On World Crossdressing Day (September 9) that celebrates men wearing clothes traditionally associated with the opposite sex, TOI meets a few Bengaluru men who have braved the odds to live their lives in women’s attire. “The year 2017 saw the biggest change in my life when I finally came out as a crossdresser to friends and family after battling the thoughts inside me from the age of eight,” says Anirudh, who has transitioned to Annie. A former data analyst with Dell in Bengaluru and fitness enthusiast, the 35-year-old terms it “coming out of a cage”.
The Koramangala resident now works as a marketing executive for various brands and attends work dressed as a woman and in high heels. “More than 70% of my wardrobe now comprises women’s clothing, primarily western. I have started to celebrate my femininity and I’m loving it. True friends have accepted and appreciated my choice,” says the transvestite, who has also penned a book on crossdressing lifestyle.
Many in Bengaluru are crossdressing but the majority live in secrecy fearing social stigma. Some dread coming out fearing relationship hurdles. Princey (name changed) is among the few who preferred to listen to their heart and clothe their biologically male bodies in female clothes. “I came out in 2013, but only before a section that appreciates my feminine side,” the 30-year-old businessman from JP Nagar, who chooses to crossdress only after dark to head for shopping or partying, says.
Princey doesn’t want to reveal her real name, but is fine with being photographed. He loves crossdressing in western and Indian attire, especially sari. “After I dress up, my mind automatically starts thinking like a woman, which I think is a blessing,” laughs Princey, who like many in his fraternity has faced severe harassment for his choices. A two-wheeler rider, Princey has been subjected to sexual assaults for an alternative choice of life.
Make-up artist Yani Shrivastava from Banaswadi, who has been specialising in crossdresser makeover since 2018, says the male-to-female transformation through make up, clothes and shoes is extremely challenging compared to regular female make up. “It takes over two hours to change from the masculine to the beautiful feminine side. Some are so passionately into that lifestyle that when the make up and dressing are complete, they turn emotional,” she says.