Female-to-male transgender people, or transmasculine people as they are called, are just beginning to form their networks in India. But their struggles are not visible to a gender-normative society that barely notices, much less acknowledges, them. While transwomen have gained recognition through the extraordinary efforts of activists and feminists, the brotherhood, as the transmasculine network often refers to itself, remains imponderable, diminished even within the transgender community. For all intents and purposes, they do not exist. In a country in which parents wish their daughters were sons, they exile the daughters who do become sons.
In this remarkable, intimate book, Nandini Krishnan burrows deep into the prejudices encountered by India's transmen, the complexities of hormonal transitions and sex reassignment surgery, issues of social and family estrangement, and whether socioeconomic privilege makes a difference. With frank, poignant, often idiosyncratic interviews that braid the personal with the political, the informative with the offhand, she makes a powerful case for inclusivity and a non-binary approach to gender.
Above all, she asks the question: what does manhood really mean?