“They don’t beat me anymore after I tried to run away once… but being with them 24/7 is still very traumatic,” the 21-year-old told AFP.
“They insist on using the male pronoun to refer to me even though I have never wanted to hide my identity,” she said.
As the pressure at home has grown, she has taken to Instagram to celebrate her gender identity with glamorous photographs of herself — shot before the lockdown — and vocal posts about the fight for equality.
“I miss dressing up, putting on lipstick and earrings, and posing for selfies,” she said.
“I know this might sound silly to some people but it was a way for me to express myself.”
As LGBTQ Indians have increasingly turned to social media and online communities for support, many have also expressed a mounting urge to come out to their families.
A bisexual sociology student in Delhi, Seema — not her real name — told AFP that life under lockdown felt “lonely and claustrophobic”.
“Everything I say about girls needs to be said in code,” she said, describing how she hides her phone from her mother and grandparents to avoid being accidentally outed.
With no room of her own, she said in an emailed interview that she was unable even to speak privately on the phone, forcing her into a life of constant subterfuge.
“I feel compelled to come out on some days,” she said as she spoke of not being able to share her dreams of love and marriage with her family.
But she feared that any such move would prompt her family to monitor her movements and further limit her freedom.
“I just want to say ‘My wife and I’… instead of hesitating and always being scared that it’ll slip out by mistake,” she added.