| Why we should all be Humanists |

Art Love

 

The recent attack on Pulse, a gay bar in Orlando has been immensely shocking and devastating and has been a huge jolt to the LGBTIQA community from the entire world. Enough speculations have been made on how the attacker was a closeted homosexual and had been a regular at Pulse himself. But the attack is a reminder of how we are falling short in making the world aware of our presence and why we too deserve a life of respect, dignity and above all a safer environment.

Almost everyday as I woke up in the last couple of days, I’d come across the story of an innocent gay man or a wonderful couple who lost their lives in this deadly massacre- the worst the US has ever seen. But what breaks my heart even more is how all of this is the result of a single ignorant man who was probably unable to come to terms with his own sexuality or his shallow pride and took to guns to bring an end to his own turmoil. It’s a shame we have to deal with such issues in 2016, almost forty years since Harvey Milk stood up for our rights and eventually died fighting for them. I really am not sure if we can in any possible way change the thought-processes of millions of stubborn minds out there. Sometimes it is futile for us to think that they could get some sense into their lives and you really can’t do much about it because well, people are rigid! When you’ve lived half or more than half of your life believing in something so strongly and then suddenly someone comes up to you and tells you, “Well you know what? You’ve been wrong all along!”, there simply is no way for them to give in! For example, no matter how much I could try and talk to my parents, they’d never be okay with pre-marital sex. My mum went berserk when she saw 7 condoms from Love My Condom gifted to me by Bernie- Mr. Gay New Zealand and then went all the more crazy when she saw a post I’d shared on Facebook with a picture of those condoms. I might have given my 200% to change their mindsets but if you yourself are not willing to, then there’s really nothing that I or you could do about it. But there’s a solution. We can make sure that our future generation doesn’t have to suffer. We can teach our kids at school that there is so much more to gender than just the existence of a man and a woman and that is okay to blur that line between the two, that it is okay for a guy to dress up in skirt and wear heels, that it is okay for a woman to not want to wear a bra and ride a bike, that it is okay for you to not want to be a man or a woman. I’m extremely happy to see the rise of feminism in the world. The rise of the concept of how men and women must be treated equally and given equal opportunities to learn and prosper in their respective lives. We do have a long way to go, especially in India where a substantial chunk of the female population knows nothing of what feminism is or stands for, but there’s hope and I choose to be optimistic.

But I’m here to talk about the people who don’t exactly fit into these two distinct categories of men and women. And there’s a lot of them. Enough for us to know and understand who they really are and why we need to talk about them. It’s sorta funny when I sit back and think about this issue. Mankind has existed for 200,000 years and the human civilization as we know it has been there for 6000 years yet we have failed miserably to understand our very own-self.  Just think over it. 6000 years of civilization and we’re still fighting for equal rights for women, half of my country still doesn’t know what homosexuality is and a major chunk of  the ones who know haven’t been able to grow out of their pea-sized brains to accept us for who we are, and let’s not even get to the stigma and the trauma that trans-individuals go through every f*cking day of their lives! The fact that it is so difficult for me to reach out to schools and persuade them to let me speak on sexuality and understand gender beyond the concept of a man and a woman is enough to prove the plight of every LGBTIQ individual in the world. We have manged to create the most ridiculous myths and stories around what God wants us to do, but have failed to understand the very foundation of God’s existence- love, care and acceptance. I wish there was a thing that would enable us to swap our lives for a day. I’m not even asking for more, just that one single day! And we’ll see what they’ll have to say then. All that you need to be happy is an open mind, a book and loads of hope. But look at how we’ve complicated our lives! I only wish for us to be humanists. Equal rights and opportunities for all of us human beings irrespective of our gender identity or sexual orientation. Let us all be humanists.

 

Love and Light

Anwesh ❤

Beautiful You

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The last couple of days have been extremely over-whelming with all the attention, love (mostly) and support I’ve received from the people around me and I will always be very grateful for every bit of it. This is going to be a completely self-introspective post and therefore parts of it might seem completely out of the blue, but I really feel like this is necessary and because it is something I’ve been wanting to share for some time now. I don’t think I ever grew up believing in the importance of self-worth, but over the years I’ve come to learn the importance of the same and I’m glad I did. But something that still bothers me is the way we define beauty standards for ourselves. The way we define beauty for ourselves is sometimes also the way we learn to value ourselves. But the definition is so limited and perhaps sometimes so wrong, especially because of how we are made to perceive beauty in terms of what we watch on our television sets or our social networking feeds or the books that we read, that it needs to change. I’ve mostly grown up with people telling me how dark-skinned I am or how my hair is never perfect or that my demeanor isn’t exactly the way it should be, which for that matter has never bothered me and hopefully never will. But I’m also aware of how it does affect a lot of people out there and that this very fact also needs to change.

Black hair, white skin, abs and long legs aren’t what ‘the perfect beauty’ stands for and never will. That perfect selfie you’ve been drooling over on Instagram is perhaps the best picture out of the hundred pictures that person took from that perfect angle with that perfect filter. Come out of your little shell and let yourself be a part of the world of possibilities. Value yourself with the number of great books you’ve read over your Whatsapp texts, or the number of lives you could change for the better over the number of guys/girls you slept with (do it because you want to, not because you want to tell the world how cool your life is over theirs). You are perfect the way God made you and you don’t have to compare yourself with others (even though we’re all guilty of it).

