October 10, 2019 Asmita Aggarwal

An Unequal Music

A victim of bullying and harsh judgments, facing rejection became a part of Tia Jamir’s life, but the 25-year-old transgender model learnt to toughen up and take life head-on

By Asmita Aggarwal

Where were you born and how much family support did you receive?

I was born in Dimapur, a beautiful city in Nagaland. I consider myself to be a lucky child as my parents wanted a boy in the family after three elder sisters. My mother was a housewife and my father an inspector in the excise department. When I was born it was indeed a celebration to them as parents. I was nurtured, educated and they raised me in such an environment where I was surrounded by only love. From an early age, I loved dressing up; I could make even a simple garment look stylish. Fashion was always fun for me. I enjoyed doing fashion shows; I can say that modelling was what I always wanted since then.

How do you think transgenders are treated in our country?

As a transgender the biggest challenge one faces is acceptance. The subtle bullying is not by speaking and insulting, but by the way people look at us, judging us with their eyes. Initially, when I used to walk on streets, people would stare at me making me feel uncomfortable. We are judged on the basis of our gender, but we should be judged by what we do and not how we look, talk, walk or wear. We just need a chance to prove ourselves, and we can touch the sky.

What kind of discrimination have you faced?

My experience during auditions was not a pleasant one, and I faced many rejections and disappointments. I would say it is more of a discrimination then rejection, I was asked to leave from a fitting for a show which was embarrassing without being given a single garment to try on.

I would want a more transgender-friendly environment, but at the FDCI auditions it was totally different. I thank their amazing team from the bottom of my heart for the huge opportunity where they are celebrating everyone irrespective of gender, size, colour, weight or height. The initiative they have taken has opened the doors for all those who were being once discriminated or mocked by society.

 Tia Jamir

Tell us about finding hope in Delhi, when you moved here?

I came to Delhi in 2012 and living alone here I had no idea about anything, but slowly paved my way to fit in the city and its culture. I learnt how to be resilient and not let negativity affect my life. My mantra was “if you can dream it, you can do it”. So there was a lot to harvest yet more to go. The city has made me the person I’m today. What needs to change, first of all, is that transgenders should be given equal rights. We should not be ignored but offered jobs and opportunities as we are no different from other citizens. We do not demand any reservations, but we want to be treated as human beings.

How do you think you can change the current debilitating scenario?

I am a true believer in destiny. I want to help the younger generation who are coming out as transgenders. I will advice and urge them to live life unapologetically on their own terms and not let anyone quieten them.

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