“It was in my second year when a professor introduced us to genetic disorders and chromosomes. I searched for hours on the internet and read about transgenders. Suddenly everything seemed to be making sense. I recognised the woman in me, though my family never came to terms with it,” says Zara Sheikha, (Egyptian for princess), who was born as a shy and introvert Nishant but is now filled with confidence to win the world. However, this confidence did not come easily to Zara. It also came with a price!

“Two years ago, I decided to come out. I couldn’t live a lie any longer. My family wasn’t supportive so I decided to move out. That was the start of my journey. Initially, there was a fear of acceptance, it was more about how people would react, and part of it was my nervousness. Next was to get a job. I attended many interviews without outing myself but the minute a friend told me there was an opening specifically for transgenders, I jumped at it. Today, I’m the first transgender HR executive to be employed by a popular MNC, who truly believe in transforming lives,” said Zara who was often bullied in her school and college despite being a bright student.

“My behaviour was so effeminate that anybody and everybody would make fun of me, calling me names and imitating me,” added Zara who was also physically abused as a child.  “As a child, I would always make friends with the girls, and never played with the boys. My father yelled about it a lot at home. But I never changed. He always told that I would bring shame to the family name someday. At home, I used to secretly dress up in my mother’s sarees, and apply make-up. One day, my father burnt my clothes and broke my make-up box. I still have vivid memories of the day.”

However, all that is in past now. Zara has moved on in life and feels empowered at her current workplace which even allows her to use female washrooms, which btw, is great step towards the LGBTQ empowerment! Zara is even in a long distance relationship where she might be meeting her boyfriend’s parents soon and hope they love her as she is unlike her parents.

More power to you, Zara!