Shabnam Be-wa-fa
© Nitish Anand/Love Matters India

I look like my mother when I become ‘Shabnam’

Nitish’s mother loved playing with him when he dressed up in her saree. Today, when he becomes the drag queen ‘Shabnam’, he feels she is by his side and will always be.

Nitish, 20, is a student of English Literature in Delhi and identifies as a homo-romantic cisgender male. She is also known by her drag queen alias – Shabnam Be-wa-fa.

A child’s play

As a child, I was fascinated with my mother’s clothes. I loved roleplay, wearing her sari and acted like her. My mother would in turn act like me. She loved playing with me.

I was just five years old at the time. It was probably the first time time I got in touch with my feminine side and I absolutely loved it.

A lot like her

But my happiness was short lived. My mother passed away when I was still a child. That was when I created a make-believe world of imagination, to fill the void my mother’s death left within me.

As I grew up, I chose to become a drag queen. (A drag queen is a performance artist, almost always male. They dress up in women's clothing to bring out their feminine side and feel liberated).

I call myself Shabnam and become a source of entertainment for everyone who appreciates a tough art form on a regular weekend.

When I ‘become’ Shabnam, I look a lot like my mother. I feel that she was, is and will always be there for me no matter how much I miss her.

Not everyone though  

It may be difficult for the world and even the people around me to accept me as a man who wants to dress up as a woman but my mother knew there's nothing wrong with me.

She is the only reason why I am out and proud and I am opening up to the world. My struggle has been possible because of the strength my mother gave me when I was five.

My elder sister and father are finding their own ways to understand me. I feel the more they get to know me, the more they will balance out their concern and love for me with my sexuality. My elder brother though is still a homophobic.

Nitish shared his story with Love Matters India for our campaign #AgarTumSaathHo - Celebrating Support, Acceptance and Allyship at the International Pride Month 2019. Through the month, we will publish stories of support, acceptance, love, and respect that members of the LGBTQ community have given and/or received from friends, colleagues, parents, teachers, partners or society at large.

Do  you have such a story of support? Share with Love Matters on our Facebook page or visit our discussion forum - Let’s Talk.  

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