#rantover #Haveagreatdayahead

#FittingOut

Back in 2011, I chose to be a part of a dance routine at my school’s Annual day that turned out to be the beginning of a new me. It was a semi classical dance routine and had ninety girls with me being the only guy.

One of the girls came up to me and condescendingly asked me, “Are you too a part of the group?” I said yes. She gave me a look and walked off. That upset me and this particular episode stayed with me for a while and I kept thinking of how difficult it was for me to fit in. Then Steven Retchless in his high heels happened to me and I realised how I did not have to be sorry for being who I am.

I didn’t have to fit in anymore. I’d rather be ‪#‎FittingOut‬. Because you’re original and you were meant to stand out. I was also there at the Annual Delhi Pride Parade with my campaign and I’ll be sharing all the interesting Fitting Out stories I came across in the future posts.

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And now for the bigger news I had been waiting to share with all you guys. I made it through the first round for Mr Gay World India 2016 and I am also done shooting the pictures for the same. I have been working very hard for the competition and it has been a dream since 2012. I am currently waiting for the results for the next set of rounds. MGW would be a huge platform for me to voice my opinion and belief and do my bit  in bringing a positive change in the world. Let’s hope for the best and #Fingerscrossed.

It also makes me super happy to finally share the #FittingOut campaign video. This would not have been possible without Rahul from Artists at Work Productions backing this video since the beginning. This man is the boss. I can’t thank all my friends enough for being a constant support. Let’s make this world a place where being queer isn’t looked down upon. We all deserve to live a life filled with happiness and respect. Let’s all put a little of our efforts into making that dream come true.

 

Love and Light,

The Effeminare

 

 

 

 

 

|| Finding Anny ||

Vogue

A little something I worked on the other day. Recreating the official Vogue India cover for October with Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh in it.

Anny is a name I was given back in school by my closest set of friends and it sort of has stayed with me even today. 😛 I did a little Googling and it told me Anny is a Hebrew name meaning, “He (God) has favored me” and he indeed has. I am evolving everyday and still trying to understand who I really am and that’s how I came across something important.

I often find people looking down upon effeminacy. More often than not, people do not have an issue with homosexuality. The problem lies in what they have defined as abnormal for them. Anything that does not fit into their definition of normal is weird. Perhaps the problem could be solved by defining a new normal for us all?

“Men must behave like men”, said a man in his description on Grindr (And I agree Grindr is the last place I should be looking for politically correct and intelligent statements!). Isn’t that in some way suggestive of his dislike towards his sexuality? Or maybe he is okay with homosexuality, but has an issue with men being effeminate. One of the biggest problems on earth is how much we hate people like us. More often than not people hate people of their own kind more than the people who’re different than us. When Priyanka Chopra becomes arguably the first Asian to be a face of an American television series as slick as Quantico, it is the Indians who have more of an issue with her success. “Oh her accent is so fake!”, “And now she’s having sex abroad!”.

I feel sad when I see a classmate of mine pointing out how ugly and ordinary-looking Freida Pinto is. No one adores Freida Pinto as much as I do. I look upto her in so many ways than I can count. How many Indians born and brought up in India go abroad and are able to not just be a part of not just inspirational Indie movies but also crack all those big-banners? I really wanted to understand the real reason behind us doing so and I could finally find one- insecurity. One of my acquaintances on knowing my interest in the field of digital art and fashion condescendingly said to me, “But why do you want to be a part of something like Fashion?”

No wait a second, do you know anything about the world of Fashion? Do you know or even remotely understand the work that goes into coming up with something new and interesting in a world where almost everything has been tried and tested  and to top it all execute the same and make it look desirable and wearable enough to the audience?

She was also quick to assert, “I see how you also speak like those gay men I saw on Bigg Boss, may be because you have started living with such people?”

So much has been spoken of the problem with prejudice and the concept of passing a judgment without having even the slightest idea of the bigger picture. And all these people I talk about are educated individuals. Education isn’t only about learning the ability to read and write. Education is developing the ability to think rationally without mindless preconceived notions, the ability to develop a mind of your own and do something substantial for this society that you are a part of. But fuck that shit! “I went to a school so I could get myself a job, a spouse and judge people around me my entire life.”

Logic plays no role in such conversations. We are believed to be living in a country that came up with the concept of Karma, but yeah, ‘Fuck karma! I am going to look down upon what you do and make myself look bigger’. Well, I’m not sure whether someone told you, “You cannot fix yourself by breaking someone else”.

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Siddhant clicked this picture for me on Arushi’s camera and let me tell you I was back from a play and I was effing tired but all the sweat made my skin shine bright, so I ain’t complaining.

Peace in.

THE CLOSET!

Once upon a time, there lived a closet.
That devoured every fruit-flavored queer fruit in the world,
Funny it is that they still wished to be feasted upon,
Coz the world was still petrified of the world of queer!
Then, smashing through the closet, came *The Milk*,
Who was out and proud. 😀
Together with his candor and charm,
He made his outlook aloud.
Today that Closet lives in the after-world,
For the (ex-)closeted ones have swirled him into the Universe,
And there is no-one to pity for him in the world.
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Photo Courtesy: http://www.bobvila.com