Nitasha Biswas’ journey of turning wounds into empowerment as India’s first trans queen
Since gaining the title of Miss Trans Queen in 2017, Nitasha Biswas has helped make India a more inclusive space as an activist.
For Nitasha Biswas, being a model, an LBTQIA+ activist and the first-ever Miss Trans Queen in 2017 wasn’t always in the picture. Born into a conservative household in Kolkata, coming out as a woman felt impossible. She often explored her femininty away from everyone else—finding joy in small things like draping her mother’s sarees, wearing makeup, and jewellery.
Outside home, things weren’t better. “I went to an all-boys school. I realised I was different from the others in how they behaved and how I did. At that time I was not aware of what was happening to me. However, when I realised my true identity I just wanted to be set free. But I was not sure how my parents would react to me coming out,” she tells SocialStory.
From living in the closet in her teens, she had learned to always be on guard. Biswas can only describe this journey as overwhelming.
“Since childhood, I tried to fit in but I have never received a good response from outside. So I started building my own little world within the four walls of my room until I became India’s first trans queen,” she says.
Biswas describes her father as strict. “Born in the 50s or 60s, he wanted me to study and become an engineer or doctor or lawyer, get married and live a simple life,” she says, continuing, “Getting support from him in navigating my sexuality was out of question.”
Outside home at school, she was often called names or bullied for being feminine. When she took this to her family—their only advice was to “behave like a boy.”
“Since I was different from the others I was left isolated at school. I hardly had any friends,” she says. To add to these woes, Biswas lost her mother to cancer when she was in class 6, after which her father assumed the role of both parents. Through all of this, the feelings that she was different, remained.
Later, when she was 11, she started to look for answers online—only to realise that there were others like her. Soon, her intentions to be a woman were discovered by her brother who accidentally discovered her Google search history and learned about her desire to be a trans person. “At first, he rebuked me for thinking about transition, However, after a few years he accepted me for who I was. Since then he has supported me in my journey to come out of the closet and live my life as a woman,” she says.
Coming to terms with her identity
At 13 years of age, Biswas made the decision to confess to her father. He did not accept her decision to undergo a transition. “He probably thought it was a phase that I was going through,” she recounts.
Eventually, her father started to come to terms with Biswas’ true identity before she moved to Delhi to study. Biswas eventually began working at a makeup studio in the same year she decided to undergo the transition surgery. In 2017, a friend introduced her to the inaugural Miss Trans Queen pageant in India. Overjoyed by the opportunity, she applied and later won the competition.
“The support of my father and brother brought me immense happiness when I became Miss Trans Queen,” she says.
Building a more inclusive society
Biswas now uses her victory to empower others by conducting awareness campaigns and attending college talk shows to reach out the young minds.
She recently conducted a campaign called Project Kaartavya along with her childhood friend, with the aim to offer free tooth checkups to other trans girls and spread awareness about oral hygiene.
“I have had interactive sessions with university students in Delhi to sensitise them about how they can be a good ally to our community,” she says.
Nitasha Biswas strongly believes that positive change begins within the home. She emphasises the importance of parents cultivating a friendship-like relationship with their children. “In today's fragmented society, it is often rare for children to find a safe space within their own families,” she says. “The family unit itself can become the first source of bullying. We need to build homes where children can freely express their desires to embrace their truest selves and pursue their authentic identities,” she says.
She further plans to work with companies and universities to spread awareness and sensitise people towards their community.
"Amidst society's heavy and demoralising views on the transgender and LGBTQIA+ community, my mission is to ignite change within people. We are an integral part of society and we deserve equal opportunities,” she says, adding that the fight is not yet over.
Edited by Akanksha Sarma