CHENNAI: There is fire blazing in your eyes. There’s a small cloud of dust when you set foot on the ground. When you walk, people have all eyes on you, looking at you in awe. As you walk and enter the frame the sun rises in the background. Your heroic entry would put other heroes to shame.” Facing hurtful, relentless taunts and insults from those in school and his neighbourhood, who looked at him differently because of his sexuality, these words from his school friend, Murugan, an aspiring film director, offered SRC Chakravarthy consolation.
Chakravarthy, a 40-year-old former VJ and character artist, who was born with 46 XX male chromosome learned the fact that his medical condition had a term called intersexual at the age of 38. “Before moving to Chennai, we were in Panruti. It was just another school vacation for me. I would play out all day with my friends. But that one particular day, I felt very tired and sick. I woke up in the morning and was scared when I saw my bloodied sheets. My mom thought I got into a fight with the boys and took me to a doctor.
“After the doctor did a pelvic exam, he told us that I have a uterus. My mom was shocked and was first in denial. After she gathered herself she told me that my life cannot be normal and that I need to hide my sexuality from society to be safe,” he says. He was just 10.
While his fully functional sperm duct was also able to produce semen. He says he was constantly down with fungal infections due to his menstruation cycle and semen discharge. By the time the medications and ointments would work, his next cycle would begin. “When school reopened, I confided in a friend about my condition. He told his mother about it and she informed the school principal. The principal beat me up for it. Everyone in school began looking at me differently. This soon came out in the neighbourhood and people would call me names, throw stones at me and what not. I was eventually sent out from school and my mom began home-schooling me,” he says with a quiver in his voice.
He recalls that the worst time at school was when he had to urinate. During his menstrual cycle, he would have to urinate in the open ground or wait till he got home because the boys’ toilet only had urinals. After his brothers got a job in Chennai, Chakravarthy came to Chennai at the age of 18 with hopes that he would find answers about his sexuality, and maybe even a cure to ease his pain. In the year 2000, Chakravarthy, found a job as a voice actor. That stint paved the way for him to enter the industry as a video jockey for several wellknown satellite channels. During his time as a VJ, he would go around looking for doctors who would be able to offer some explanation. “I had a problem with urinating. Even though I have a urethra, I can only sit and urinate because I have to force it out. A doctor told me that if I got a hysterectomy done my issues would subside. At the age of 31, I got it removed and along with it came new issues like cholesterol, thyroid, diabetes, etc,” he says. In 2020, Chakravarthy met his mentor Dr L Ramakrishna, who after hearing his condition told him that he was intersexual. Due to complications in his health, Chakravarthy is currently unemployed while his family is surviving on his father’s pension. “My life has unravelled. Medicine has failed me. I’m not able to live the life I want, nor live the life my body wants. Through my story, I hope more closeted intersexuals find the courage to come out and seek the help they need. I also wish for families and the society to be more open to understanding intersexuality,” he says with tears in his eyes.