Imphal: Manipur leads by example when it comes to accepting the transgender community. It was a homecoming for many from the marginalised community when the state government decided to set up a dedicated quarantine centre for them amid the COVID-19 lockdown.
In yet another awe-inspiring story, a 27-year-old trans woman from Manipur, who is said to be not only the first transgender doctor in the state but in entire northeast India, is giving hopes to many who struggle to find their real identity amid the strong male-dominated society.
Despite numbering around 4,000, the Nupi Maanbi, as they are called in the state, the marginalised community continues to face hardships and discrimination to some extent.
It may still considered a taboo, but Dr Beoncy Laishram mustered enough courage and decided to come out openly as a trans woman.
Speaking with EastMojo, Dr Laishram said: “Right from the beginning of my life, I had always thought myself as a woman. But in front of my family and the society I lived in, I couldn’t express the feelings I had inside my heart.”
It was only during her 3rd year of MBBS at Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Imphal that the trans woman from Kakwa Leiphrakpam Leikai in Imphal West revealed her Nupi Maanbi identity to society.
Recalling those days, she said: “It was not easy for my family to accept me as who am I because they always think that I am a boy. But I was always a girl right from the very beginning.”
“I stayed in the closet and acted like a male just the way my family wanted me to be but I was not able to act like one. However, I have already overcome all the nightmares and troubles I had through my hard work and courage,” she added.
The youngest among the three siblings, Laishram has now mended the relationship with her family members who are supportive of her choice of life.
Speaking about Laishram’s achievement, the All Manipur Nupi Maanbi Association (AMANA) secretary Shanta Khurai said: “I feel very proud because this is the time we have started changing our narrative to the society. This is the only possible way to bring change in society.”
It is not about the profession, it’s all the potential or narrative to show the diverse skills and qualification that the transgender community has it. It is a remarkable story for the community while tackling the stereotyping, added Shanta, who herself is a Nupi Maanbi.
Earlier known as Boboi Laishram, she officially changed her name to Beoncy in 2013 when she participated in the beauty pageant ‘Miss Trans Queen Northeast’.
At present, she is working at Shija Hospitals & Research Institute in Imphal as a resident medical officer (RMO) for the past nine months. Prior to this, she worked in one of the government hospitals in Delhi and later for almost a year, she also worked at NEIGRIHMS as a junior resident in Shillong.
Besides her work, Laishram, who aims to become a plastic surgeon, is now preparing for further studies as she feels that her achievement and goals in life are not only for herself but for the entire Nupi Maanbi community.
“I feel that this is just a stepping stone to my success and my future. So I wanted to complete my studies and to show to the world that transgender is not only confining to the beauty parlours but can pursue our career in other professions as well,” she said.
The profession is not confined to only one gender but every different gender can join various professions, she added.