Dr Beoncy’s Journey: Northeast’s First Transgender Doctor
Beoncy Laishram - a COVID warrior who also happens to be northeast India’s first transgender doctor.
Cameraperson: Borun Thokchom
Video Editor: Prashant Chauhan
“My father tried to kill himself by suicide after knowing my real identity. Whenever I showed my identity as a transgender, people made fun of me. They used to call me ‘Numi Maanbi’ (transgender community in Manipur) or a homo.”Dr Beoncy Laishram, Resident Medical Officer, Shija Hospital, Imphal
That’s how difficult it was for Dr Beoncy Laishram to find acceptance, even within her own family. In spite of being a bright student who would eventually go on to become a doctor, just about no one was ready to accept her as a transgender.
Beoncy was born as ‘Boboi’, the only child of her parents. Right from childhood she was feminine in her behaviour, and never felt like a boy even though she looked like one.
“It was very difficult for me as a transgender child. It was almost like a sin. So, I wanted to become a doctor to prove that being a transgender is not a sin.”Dr Beoncy Laishram, Resident Medical Officer, Shija Hospital, Imphal
Beoncy remained in the closet for almost 22 years, crossdressing only when she was in transgender community spaces. It was in 2013 that she started revealing her real identity. First step was to participate in the Miss Trans Queen Northeast beauty pageant as 'Beoncy' and not with her original name 'Boboi'. In 2016 she gave herself an identity that was truly her's – she was a Nupi Maanbi now, the man-to-woman transgender person of Manipur.
“Before this, I was staying in the closet. I could never experience the real happiness of life as a human being.”Dr Beoncy Laishram, Resident Medical Officer, Shija Hospital, Imphal
2016 was also the year when Beoncy’s talent and skills were overlooked, and the conversation veered towards her gender in her medical college. It happened during her medical viva examination in RIMS Imphal.
“It was done by the HoD of the medical department in RIMS hospital. She asked me if I was a male or female. I said, “I am not a male or female. I am a transgender.” She asked me to pull my shirt up to see if I had gynaecomastia. But I didn’t show her because it was something very private. They looked at me like I am a strange person. Like an alien from some other planet. That was people’s normal reaction. I was so devastated during my studies.”Dr Beoncy Laishram, Resident Medical Officer, Shija Hospital, Imphal
In October 2019, Beoncy underwent a sex reassignment surgery in Puducherry to physically become a transwoman. Now as the resident medical officer at Shija Hospital at Imphal, sometime she's quite amused by her patients' reaction when they find out her real identity.
“Initially, people think that I am a female. But when they hear my voice for the first time, there’s some strange reaction from the patients. But they never said anything derogatory. They just treat me as a doctor, not a transgender. I am really happy that I am a doctor and that too the first transgender doctor of Northeast.”Dr Beoncy Laishram, Resident Medical Officer, Shija Hospital, Imphal
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