Milin Dutta is back in Assam from US to take up the cudgels on behalf of the LGBT community once again.
The Minneapolis based engineer has taken early retirement and will be in Assam for six months during which period he will address the fifth edition of the Gay Pride march at Dighalipukhuri in Guwahati on February 11.
He will also start the production of a movie based on hijras with the director Prakash Deka and work on some other issues close to his heart.
In the meantime he has addressed students at various colleges in Jorhat including Jorhat College (Amalgamated), J B College, and Jorhat Engineering College and has a few more scheduled in the next few days.
Dutta, who calls himself a transman, speaking to Northeast Now on Sunday said that there was need of awareness and acceptance by society that apart from the two genders–male and female–there are three or four more orientations.
“Society is male dominated vis a vis females and the three or four more genders. People are scared when they face the unknown, when they can’t explain to their children who we are, they either ignore us or hate us. Last year 17 transwomen were murdered in the world,” he said.
Dutta who is passionate about equality for all the sexes would like to have an empathetic society towards LGBTs, an acceptance of each and every individual as a human being and not slotting them into categories.
He would also like to have Section 377 of the Indian Constitution repealed and all communities given their rightful place under the sun.
Youngest of four children, Milin was born a girl but brought up by his parents like a boy.
“During puberty I felt that my body had betrayed me. I was not comfortable with the bodily changes but had no one to confide in,” he said.
Milin liked Assamese brides and as was drawn to females who he looked upon as patient kind and nourishing.
Milin studied electrical engineering in Regional Engineering College, Surat.
“I had a few relationships with girls which broke up because they ultimately chose the security of marriage,” Milin said.
Milin decided to leave India for higher education in America. There too a five year relationship with a girl left him shattered.
In 2010 he went for a mastectomy as a gene test revealed him to be at high risk for cancer.
His sister had been diagnosed with breast cancer and he had come to know that a few other persons in his family including his grandfather had died of cancer.
“I felt more comfortable now but there were problems especially while using public toilets until I spoke out loud,” he said.
After he participated in a Trans Health Summit at Minneapolis, Milin opened out in the backyard which helps to connect the LGBT community with other people as well as the Indian community with the people of USA by organizing yoga, dandia, Holi and other Indian events.
The next step was having a hysterectomy for the same cancer risk of the ovaries in 2016. Then he had to take testosterone hormones so as not to suffer from bone depletion and other problems.
“I told this to my father prior to the taking of the hormone that the next time I met him that my voice might be deeper and. I might have grown a beard. He said it was OK. That was enough. My elder brother asked me whether I would have any other problem and no more questions were asked. My father had also told me that I looked handsome in the pyjamas I had borrowed in an earlier visit,” Milin said.
In 2013-14 he came into contact with Humsafar founder Ashok Rai Kawa in Mumbai during his visit to India.
Ashok asked him to organise the Gay Pride march in Guwahati as visibility in the northeast was nil.
The first Gay Pride march took place on February 9, 2014 at Dighalipukhuri.
Devabrata Sarma, principal of Jorhat College (Amalgamated), where Dutta delivered a lecture on January 25, said the students of the college had been moved by his story.
“In 2015, ours was the first college in Assam to open our doors to the neuter gender. Although no one has come out as yet here we will go on working for a more equal society,”Sarma said.