Transgender make-up artist breaks barriers in IoK

 Transgender make-up artist breaks barriers in IoK

A transgender make-up artist breaks barriers in Occupied Kashmir

SRINAGAR, 28 June: She was tortured by her family as a teenager. She was bullied at school. She was never invited to family gatherings. Taunts and expletives followed her on the streets.

But today, at the age of 20, she is independent, confident and popular.

This is the story of Manu Bebo, Kashmir’s first transgender makeup artist.

With her make-up tutorials on Instagram and YouTube, Manu is winning hearts all over the internet. Each day her fan-base grows and along with it, support from society.

“Everyone appreciates my work. It makes me feel very happy and proud,” says Manu.

Manu was born to a middle class family in Srinagar and was raised as a boy. Her childhood was happy and she was cheerful like other children. She enjoyed playing video games.

But as she turned 13, she started feeling different.

“After my sister got married, I was feeling very lonely. I had many female friends and I started realising that I too wanted to be a girl. I started to wonder why God didn’t make me a girl,” Manu told Geo News.

She said with time she understood that she had the “soul” of a girl.

This thinking brought backlash from family, friends and relatives. She faced rejection and ridicule from society.

She recalled several instances of being laughed at while stepping out of her house.

“I was badly bullied during my high school days and I felt mentally tortured to such an extent that I decided to quit my studies. Later on, I got used to it, and eventually, I didn’t care.”

She said that even her family was mocked because of her. But with time, they too stopped caring about what others said.

Manu could not continue her studies after the 12th grade.

Despite that, she was determined to make something of herself. She decided to start her own business.

This was rare as the transgender community in Kashmir mostly make their living by singing and dancing at weddings or by matchmaking. But Manu chose to stand out and carve a niche for herself. That is when she decide to hone her makeup skills.

“Makeup is something that I’ve always enjoyed doing and when one has an opportunity to start a career in something that is enjoyable, then why not do that? I am totally self-taught and don’t have any professional training,” said Manu, who speaks and writes fluently in English.

Manu started her venture four years back and with her hard work and dedication, she earned a name for herself everywhere in Kashmir. She has thousands of followers on social media and the number keeps growing.

“I believe in doing the work that earns you respect. Why should I dance at weddings and bear people’s shameless, humiliating laughter?”

Manu is thankful to her mother, a teacher, for supporting her throughout her journey.

“I am happy with my life. I don’t have any regrets. It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks or how they react. I earn my own money and my family is fine with whatever I do.”

She said that support for the minority transgender community in Kashmir is on the rise and people are more welcoming and respectful of them.

Manu had these words to share for her fellow transgenders:

“To all the transgenders out there, or even those people who are forced to hide: be yourself, as life is too short to give weight to what people think. Whether you do good or bad, people will always have something negative to say. So just don’t pay attention to such people, and rise, like a boss.”

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Web Desk

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