No one can decide what your gender or sexuality is, but yourself.
I am Bonita. I’m 19 years old proud Trans girl from Udaipur who likes watching documentaries & short films on NOWNESS.
I have often been asked when did I come to realize that I do not identify with the gender I was ‘assigned’. Well, I always knew. I think sexualities & genders are very fluid and these terms merely help people identify and understand this fluidity. I always saw myself as a baby girl, there has always been immense feminineness in me.
The first person I confessed to, was my older sister. I was 13 at that time, quite young yet aware. She smothered me with kisses and I felt very accepted. We both started to read articles, news, pdfs, and descriptions about medical transitioning and all that came with it. Once the news reached my cousin sister, the three of us, together, started making a plan so that I could come out to everyone in an appropriate manner.
Coming out felt really important to me. I had to come out, for the sake of transwomen out their fighting for their rights. I had to come out for the sake of the 60-year-old transwoman who still haven’t gathered the courage to come out yet. It makes me cry every time I think of those queer folks who are not even given the space to explore themselves. Parents don’t pay attention to their children’s manners, and force identities on them.
We cannot clap with one hand, so blaming the society for everything that queer community goes through would also be wrong to a certain extent. I have amazing straight friends, they accept the new approach to sexuality and gender quite optimistically. When I came out, my collegemates started to take me more seriously & in a sensitive way. Surprisingly even boys. But there is definitely some phobia about the people belonging to the community, and things are expecially bad in remote areas.
We need to make ourselves stronger in order to make society understand about alternative sexualities & gender, make them aware about life in a new light. It is the lack of education that is the problem. We can normalize this by engaging with people. Not every person in India has a repulsive feeling towards trans/gay people.
VISIBILITY IS THE KEY.
When I came out in 2015, I started to get texts from online news portals to interview me about my experiences as a trans girl in Rajasthan. They shared my story online & I shared it on my social media timeline as well. I was really surprised with the reactions that I received, like messages and calls saying we love you and why’d you never told us, we’re with you. It was quite overwhelming.
I was feeling better than ever, and it was not even because of the positive response but now I felt free. Before this, I used to feel terribly lonely and suicidal, I hated going out or interacting. But, now it had all changed. I was still not free from the dilemmas that a trans girl feels around her, but at least I didn’t have hide anymore. I was free and proud of my identity.
The way our society is groomed, we are meant to meet people who are repulisve. Luckily for me I never got into a mess with homophobic people that included violence, but yes, I have faced homophobia. I usually avoid and ignore people who spew hate, it really does annoy them. I just try to be my authentic self and always am kind.
For anyone out there, struggling with their identity, Never give up. Love yourself, know and appreciate your worth; always. No one can help you but yourself. Be strong and wise. It’s normal, we all go through this phase so it’ll pass. Don’t let the anxiety take over you. There are people who love you. You just need to be at the right place and for that you have to work a bit.
Be who you are and take pride in it.
Special Thanks to Mohit Tiwari for this story.