“There was no one,” Satya told me. “At AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences), . . .