My name is Jagjit Singh and I belong to the Sikh community. I was born and brought up in Maharashtra.
Since childhood, I was always in the company of my mother, three sisters and myself. I never had any male companions or role models. I always liked dressing up and putting on makeup like my sisters. My mother and sisters would stop me from doing so; I never understood why. I was only trying to imitate them. They told me to behave like a boy, not a girl. As a boy, I was very shy and reserved. I was never the average school boy. I disliked being in big groups, I wasn’t interested in playing with other boys, and I was never naughty, noisy. I preferred female company, and never showed any inclination towards sports. I never hurled verbal abuses like young boys do. My given name was Ankit, but my classmates used to tease me, and call me Ankita bhabhi, and a hijra.
When I was 16, my father, a timber merchant, got a call about work. It was the wood vendor, who told him that he would be dropping off some wood at his shop. It was around 10 pm, and my father had sat down to have dinner. He asked me to cycle to the shop, wait there, and tell the vendor when he shows up that my father would be there shortly.
I was waiting alone on the street with my bicycle, when a man approached me. He put his hand on my arm and started asking me my name, which school I went to, and so on. Assuming that this was my father’s friend, I started speaking to him. Within two minutes into the conversation, he started molesting me. I was too frightened; I left my bicycle and ran home and hid in my bedroom. My family asked me what had happened, and I told them that someone had touched my penis. They believed it to be a hijra. At the time, I was very innocent. I knew nothing about sex, homosexuality, or the existence of LGBT individuals. My mother simply told me that he was a bad man, who kidnaps children. What terrified me was that I had told him what school I went to. I refused to go to school, thinking he would come there and kidnap me, but my mother consoled me.
When I was in the ninth standard, I had a bench partner who was much older. He was Pankaj, a 20-year-old with a moustache, who had been demoted to my class. One day, he kissed me on the lips. I did nothing, but he continued doing so every single day. Finally, I mustered up courage and told him to stop, or else I would complain to my parents. On hearing that, he apologized.
But this wasn’t the end. A few days later, he held my hand and made me touch his penis. I felt embarrassed and shy, but he continued doing this. He would follow me to the washroom and hold me, kiss me, and touch me… sometimes he would unbutton my shirt and suck on my nipples.
I felt scared, but also too shy and embarrassed to share this with anyone.
The next year, my parents moved me to Pune to live with my sister, who had recently gotten a job there. I started my 10th standard in Pune, and was quite happy living in a big city.
I was flying kites with some friends in Pune, when some transgender people molested us. This brought back memories of my previous sexual abuse, and it terrified me. I was crying a lot those days. I stopped going out with friends and when they asked why, I told them that I was scared of the transgender persons. They laughed and told me that these transgender people wouldn’t kidnap me, they were just lustful.
I eventually went outside again. When the transgender people approached me again, I just let them touch me. They went away after a few minutes. I had forgotten my fear for transgender people, and slowly, I was beginning to enjoy their touch.
This was also the time when my male friends and I had started watching porn on the internet. I was confused: I found both genders attractive. I watched heterosexual porn and masturbated, but I also found boys sexually arousing. One particular porn film which involved two men and a woman particularly intrigued me. Over time, I came to the conclusion that I was bisexual. I read up a lot about my sexuality online. I opened accounts on gay dating sites, and met many men.
In college, I was once told “you look good and sexy, why are you giving free sex to men?” I was told I should sell my body for sex, but I was too paranoid about being assaulted or murdered. I was told nothing of the sort would happen. Over time, I became a professional sex worker. I sold myself to Indians as well as foreigners, and earned money.
I managed to keep this profession a secret from my family. But once my mother saw love bites on my body, and understood what had been happening. It was a tense period, where I was beaten up by my parents, and my mother cried uncontrollably. Even I cried, and confessed that I was a bisexual, and I liked being a sex worker. I also told them that if they tried to hold me back from my sex work, I would go and sit in a brothel. My mother said, “kis galti ki saza God mujhe de raha hai… maine mard paida kiya tha, hijra kyu ban gaya.”(Why is God punishing me? I had given birth to a boy, why did he become a hijra?)
After completing my studies at the university, I joined the spa industry as a massage therapist. This was just a cover. No one actually wanted a massage, I gave handjobs and blowjobs, so that my clients got a ‘happy ending’. I did this for five years.
I earned a lot of money through prostitution, but I lost my self-respect, my personality, my feelings and emotions.
I look good. I’m an attractive man, but I’m all alone. I cannot help but feel jealous that my friends, who are not as attractive-looking, have boyfriends and partners nevertheless. I on the other hand only have clients.
I’ve met many men, and asked them out, proposed to them. They call me a randi, and give me money. They tell me not to dream of being a boyfriend.
I still cry. I’m still a randi. I long for a relationship, but all I have is money, and my clients.
(Edited by: Tanika Godbole)