Skip To Content
BuzzFeed News Home Reporting To You

Utilizamos cookies, próprios e de terceiros, que o reconhecem e identificam como um usuário único, para garantir a melhor experiência de navegação, personalizar conteúdo e anúncios, e melhorar o desempenho do nosso site e serviços. Esses Cookies nos permitem coletar alguns dados pessoais sobre você, como sua ID exclusiva atribuída ao seu dispositivo, endereço de IP, tipo de dispositivo e navegador, conteúdos visualizados ou outras ações realizadas usando nossos serviços, país e idioma selecionados, entre outros. Para saber mais sobre nossa política de cookies, acesse link.

Caso não concorde com o uso cookies dessa forma, você deverá ajustar as configurações de seu navegador ou deixar de acessar o nosso site e serviços. Ao continuar com a navegação em nosso site, você aceita o uso de cookies.

This Trans Teen Was Sent To India By His Parents To "Fix" Him

Shivy Bhat said he was taken from America by his parents, trapped in India, and hunted by police.

Posted on October 27, 2015, at 9:42 a.m. ET

Shivani "Shivy" Bhat is a 19-year-old trans teen living in California. He is an Indian citizen, but has lived in the U.S. since he was 3. He studies neurobiology at the University of California.

Shivani Bhatt

In June, after forcibly taking his phone after an argument, his mother discovered he was transgender, Bhat said. He left the family home shortly afterward.

Shivani

He said that a few weeks later, he went with his family on a trip to India under the premise of visiting his sick grandmother. What he didn't know was that his parents were planning to use the trip to "fix" him.

Shivani Bhat

Bhat said his parents removed his phone, computer, and travel documents. They enrolled him at DEI University in Agra, India, in the hope that he would learn the behavior of a traditional Indian woman and partake in an arranged marriage with a man.

Shivani Bhat

Bhat told BuzzFeed News that the clash between his parent's culture and his identity has made things particularly difficult.

"The experiences and harshness faced by trans people of color is heightened not only due to the intersection between race, gender, and sexual orientation, but also because of the culture that older, more conservative generations of people have been brought up with, and in my case, immigrated to the U.S. with. I think (for me in particular) it was a lack of awareness and and unwillingness towards understanding trans people, combined with a culturally influenced style of parenting that places emphasis on money, success, and society rather than communication and familial love and affection."

Bhat managed to use the college's library to get in contact with Nazariya, a queer feminist group in Delhi. They assisted Bhat with escaping his family, and providing him with shelter and legal aid.

Shivani Bhat

According to local media, complaints were filed against police for harassing activists for helping Bhat. In response, Nazariya helped him film a video explaining his story.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

Bhatt detailed in the video how he was beaten and verbally abused by his mother and that he believed that he was being held against his will in India.

Shivani Bhat.

Nazariya told BuzzFeed News that an ally working for Amnesty international alerted them to Bhat's case. They worked with the National Council for Lesbian Rights to ensure Bhat a safe passage home.

Bhat appealed to the Delhi High Court to get his travel documents returned to him. The court ruled in his favor.

He booked a flight back to California the day his documents were returned to him. His parents have also agreed to stop pursuing criminal charges and to support Bhat in his neurobiology degree.

Shivani Bhat

Bhat's time in India has made him feel critical about the country's attitude toward trans people, despite it being one of the first countries to legally recognize the third gender.

"Trans awareness is incredibly low. People who should, and claim to be fully aware of trans rights, such as police officers, treated me like a young girl."

Bhat is now back in California and excited to move on with his life.

Shivani Bhat

"I learned how dangerous life can be for LGBTQIA+ people like me, and that no matter how much hate we get and how much we are trained to (often subconsciously) see ourselves as disgusting and worthless and abnormal, there are so many more people in the world that see us for us and not for the terrible people many in society make us out to be."

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.