Bullied for her femininity, actress Ganga is the ray of hope for transgender women in India

Meet Ganga, who fought all judgements, pressure, criticism, and even assault to emerge stronger. With a Marathi movie and a reality show to her credit, she is out and proud.
This is Ganga's story.
Sonakshi Kohli Updated: 4 Mar 2020, 19:58 pm IST
  • 58

The is the story of Pranit Hatte, a little Maharashtrian boy, who grew up in Mumbai’s Vidya Vihar amidst extreme pressure, constant nagging, and criticism—all this because he was queer. 

Unlike his peers, he was feminine, disliked sports, and loved dressing up like a girl. Fast forward a few years: Pranit is now living a new life as Ganga, and has an acclaimed movie and a reality television show to her credit. 

In an exclusive conversation with HealthShots about growing up queer and how it shaped her.

Ganga’s family situation, much like for all queer kids, was not so great
“When I was a kid, I was always asked to behave like a boy because my behaviour was a bit feminine,” shares Ganga.

Ganga then.

“‘Walk like a boy’, ‘talk like a boy’, ‘play cricket like the other boys in the field’, ‘why do you sit at home’—I was always asked to change my behaviour. This was the mentality of my parents,” she adds. 

Ganga now.

School was no less of a torture
“Whenever I used to play with the boys, I was bullied brutally. They’d tease me, hit me, and pull my pants down,” recalls Ganga. 

Things got so bad that she had to refrain from using the school toilet. 

“I remember using the school toilet during recess once. I was tormented. The boys hit me, pushed me here and there, and even touched my private parts. Post this experience, I completely stopped using the school toilet during recess. But, even when I used to try to use the loo during classes, boys would purposely follow me there,” she says.

Her agony didn’t end there
“Because I was feminine, I was often asked by my uncles to accompany them to secluded areas where they’d ask me to touch their private parts,” reveals Ganga.

“But I didn’t have the confidence to fight back or tell my parents about what was happening because it scared me. I feared being judged, creating a scene, or even beaten up by my family,” she says.

The lack of support at home and being constantly blamed for her femininity, ensured that Ganga had no one to turn to–even when the situation was unbearable. 

Select Topics of your interest and let us customize your feed.


You can blame a lack of awareness and societal pressure for Ganga’s tough upbringing
Living under the constant pressure from your family and the society to behave a certain way, while not being able to relate to your sex is quite a turbulent state of affairs to be caught up in to say the least. But, a lack of dialogue about sexuality and gender is what made matters really worse for Ganga. 

“I never knew terms like transgender or LGBTQ. I lived under the impression that a boy with feminine characteristics is called a ‘baheliya’ or ‘chhagan’, because these were the names I was called by during my childhood,” she laments. 

And then came the turning point…
Ganga’s breaking point came when some boys in her class pressured her to measure her genitals. 

“I felt so frustrated that I slapped the guy who was troubling me. Everyone went quiet,” quips Ganga.

And so, she realised that the only way to deal with the bullies was to be confident and never let go of this bold avatar.

Needless to say, the judgements still didn’t stop
You would expect Ganga’s ordeal to end somewhere. After all, something’s got to give, right? But when as an adult decided to take up acting as a career, a whole new flurry of bias came her way. 

“Whenever I would head to an acting audition wearing a sari, people would say ‘ye dhandha karti hogi’ or ‘yeh train mein bheek maangti hogi’,” she recalls.

But in the end, she triumphed—that too with a movie offer
“I participated in the pride parade organized by the LGBTQ community in 2015 wearing a beautiful sari and feeling confident as ever. There, I met filmmaker Vishal Srivastava, who was looking to cast the protagonist for his movie Wajood. He asked and I obviously said yes to him,” she narrates excitedly.


“I have got a very positive response from the members of the film fraternity and they’ve never made me feel like I am any different. It’s incredible and I just wish and hope this is how transgenders are treated everywhere,” she adds.

Eventually, her family also came around and accepted Ganga for who she is.

Never let negativity kill your spirit, that’s Ganga’s message
“I think the society is quite hypocritical. When there’s a marriage in the family or a child is born, seeking the blessings of a transgender is considered lucky. But when it comes to accepting the same set of transgenders, they waver,” points out Ganga.

Also, read: #PrideAndProud: I came out of the closet because I couldn’t live a lie anymore

“However, despite the negativity and the childhood obstacles lowering my morale and confidence, I have managed to reach a stage of positivity and hope,” she exclaims. 

And that’s exactly what she wants kids who find themselves in her position to know. 

“I want the kids out there to understand themselves and their identity, stand up on their feet, not lose their confidence, and fight back the bullies,” says Ganga.

  • 58
About the Author

Twenty kilos down and struggling to maintain the weight loss by preaching healthy eating, while eating unhealthy every now and then. ...Read More

Next Story