EXCLUSIVE: For 6 years, accepting I want to lead my life as a Transwoman was the biggest battle: Saisha Shinde

On January 5, the designer came out in a note on Instagram where she shared her truth and came out as a Transwoman. In an exclusive chat with Pinkvilla, Saisha Shinde shared her struggles, future plans and more.

Updated on Jan 09, 2021  |  05:04 AM IST |  441.8K
EXCLUSIVE: For 6 years, accepting I want to lead my life as a Transwoman was the biggest battle: Saisha Shinde
EXCLUSIVE: For 6 years, accepting I want to lead my life as a Transwoman was the biggest battle: Saisha Shinde

"I am not a gay man, I am a Transwoman," reads Saisha Shinde's note on Instagram.
"People are now calling me ma'am, her and she, and it's something I'm enjoying every second of. I can't even begin to explain how free I feel," she says, contentment heard over the phone. The last couple of days have obviously been overwhelming for Saisha. But her battle is far from over, and she knows this. "When I decided to come out, I knew it would come with a lot of responsibility. I chose to do this. I want to be able to talk about my journey more personally because it has been a battle I've been fighting for the past 6 years when I've wondered if coming out is even worth it! Only six months ago, did my idea of my true self change," she opens up.

While one would imagine the idea of coming out to close friends and parents as a feat, it wasn't as turbulent. "Did I fear telling my parents? No. Did I fear their reaction? Yes," she states. "The one thing I know I've always had, and hope every child has, is my parents backing. My father has been my biggest fan and even today, he wants to know the details of my surgery, my medication, everything. He accepted me instantly. My mother, on the other hand, took some time," she adds before clarifying that 'some time' meant a day!
A struggle she did face though, was explaining the change to her parents. "They are Maharashtrians, so I had to explain everything in Marathi. How could I when there is no proper word for Transgender in Marathi?" Saisha questions. The designer who is in the process of officially changing her name from Swapnil to Saisha on passports and every Government ID, also believes that most people underestimate their parents. "They will accept it gradually, but the challenge they face is the questions of what society will say, whether you'll get a job after this..."

The designer also came out to her team who accepted her wholeheartedly for who she was. "I had to speak to my karigars in Hindi and explain it to them, which was again a struggle. But all they said was, 'Ma'am, aap khush ho toh hum khush hai'. Only when I started going to office as a woman, did I realise how worth it all of this was," Saisha said about her team that has been excited to design outfits just for her!

It has been 6 months since Saisha Shinde has begun taking hormones after getting approvals from psychiatrists and doctors and she feels the transitions are only going to make her a better designer. "My body has become more feminine, I've started to wear a bra and only now realised how wrong I was when it came to designing outfits for women! While every celebrity who I've made outfits for has told me that they're the most comfortable, I have a deeper understanding now. My brand will only be more honest now because it is going to completely me."

For Saisha, her announcement on Instagram meant freedom, in every sense. "Something as simple as going to my balcony and having chai... of course I could do it as Swapnil. But when I would get all dressed up as a woman, something I used to do in the earlier days, I couldn't do the smallest of things. When the doorbell rang, I had to quickly change into Swapnil again. The drapes of my house had been shut all these years and only opened when I wasn't home. I finally opened them after coming out on Instagram. It is literal freedom," she heaves a sigh of relief.

Does she plan on changing the name of her label, we want to know. "I do of course, but it might take a while due to logistics." For her next lineup, Shinde wants to get into making costumes for films full time and as far as activism is concerned, Shinde wants to make her voice heard and help others. "6 years ago, I accepted that I am a transgender. But only went ahead with the changes 6 months ago. My biggest question was whether or not to come out or continue to cross-dress behind closed doors," Saisha, who shares the name with her niece explains. "Now, I want to get more celebrities involved, more politicians involved, ensure more jobs are given and normalise this. This is where my privilege comes to use," she concludes on an optimistic and assertive note.

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About The Author
Sneha Kalra
Sneha Kalra
Fashion Writer

Sneha Kalra is a dedicated writer with a sharp focus on the world of fashion. Armed with a

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Credits: instagram

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