Learning from the Differences: Model and St Aloysius Pre-University College alumni, Mangaluru Transwoman Nayantara inspires AICUF (All India Catholic University Federation) Aloysians with her inspiring story. Equality is the soul of freedom; there is, in fact, no freedom without it! With starry eyes in her name, Nayantara came to learn that her feminine energy was the foundation of who she was and she drew her strength from that.
Mangaluru: âLiving with all of life’s abilities is not a big deal, but having a disability in life and then living your life perfectly is life’s greatest achievement and people who have that spirit are the born survivors. This quote fits all those people very well who have proven that it is not physical ability or appearance that makes you accomplish anything in life. Rather, it is your mind and attitude that encourages you to achieve something in life. life. It allows you to stand somewhere in society. As it says, “If there is a ‘WILL’, then there is always a ‘WAY’.
And here we have Ms. Nayantara, a trans woman, fashion blogger and freelance artist relations consultant who lives in Mumbai and whose roots are from Mangaluru. Born Yogesh to parents based in Mangaluru, and later changing her name to Nayantara (Meaning – One with stars in his eyes) did her PUC at St. Aloysius Mangaluru in 2015-2017 and moved to Mumbai to pursue a degree in Media Studies. Before fashion, she had found a way to express herself with courage and that was poetry. Nayantara used his ink as a voice in St. Aloysius and wrote on various social issues in his writings and nurtured a love for literature. She remains grateful to St Aloysius PU College for giving her the wings to fly and providing her with a safe and gay-friendly environment. Years later, Mumbai offered her the freedom to discover and explore her feminine energy which was suppressed in her due to the pressure from society.
At 22, Nayantara is on her own meteoric rise, where she burst onto the Indian fashion scene in 2018, when the transgender model from Mumbai became one of the faces of Viacom’s VH1 Supersonic Music Festival advertising campaign. broadcast on TV channels like MTV, Comedy Central India etc. Not intending to become a model, a career in fashion came to Nayantara out of the blue. During four years of her modeling career, Nayantara has been associated with brands such as NIKE, LEVI’S, AMAZON, MYNTRA, FLIPKART, PEPSI, ARCHANA KOCHHAR, SOCH, to name a few. She has judged various fashion shows and has also appeared on panels of reputable institutes in India which revolve around the plight of trans women in Indian society, their empowerment and employment.
Nayantara has always spoken about the portrayal of trans women and the LGBTQ + community in the media and unabashedly embraced her femininity. With all of her hard work, determination, success and achievements, Nayantara is a living example. Her rise to fame in India was swift afterwards: she began to appear on the billboards of various institutes in India, in addition to judging fashion shows across the country. Currently, Nayantara is also a guest speaker in the fashion field which has been featured on platforms such as Humans Of Bombay, Eros Now, Bombay Times, Humans Of Mangalore, etc. and diversity in recent years. Nayantara shares, âThere is a plethora of stereotypes that trans women face in all walks of life.
Towards a more egalitarian goal! In order to strive for an egalitarian society, one must go deeply into the realm of its widespread practices, which cause discrimination in the society. To embrace one of the mainstays of Aicuf among students, namely transgender, the AICUF (All India Catholic University Federation) unit at St Aloysius College, Mangaluru, had recently invited Ms. Nayantara to the College, where the program s ‘took place at Fr. Joseph Willy Hall. , Block Maffei at St Aloysius College. The program began with prayer led by Romero and his team. Anup Denzil Veigas gave the resource person a green welcome and Ms. Melvita Baretto introduced the resource person, Ms. Nayanthara to the rally.
Nayantara spoke to students on issues relating to gender equality, normalization of homosexuality, gender binaries and their impact on society, knowing the identity of queer communities through the prism of transphobic and queerphobic people and the facts about pronouns and rebuttals. In addition to talking about the issues, she also tried to shed some light on topics such as the types of body transitions in trans women ie. Focusing on the plight of transgender people, she asked students to unlearn or de-school the so-called stereotypical structured norms in society regarding gender identities. She added that we all try to understand each other – whether it’s our sexual orientation or our gender identity. The only possible way to become normal is to be nice to people, regardless of their differences.
Nayantara was more realistic than cynical about the confined thoughts society has about trans people. In response to this, she added, âThe only exposure people have to trans women in most towns, not just Mangaluru, is either beggars or sex workers. It is a harsh reality. So when people see trans women like me or others. It is very difficult for them to understand that we lead a life like any other person. That I am educated, that I have a job and that I have a roof to rest under. I am neither a beggar nor a sex worker. Not that either is a bad thing. It’s still 2021 and the only exposure people have on trans women is from these two binaries and the work is a lot actually â.
âMost of the time, people come across my work or my photos and say: Are you sure you are a trans woman? Because you don’t look like it, which a lot of people think, my friends also told me to take it as a compliment. What they mean is that you look like a biological woman. âSo you should feel happy about it. But I don’t think that’s something you should tell anyone. You shouldn’t comment on trans people based on their outward appearance. When you say “you don’t look trans enough,” you are actually categorizing beauty standards or setting beauty standards that trans women are supposed to look a certain way and biological women are supposed to be women. supposed to have a certain appearance. So who should decide who should look a certain way? Which is still a very harmful notion. Which then creates a kind of unspoken pressure on trans women to start fighting to look like women, which is very unrealistic, âadded Nayantara.
The session was followed by question and answer sessions and interactions. The program ended with the vote of thanks proposed by Ms. Alita D’sa, professor at the College. Interacting with the Mangalorean team after the program at St Aloysius College, Nayantara who is in Mangaluru for a few days as a model for a clothing brand, speaking about trans women, Nayantara said: âI think there are so many stereotypes and pre-op discrimination trans women face in most areas of their lives. By this, I do not mean to minimize the struggles and difficulties of postoperative trans women and beyond. But we must understand that all people trans do not wish to make a medical transition and that is very valid. Preoperative trans women are women and we must move beyond this nefarious debate. “
While prejudices such as “models cannot be intellectuals” still exist today, to everyone’s surprise, Nayantara had started teaching part-time outside of the busy modeling program. She says, âTeaching has always been a passion. Back at school, I remember being tickled when a teacher went on maternity leave because she gave me the responsibility of dictating notes to the class. I knew I enjoyed teaching and everything related to it â.
She adds: âAfter I graduated, even though I had a good curriculum vitae and excellent grades from UNI, many institutes were reluctant to hire me because they were ‘scared’ if there was a problem. was coming from parents about a trans teacher. To add to that, currently I am also a fashion blogger and a model and there is a preconceived judgment in the air that I cannot simultaneously work in the academic realm “by talking about negative notions about the trans community, informs. she further, âNonetheless, I knew I was good at my interviews and my presentations. I think it’s important to have faith and to believe in yourself. Currently, I have taken a break from teaching, but my focus is more on modeling. I’ve always said this: âI don’t need sympathy, instead I demand equality. “
âA lot of times I get compliments from strangers on the internet, at work, or even friends like ‘Oh, you look so pretty like a normal woman’, ‘Really? I can’t understand that you are a trans woman .. you are so gorgeous. the trans woman is supposed to have a certain appearance. It is sometimes exhausting! But, we rest under the stars of mothers before us who fought for our rights. The journey must continue. Our stories matter. Our voices matter. said Nayantara.
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