Q: What makes you love yourself?
The thing that makes me love myself is my ability to make others happy around me. I like to be this ball of positivity in their lives, I guess. That’s the thing I love the most about myself.
Q: What does love mean to you?
Love to me is connecting with somebody on a level that is just unexplainable. The feeling of being able to talk to someone for hours and hours and never get bored of them. Love is everything—growing together, pain, trust and friendship.
Q: How was your experience shooting for GG?
I literally had the best time shooting for GG, it was my first professional shoot and everybody there was so supportive. I didn’t feel like a stranger and the environment felt so comfortable, almost like home. It was a great first experience.
Q: How did you feel wearing these outfits?
I felt quite confident wearing such great outfits! I have always expressed myself and my individuality through my clothing, I can say for a fact that these clothes made me more comfortable in my body and gave me a sense of pride for being true to who I am and representing myself in the most honest way possible.
Q: Do you see a change in people now? Are they more accepting varied gender roles?
Yes definitely, I do see some change in people around me and their idea of gender roles and how they have started to become more accepting towards all kinds of genders. As a trans-male, I can sometimes find it difficult to fit into the stereotypical norms of the society but the people around me have made me so comfortable that I really don’t feel like an alien living amongst them. I feel accepted more and more every single day.
Q: When did you first realise that you don’t identify with your gender and how was the whole transitional experience like?
The first time I realized that I didn’t identify with my gender was a year ago. I guess, I always had a feeling that I wasn’t meant to be a girl and there was something different about me. Almost an year ago, I came out as trans to my friends and family. I am yet to go through the whole transition process and I am actually really excited about that.
Q: You managed to channelize your transitional identity in your field of work gracefully. Was it difficult or were you able to initiate that process smoothly?
I think a part of me will always be scared to work outside of my comfort zone because not everybody is so accepting of my gender identity but I have been lucky enough to find such an exceptional workplace and I am really grateful for it so I would say it went smoothly.
Q: Did you face any challenges initially? Did you face any kind of discrimination?
Initially I did face some challenges when people would mis-gender me but I would correct them and they seemed to accept it. Talking about discrimination, I think I have been lucky enough to have faced none in my life as of yet.
Q: How did your friends, family and loved ones react when you first came out?
Initially when I came out to my friends, they were all really really supportive of it. And they have helped me through thick and thin. I am really grateful to have them around—when I came out to my family, they took some time to get used to it but eventually they came around and are happy for me.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years, I see myself as this big name in Bollywood who represents the transgender community in the country. I really want to spread more and more knowledge about the transgender community to as many people as I can because it’s very much needed at this point in time.
Q: Do you have a message you want to send others who might be questioning their gender identity and/or are still inhibited to openly express themselves?
All I want to say is that take your own time to figure things out, it’s okay to take as much time as you want. Whenever you’re ready to accept yourself and come out, know that everybody is going to be so proud of you and will love you even more. Be proud to accept yourself. You are loved and you are valid.
Q: Who has been your biggest inspiration?
My biggest inspiration is a genderqueer artist called Chella Man. He is the reason I could discover the real me and get abreast with my gender identity. The way he has powered through everything in his life and transformed into this amazing human being—is what really inspires me every single day.