Guwahati: In the summer of 2020, Beoncy Laishram from Manipur who is Northeast India's first transgender doctor, has been thrust into the national limelight for her role in the fight against the raging pandemic that has claimed lakhs of lives across the globe.
The 27-year-old resident medical officer at Shija Hospitals and Research Institute in Imphal has emerged as a symbol of hope for the state's highly visible yet marginalised Nupi Maanbi (transwoman) community.
Beoncy, who once went by the name of Boboi Laishram, is a former student of the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) Imphal and hails from Kakwa Leiphrakpam Leikai in Imphal West. When the pandemic landed on our shores, the young doctor found herself called into duty due to her profession and she has not looked back since.
Beoncy, who initially had to face rejection for her identity, is now being grudgingly accepted and has reconciled with her parents and is in a long-term relationship.
The doctor no longer has to fight for access to basics like a washroom where she feels comfortable and in the hospital where she works, she has been fortunate to find supportive colleagues.
Beoncy identifies as a post-operative transwoman after undergoing sex reassignment surgery in Puducherry. Since she looks like a woman now, people do not realize that she is trans until they hear her voice. Due to the privilege that she enjoys in society, Beoncy.
"Human beings are all equal. We didn't look at Beoncy's gender while hiring her. There was some curiosity among the staff initially, but that was all," said noted surgeon Sorokhaibam Jugindra, medical superintendent of Shija Hospitals and Research Institute, where Beoncy works. "While Nupi Maanbis do need to get out of the rut they often find themselves in, it's also up to us to give them opportunities they deserve," said the doctor.
The pandemic has been hard on the trans community folk in the Northeastern state of Manipur. Although many had found work in the beauty parlour industry in Imphal, they have been rendered jobless by the pandemic. In that sense, Beoncy success story is important for the community and gives them belief that they can find employment in industries other than the beauty parlous sector. Beoncy represents aspiration among the Nupi Maanbis and has emerged as a symbol of hope for the often overlooked community.