Watch: Punjabi Drag Queen Talks About Being Bullied in School, 377 Judgement and Finding Acceptance from Family

Lisa Nova Jena is a Punjabi drag queen from Delhi. She is currently working in an NGO on HIV/AIDS prevention. In a Josh Talks video, she narrates what it was for her growing up, and how things in her life progressed. She faced bullying and harassment early on in life — her class teacher criticised her for her appearance, her classmates called her shikhandi during roll calls, and school seniors would beat her and sexually abuse her. It affected her life and self-confidence. She moved to Delhi from Punjab thinking life would get better, but the taunts and harassment continued in Delhi.

When the Delhi High Court decriminalised homosexuality in 2009 and read down Section 377, she gave a TV interview in Punjab, which her parents saw. For the first time, they became aware of Lisa’s sexuality. They told her, “Son, you gave a good interview. You are doing a good job!”

Watch the inspiring story of Lisa below, and don’t forget to turn on the English subtitles!

Sukhdeep Singh