First transgender woman to get legally married in Kolkata

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Kolkata: Thirty-year-old Shree Ghatak Muhuri, a Kolkata-based theatre personality, set an example for the transgender community in the city on Saturday night by getting hitch, albeit the legal way with her childhood sweetheart Sanjay Muhuri. The journey, definitely hasn’t been a bed of roses for her, giving the stigma associated with the transgender community.

Sanjay and Shree Ghatak, have been friends since they turned 14. They duo even went to the same school. Talking to eNewsroom, hours after her wedding, she said, “I was in class VIII when I began getting attracted to Sanjay. It was just like any woman gets attracted towards a man. But it was so confusing for me. Being a woman trapped in a man’s body, made feel lonely, strange and bad at times. Making things worse was the fact that there was no one in my family to understand my feelings.”

Shree reveals that as a child and an adult, she has been subjected to ridicule and social ostracisation. “I was often beaten or abused for being what I am. It was really difficult for me. But thankfully, my mother understood my trauma and pain and chose to stand by me even when I chose to go for sex reassignment surgery (SRS) in 2015,” she reveals. The prejudice faced by the society has made her wary of what she speaks and what information she shares. On being asked her birth name, she said, “I wouldn’t like to disclose that. My name is Shree, please address me by that.”

She turns protective when asked about Sanjay. “He works as a marketing consultant with a multi-national company.” She has her reason for being cagey. Even Sanjay, had often been ridiculed by his office peers for being in a relation with her. It was only post Shree’s SRS that they, have accepted their relation, socially. “You know, even today, there is so much stigma associated with being a transwoman. Despite the law of the nation giving us an identity, we have to face a lot of arpatheid. Initially our families were very much opposed to us getting married. They were worried about what people would say. But once I underwent the surgery, to be what I had always been – a woman, my in-laws welcomed me with open arms.”

Shree reveals that she had tied the knot with Sanjay, last year itself, immediately after having undergone a successful SRS. “It was a social marriage. Back then I didn’t have any documents supporting my transition, so we went ahead with a social wedding. It took me about a year’s time to get my gender identity sorted out on papers. And now that it’s done, we decided to get our marriage registered.”

In doing so, Shree and Sanjay, have become the first legally wedded Trans couple. However, the duo does not want to stop here. “From today, Troyee Foundation, a social organisation that works towards the betterment of the people of community, women and differently-abled people, has also become functional. Tista Das, Biman Paul, Monalisa Bose, Somnath Chatterjee and Goutam Chakaborty are also the founder member of this foundation.”

The foundation also plans to produce both feature and short films that with highlight issues related to the society.  “We will be producing a short film, Sampurna, which is about the hardships faced by women. Please don’t assume that it’s my story,” she says with a low laugh.

Amongst those attending the wedding to bless the couple were Tista Das, Dr Manobi Bandyopadyay (the first transgender principal in India), Ranjita Sinha and more.

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