Nature chooses who will be transgender; individuals don’t choose this. –Mercedes Ruehl
Hamro Katha: Carrying a feminine identity, how do you perceive treat to female insecurity in Nepal?
Rukshana Kapali: Women who feel insecure have a valid reason to feel so. We cannot invalidate that, but for myself I took it as a challenge. I feel for myself, speaking up is very important because if we don’t, things will always remain the same.
Hamro Katha: What would you say is the aim of your career or life?
Rukshana Kapali: I have always been fascinated by new vocabulary, languages and phonetics. With this fascination for language, I choose to study linguistics. I am striving to become a linguist in future. Together with professional career, I am also a social activist. I am determined to continue activism throughout life.
Hamro Katha: What are you doing during these current state/ days?
Rukshana Kapali: I am active in various factors at present. I am serving Community Field Supervisor in Nepal for “Asia Pacific Transgender Network”. The institution serves throughout four nations for the welfare of transgender population. I am also a blogger. Additionally, I am a social activist proactive in the campaign ‘Save Nepal Valley’.
Hamro Katha: Youngsters perceive you as a source of inspiration and courage. How does that make you feel?
Rukshana Kapali: I actually don’t sense myself as an inspirational figure yet. I have a long way more to go. Though, I admit, people send communicate to be for being their inspiration. There it feels good to motivate others, that if I could do, anyone can do. It feels better to know that people are following the updates of my works. It develops the sense of satisfaction to me.
Hamro Katha: As you have gone through transformation, facing changes regularly in life. Whom do you see as your source of Inspiration?
Rukshana Kapali: I don’t have a role model. I believe I started growing after I got involved in various social causes, showed up more on public speaking. This is the only factor that make me confident. Additionally, I would not want to miss taking the name of “Supriya Manandhar” who has always been my mentor. I can always look upon her for any guidance.
Hamro Katha: You have been striving hard to work in favour of societal welfare. How convenient is it to serve the society with an identity of transgender?
Rukshana Kapali: It is quite difficult. Let’s suppose if a man would initiate a social work, general people are most likely to trust him. Immediate trust and credibility is seen decreased in case of female. The gender stereotype influences greater for transgender. People take greater time trusting our words and actions.
I think there is a set regulation people have set it in their minds that existing transgender should perform a certain tasks, belong to certain clubs, institutions only. People find it difficult to accept that transgenders too are free of their choices, can perform any work as they wish.
I equally felt good, when people appreciated my efforts on movement on conservation of cultural heritages. I hope this could reframe the belief system of a few people which will inturn be communicated among greater circle.
Hamro Katha: How is the status of “Transgender’ recognised in context of Nepal?
Rukshana Kapali: The status of transgender of Nepal is far better compared to Pakistan, Sri-Lanka, Bangladesh, India and Maldives just neighbouring us. Yet, the grassroot struggle and belief system that prevails in Nepal is complex.
We are hopeful, our constitution and policies recognize us, has ensured the rights we need. Yet, the social scenario is complex. We are struggling hard and will struggle harder for our own sake.
Hamro Katha: What differences do you find in yourself today than yesterday?
Rukshana Kapali: There is a huge difference. I think my Grade 10 SLC marks the boundary line between my past and present. Last five years have been full of changes. I was weak during my school days. My gender identity used to my complexity. I was dominated for my gender identity.
Today I am confident. I can fight back. I can revolt against injustice against my identity. I would again like to mention the mentorship of Supriya Manandhar through which I gained confidence to build myself.
Hamro Katha: What are the challenges for transgender at present?
Rukshana Kapali: Every human is much greatly affected by the present tension one is going through. Recently a well recognized University of Nepal rejected my admission due to my gender identity. Likewise, some transgender may be much affected that they family is not being able to accept them in social context. Family rejection is the most painful hurdle to get through. Fortunately, my family understands my identity.
Hamro Katha: How do you project the status of transgender people in upcoming five years?
Rukshana Kapali: I am not a political leader, who could exactly anticipate the future scenario holding authority over policy making. I would say, I depends on how hard we transgender people struggle and revolt as and where needed. Our voices should sound loud and clear upto the policy makers influencing the government enough to support our growth and establish our identity.
Hamro Katha: Is there something more you would like to express, which we have not been able to ask ?
Rukshana Kapali: When we talk of transgenders, there are still a lot of concept well educated people have not understood, letting go off the crowd. There are many misconceptions. Its is actually necessary to come out of the spectrum of ignorance. For this, people start self-educating yourself. Speak up to people. Ask question to us. Feel free to ask thus we can free ourselves to live.