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From Nishant to Zara Sheikha: The Story of India’s First Transgender HR Professional in an MNC

Inspired by Zara’s strength and determination, notable politician Shashi Tharoor shared a Facebook post that spoke about her remarkable story.

Zara Sheikha’s story is one that speaks of believing in and standing up for oneself, even if that means going against the world.

Zara first came into limelight for being the first transgender individual in India to be appointed as a Human Resources (HR) executive in an MNC in Thiruvananthapuram.

From being born as Nishant to the fiercely confident transgender woman she is today, Zara has come a long way.

Source: Facebook.

Here is Zara’s journey in her own words as shared in a BeingYou post on Facebook:

Be like a man. I heard that so many times growing up. Except all I knew is I loved arts, enjoyed bright colours, and wanted to dress up like the girls.

In school, I was always mocked and bullied by my classmates, some even used derogatory terms to address me. As a child, I would always make friends with the girls, and never played with the boys. My father yelled about it a lot at home. But I never changed. He always told me that I would bring shame to the family name someday.

I was always a good student, only seeing the top three ranks in school, until the ragging in college made me withdraw into my shell. My behaviour was so effeminate that anybody and everybody would make fun of me, calling me names and imitating me. At home, I used to secretly dress up in my mother’s sarees, and apply make-up. One day, my father burnt my clothes and broke my make-up box. I still have vivid memories of the day.
It was in my second year when a professor introduced us to genetic disorders and chromosomes. I searched for hours on the internet and read about transgenders. Suddenly everything seemed to be making sense. I recognised the woman in me, though my family never came to terms with it!

Two years ago, I decided to come out. I couldn’t live a lie any longer. My family wasn’t supportive so I decided to move out. That was the start of my journey. Initially there was a fear of acceptance, it was more about how people would react, and part of it was my nervousness. Next, it was to get a job. I attended many interviews without outing myself but the minute a friend told me there was an opening specifically for transgenders, I jumped at it. Today, I’m the first transgender HR executive to be employed by a popular MNC, which truly believe in transforming lives. I was nervous on the first day but all my fears were rested. I even use the ladies washroom which is great acceptance.

I’m in a long distance relationship and I would be meeting his parents soon. I hope they accept and love me the way I am.

I was born as Nishant, a shy introvert and today I’m Zara Sheikha, (Egyptian for princess) filled with confidence to conquer the world!

Inspired by her strength and confidence, notable politician Shashi Tharoor, who is the Member of Parliament from the same city, shared the post on his Facebook account that shed light on her remarkable story.

With Kerala taking up more initiatives to become an all inclusive state that is helping the transgender community to finally feel less oppressed or downtrodden for simply being themselves, more stories like that of Zara Sheikha should be a source of inspiration for everyone.

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Written by Lekshmi Priya S

Shuttling between existentialist views and Grey's Anatomy, Lekshmi has an insanely disturbing habit of binge reading. An ardent lover of animals and plants, she also specializes in cracking terribly sad jokes.