“The best thing about being a girl is that now I don’t have to pretend to be a boy.”Jackson (the first transgender model to appear on the cover of National Geographic)
What is it like to be different? Whether it’s about our appearance or our true selves, like being part of a sexual minority, there are many questions that come up when we’re different, but the answers are often unclear and uncertain. The transgender community is dealing with these questions and trying to find their place in society, since forever.
In our country, the third gender has historically played significant roles, whether during Vedic times or the Mughal era. They have always been in the spotlight, yet they continue to face challenges in feeling accepted and normal.
As social media has progressed and the focus on self-love has intensified, a widespread movement of acceptance and self-empowerment has surfaced among individuals. Platforms like Instagram and Twitter have created a space where the essence of a person is valued, irrespective of their physical appearance.
In this context, we introduce you to Alesha Atheniya, an individual who is prepared to embrace her authentic self. What is her story, and why is it important to share?
Meet Alesha, a trans woman and transgender model who wants to live her life on her own terms. Alesha belongs to Kerala and is currently working on making her identity as a model. Alesha was born a boy but was a girl and that was her struggle.
Transgender model – And her quest for acceptance
It was during her teenage years when she realized that she should be referred to as “she” instead of “he,” and that her true self was more feminine than society expected. She found herself attracted to boys, and over time, she came to the realization that she was a woman trapped in a man’s body.
So, she buckled up for a difficult journey that was filled with bullying, domestic violence, and humiliation thrown at her, and she knew that the road to self embracement, independence and self-dependence was never going to be easy. But here we are talking about a brave heart and a rebellion.
Alesha was sent to an all-boys school and when she started showing signs of being different, she faced expected isolation. This bullying and atmosphere of isolation came from every side. Nobody spared her—the teachers, parents, friends, and relatives ridiculed her for her appearance, nature, and demeanor.
Once in the morning assembly, I fainted. My teacher threw a regional transphobic slur at me because according to them I was too weak and fragile only because, I was different than the rest.
Domestic violence and bullying became part of each day, and she started becoming isolated within herself, which definitely took a toll on her mental health. Our proud transgender model says that one of her cousins came out gay, and she was blamed for it.
Alesha’s father is still against her, and her parents even took her to conversion therapy because of the shame and stigma attached to transgender communities. Her parents loved her dearly but could never accept her true self.
When I came out to my parents, their reaction was like any other stereotypical Indian family. My father is a violent man. My mother suffered because of who I was. My family took me for conversion therapy, continuing till today.
Her life from a young age has been a nightmare, which should have crushed her completely, but she is no ordinary person as she continued to fight. Even with so much happening to her, Alesha decided to do what people could never do for her – she accepted herself.
How her self-belief, determination, and will to live her true self pushed her towards a better life
Alesha always wanted to live on her own terms, and in her own words, she has a lifelong mantra: “I need to stand up for myself. No one’s going to do it for me.”
She had set her eyes on NIFD, and she even managed to get admission into it. The purpose was to become self-dependent and earn money to finance her hormone therapy. Unfortunately, even here she had to struggle, and her mental health worsened because of a lack of support and bullying.
But as it’s said, “Worriers, even if wounded, will fight well.” With therapy and a strong will to survive, this Transgender model recovered. In the meantime, she came back to Kerala and started freelance modeling and creating content on social media. With hard work and stubbornness to do something, the yellow leaves turned green.
Today, this 20-year-old transgender model is independent and continues to grow professionally. But most importantly, she is realising her dream of turning her true self into her actual identity. Her struggle is still on, and she knows it will last a lifetime, but she is determined not to kneel but to stand.
Winner of a beauty pageant, Alesha aspires to take part in prestigious beauty pageants like Miss World or Miss Universe and let the world see her. Positivity and self-driven helped this transgender model to go for her goals and win them.
Just go through her Instagram account and see how this emerging transgender model walks confidently on the ramp and poses before the camera like a seasoned fashion diva; you will surely sense she belongs there. Mad4India wishes Alesha good luck and is looking forward to seeing her on the covers of top fashion magazines!”
If you liked reading this inspirational story, you can also read Naaz Joshi is India’s First Transgender Showstopper, Winner Of 8 Beauty Crowns
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