The couple met three years ago and have undergone sex reassignment surgeries recently.

Meet Aarav and Sukanyeah Keralas trans man and trans woman couple whore all set to marry
news Transgender Wednesday, August 23, 2017 - 20:24

Three years ago, Aarav was accompanying a relative to a hospital somewhere in south India when he noticed Sukanyeah speaking on the phone in Malayalam.

Realising that she was from Kerala like him, he approached her with the usual question that Malayalis ask each other when they meet outside the state: "Are you a Malayali, too?"

And thus began a love story that will soon culminate in Kerala's first wedding between a trans man and a trans woman.

Sukhanyeah, who'd also come to the hospital along with a relative, exchanged numbers with Aarav, who is from Kottayam.

Recalling the beginning of their relationship, Aarav says, “We used to talk over phone in the initial days. But not that much. Slowly the frequency and the duration of the calls increased. Later, we realised that our way of thinking is the same about many things. After a while, I proposed to her. I am 46 year old. She is just 21."

Aarav Appukuttan, who was born biologically female, and Sukanyeah Krishna, who was born biologically male, have both undergone sex reassignment surgeries recently. 

“For me, the post-surgery treatment was completed two-three months ago. For Sukhanyeah, it is yet to be completed. We are waiting for it and the date of the wedding will be finalised after that. Also, the changes in documents for both of us need to be changed. The procedures take time,” Aarav says.

Aarav was working in the real estate sector in Dubai. A graduate in Science, his visa got cancelled when he had to stay back in India to complete his treatment. 

“I was always a man in my mind. It was not possible for me to marry as I had the thoughts of a man with the body of a woman. Finally, I took the decision to do what I needed the most - the surgery. Now I am as happy as any man who is about to get married. But it was only after the surgery that I was able to make the statement that I am a man," he says.

Aarav's story is not typical of the experience of people from the transgender community. Though he has been subjected to embarrassing questions and curious stares, he has dealt with it with confidence. 

“My mother taught me to be so and I followed it. Whenever someone stared at me or asked me if I'm a man or a woman, I would smile. I would talk to them and convince them. However rudely someone behaves with you, a smile can change it. But nobody has humiliated me and I have never undergone any bitter experiences," he says. 

Sukanyeah, however, was not so lucky. She faced opposition from her family when she tried to tell them that she was a woman. 

“One day, I draped a saree, dressed up exactly like a woman and attended a wedding. It created a lot of problems, but for me, it was an open declaration of my identity. I applied to change my name the very next day I turned 18 and also started procedures for the treatment,” she says.

Sukhanyeah is working with a software firm in Bengaluru currently.

Though her family first opposed the wedding, they later came around. Aarav's family, however, has been supportive right from the beginning.

“Yes, I agree that our wedding is uncommon. The transgender community needs much more support from others,” says Aarav.

Sukanyeah's family knew that the wedding was on the cards. "I had earlier told my family about our relationship, so the decision to marry was not a surprise for them,” Sukhanyeah says.

Both of them are planning to have a special wedding. They also hope to adopt a child as it will not be easy for them to become biological parents.  “We are both very enthusiastic about the idea,” Aarav says.

“The happiest fact is that we can do the adoption legally, now that the gender is male in his documents and female in my documents. It's finally defined, loud and out in the open. We have a lot of dreams about of our life,” Sukhanyeah shares. 

Both are happy that the legal hurdles are over though they had to struggle a lot to get there. 

“Still the stigma is there. I am still not able to open a bank account as other people do. At government offices, we need to go a 100 times, more than any other person, to get something done. Some people have even abused me on hearing the news of the wedding, I don’t know what harm I did to them," says Sukanyeah.

However, the couple is undeterred by the obstacles in their way.

“Now we have realised that nothing is easy for us - the path ahead is tough and the hurdles are many. I approach everything with the spirit to fight. Also there are a lot of people who stand with us,” asserts Sukanyeah.

The wedding is expected to take place in September.

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