The world consistently misgender us before we can ever understand what our gender really is!

Hi! My name is Priyadarshini and my pronouns are she and they. I’m a 24-year-old queer Nonbinary female person.

We all are raised in a predominantly heteronormative society where we’re taught, by example, that we’re born to fall in love with a cisgender person of a gender that isn’t the same as our sex assigned at birth.

Our schools teach us that sex and gender are the same and that both of these function in binaries, whereas both sex and gender are spectrums. I came out as queer long before I came out as nonbinary. Since my gender expression is femme, I’ve always been boxed into – Female and my pronouns have always been assumed to be she and her. Slowly I realized that even though I do not prefer him and his as pronouns, there are some days where I do not feel like using she and her. I came out, earlier this year, as nonbinary and I did so on an Instagram live video. I changed my pronouns on my LinkedIn, email signatures, and notified my then employer.

Since my gender expression is femme, I’m often told that I don’t look queer enough and I don’t look like a Non-Binary person. It’s difficult to hear it – is an understatement. Binaries are the worst enemy for mosaic beings like myself. Oftentimes, I find my saree clad femme self looking at the mirror and thinking – Am I Queer enough?

The world consistently makes us question who we are, in a sly attempt to erase our identities slowly and painfully. They misgender us before we can ever understand what our gender really is.

This makes the presence of Community a key factor in the lives of LGBTQIAHKplus folks. I’m currently a founder member of @mypride_org which is a Queer collective based in Kolkata. I’m also a Junior Program Officer at @sappho.for.equality

Sappho for Equality is eastern India’s oldest activist forum and support group for Lesbian, Bisexual women, and Transmen.

I’m surrounded by people who experience life in similar hues and tones and therefore, I don’t feel an overwhelming sense of loneliness. That would be my advice to any young queer person who is struggling with self-acceptance. It is not only important to love ourselves but to also surround ourselves with people who love us for who we are. It’s important. It’s necessary and it’s non-negotiable.

-Priyadarshini (she/they)