When you first hear Bonita speak over the phone, you can easily visualise a strong, confident, young woman who knows and speaks her mind easily. Little does one fathom, what negative and disturbing thoughts might have transpired in her young head not so very long ago. Bonita was born a trans-girl and since a very early age she could sense that she was indeed different from all the rest, her age.
She tried as hell to conform, she was forced to conform but nothing helped. The void in her heart continued to grow and she sunk deeper and deeper into the abyss of dysphoria. Even the option of ending her life began to seem easier rather than continuing her woeful existence.
The clouds of despair slowly but surely passed her by and today she has emerged a much stronger, more confident and a more beautiful human being.
She traced her bitter-sweet journey and bared her heart out to FSOG in an exclusive interview. We present to you glimpses of the life and times of Bonita Rajpurohit.
There was never that one particular defining moment when I unexpectedly realised that ‘this is what’s up with me’, it was a very progressive gradual process of understanding and discovering my truth.
This idea that; there’s always this one moment, that doesn’t really exist.
And suggesting this ‘defining moment’ belief as such, oversimplifies this concept of gender identity as sort of a passing whim or an epiphany.
I used to be a very gloomy and vexed child lost in utter confusion. And as I grew, I began innocently unraveling this puzzle of chaos, myself. I thought everything’s going to be alright when I grow up but as I grew so did my dysphoria.
So, when I wasn’t easily permitted to do certain things and behave a certain way and sing certain songs or be around kids of a certain gender, I just felt that something was wrong with all the people surrounding me because they weren’t really perceiving me the way I perceived myself. My actual desires and actions were in direct conflict with people’s expectations.
Internally discouraged and defeated in fighting the world all by my little self I accidentally chanced upon a documentary on television about gender identity. Through this, I learnt that there were more people like me who were confused about their gender identity as well. I got to know about the medical department offering help for physical transition through hormone therapy and ‘gender confirmation’ surgeries. The relief I felt at being vindicated cannot be described. I felt resurrected. Finally, I found the hope to still be in the game, and there were these strong vibes coming from within me that I will be there someday too, no matter what.
I used to feel a very strong, charismatic connection with female superheroes in comic books. My aspiration to be them, and feeling like I could be them; that feeling would empower me to be my best.
Not to stereotype sport with a certain gender but I never had a rousing attraction for any of the games that were played largely by boys. My dad would try his best to get me involved in these activities but his efforts didn’t bear fruit.
We’re all brought up in an environment where parents slot their children into pigeon holes as per the sex assigned to them at birth, rather than granting them the freedom to explore their interests, hobbies and their authentic selves. They think that their kid’s innocent childhood activities shape their gender. I was pushed to act like a male from the very beginning, and trust me it hasn’t changed me in any way.
If I wouldn’t have gathered enough courage and chosen to take a stand for myself, I think people would feel they had won the battle forcing me into submission and conformity. But, I would have still remained the same person, and would have continued to identify as female irrespective of whether I came out or not.
Adolescence And Puberty
The worst part about my adolescence was puberty. My exasperation with my body reached its extremes. Suppressing and getting rid of my primary and secondary sexual characteristics became an obsession. But, even so, I couldn’t find much evidence around me that allowed me validation about these feelings.
And I suppose that wasn’t something that my peers of the same age were experiencing or dealing with. My lunchbox had a big sticker of Princess Tiana on it. I essayed the titular role of Charlotte the spider in the play drama ‘Charlotte’s Web’ in Primary school.
Out Of The Closet
There was this one defining moment in my life when I was lying in my bathtub with a serrated blade in my right hand, mentally defeated, lost, feeble and forlorn.
Reading articles and interviews on the Internet, of trans-lives overwhelmed me.Near and dear ones had ostracised and disowned so many. The more I read and thought about it, the more scared and lonely I felt with coming out to my own family.
But my emotions had reached such a pass, it was now clearly ‘Do or Die’ for me. Either I chose to embrace my true self and come out to all or end my life once and for all. But bitter, failed attempts at suicide had taught me better and kept me from retrying.In retrospect, I can only say, I am glad I went with the first option and chose life over death.
Moment Of Truth
I finally went off with the first option and opened up to my angelic sister: Jyotsna. I realised that I was wrong about my loved ones’ reaction the whole time. In reality it turned out to be the other way round. A lot of delicate pampering came my way thenceforth.
Revealing myself to Jyotsna turned out to be the best thing I ever did. She started to do more research and study about my condition and we came across a lot more positive content. The amazing trans representation in western culture, successful transitioning stories, LGBT advocacy, liberation riots from 70s until now, Janet Mock etc. I finally had my glimpse at a ray of hope, in the middle of a dark, repudiative & non-accepting tunnel.
Having chosen the truth, the next step was coming out publicly. The only right way was sharing it through an online LGBT+ awareness news portal. I did an interview with FSOG & shared the article on my social media.
At that time I was all of 16 and studying in senior school.
Spreading The Love
To all those beautiful people going through similar complications, I would just like to say, please be strong & stay grounded. There IS a space in this world waiting to dish out to you the kindness, love, appreciation & recognition you deserve so don’t give up.
Do not ever underestimate the power & essence of your existence, every trans life on earth is a contribution to great visibility & representation in the gender spectrum. Just being yourself and carrying on proudly is the best form of activism in Trans-Advocacy.
Friends And Family Foremost
It may confuse, hurt, maybe even anger folks in your family when you come out. Don’t give up on those dear ones. They will most likely come around; will still always love you. It may just take a while but eventually they shall come to terms with your revelations.
If your family feels repentant of you and despises you, it’s just unfortunate. They are also undergoing change trying to understand the way they think or feel. But always remember you are who you are… Remarkable & Extraordinary. Do not waste any of your energy on negativity no matter where or whom it comes from.
Read here about another successful trans-formation from woman to man.
If you have family that loves and understands you, do everything in your power to hang onto them, cherish them! Tell them you love them. Surround yourself with the people who makes you feel worthy. Never be distant from people if they condemn you, humiliate you or criticise you for the way you are.
It is never too late or too early to discover your truth. So don’t feel invalidated because of your age. We are all on our own journeys and reach certain points at different times. It’s important that you make your own choices in life. Allow yourself to consider your options. Work hard, be independent and spoil yourself with a positive outlook to life. All those who cross your path should reverberate with the love and positivity you exude. Don’t walk over people or get walked over by them either.
Interviewed by: Delshad Master