Gender and orientation are not the same: Indroneel Mukherjee

Indroneel Mukherjee

Indroneel Mukherjee confesses, while his classmates indulged in sports, Indroneel stayed back to make dresses for his amazing collection of  dolls! Following a six-year challenging stint in event management, Indroneel decided to hang his gloves and enrolled at the Istituto Marangoni in Milan. He is a globe trotter, social entertainer, trendy and unconventional Fashion Designer.

After finishing his course he returned to India, and initiated his label, “IM”. He firmly believes that fashion is not simply confined to the rich and the slim, but for any woman who emanates confidence and grit, irrespective of her size, shape, background or profession! Mukherjee identifies as a cis gay man. In a freewheeling chat with SheThePeople Bangla he opened about gender, orientation and much more.

You can listen to the entire conversation here

Here are 10 things that Indroneel Mukherjee said during a Live With SheThePeople.Tv which are worth remembering.

“You need to be yourself”

My mother is my role model. I always looked up to her and she has played a very important part in my life in making me who I am today. She has been a single mother and always helped me grow. One thing she always told me is, “You need to be yourself”, this has always mattered to me and I tell this to everyone. One needs to be themselves. Your personality shapes up when you true to who you are. You have to first come to terms with yourself and accept who you are and only then will others accept you.

“My Orientation has never been the centre factor of my life”

I took my time to come out as well, it didn’t happen in a day. “My orientation has never been the centre factor of my life.” Once I started working and gained some amount of financial independence, that is when I decided to break the spell, because somewhere down the line even if I did not get the acceptance, at least I could sustain myself. I was very lucky that my friends and family accepted me with open arms because I have seen the darker side to this as well where people are rejected and mocked.

“It’s a phase and will wear off eventually, maybe he likes to dress up at present.”

Initially, everyone thought “It’s a phase and will wear off eventually, maybe he likes to dress up at present.” I didn’t dress this openly when I was young, but I played with dolls and had a collection. I was privileged and allowed as a kid to live that way. I was never forced into anything. My brother was heavily into sports and was very outgoing whereas I preferred being home and spent time with my dolls. It was always in me to make things look beautiful, I have cut off many expensive sarees which belonged to my mum and made dresses for my dolls, probably that is how it all started.

We are often forced to leading dual lives, I was very lucky!”

Everyone doesn’t get the kind of acceptance I have received from my family and friends. That is why “we are often forced to live dual lives”. This is why people from the community often hide their identities or orientation, and are pushed to leading lives against their will. They are mocked by the same people who were once friends. Families wouldn’t want to associate with you because they feel ashamed to face the society. They have brought you up and they want the best for you. Our parents always want to see us shine and love to take pride in it, but when the same people see that you are being mocked, laughed and ridiculed, it becomes difficult. People are scared that if they mingle with homosexuals they might be ridiculed.

I have cut off many expensive sarees which belonged to my mum and made dresses for my dolls, probably that is how it all started.

“I like to enjoy myself as I am.”

I believe in body positivity, beauty is beyond shape, size or gender. I like to dress up and get my nails done, even wear jewellery and quirky stuff, there’s no harm in wanting a little bling and shimmer in your life. Sexy is what you bring on to the table with confidence. I never believe that you have to be of a certain body type to be regarded as beautiful. I always wear what I feel good and comfortable in, whether it’s revealing or covered, flowy or not that flowy, “I like to enjoy myself as I am.”

“I am beyond my sexuality”

I have never let my orientation define me, I am much more than just that! There is a lot more creativity that I have to offer. I cannot be labelled and branded as something or anything just because I am gay. Sexuality is not everything, it is beyond that. Your orientation does not really define you as a human being. Your personality is all you are and that is what defines you. It’s all about your confidence and how you carry yourself.

Sexy is what you bring on to the table with confidence.

“Gender and orientation are not the same.”

Gender is something a human identifies as, for example, if you are born as male and you identify as a boy or a man then you are cisgender. But if you are born male and you identify as a woman then you are transgender. So, gender is basically what you identify as, whereas orientation is completely different. Orientation is your sexual preference, if a man likes a man, he is gay, if a woman likes a woman, she is lesbian. A cis-man can be straight as well as gay. That is what people often get confused with, not necessarily if a man, is gender fluid in dressing up as a transgender. I am very happy in my physical body of a man and I am gender fluid.

“People think I am snobbish and I have a high nose.”

I am a social butterfly but at times I am also misjudged. “People think I’m snobbish and I have a high nose.” I take time to feel relaxed and open up. It has got nothing to do with me being gay. Regarding busting the general thought that majority of the people from the LGBTQIA+ community are snobbish, reserved, etc, we have to realise that they come from a background where probably they have been ridiculed for being their true self all their life. The animosity is abnormal. So, when they achieve something in life or reach a place they somehow choose to be aloof and probably decide that they don’t need anybody around them. It is difficult for someone who has been ridiculed all this life to socialise and have friends. I have also come across people who are completely my opposite and are even complicated and then some people are over-friendly and very warm. but there is one thing we all love to do is gossip. We shouldn’t generalise this because everyone is not the same.

It is difficult for someone who has been ridiculed all this life to socialise and have friends.

“Trolling has become a part of my life.”

Every morning I wake up to a whole inbox of abusive messages, a lot of hate and silly stuff about me. What I fail to understand is what makes them so angry about me, is it me or the content I give on my social media, I still cannot understand why they hate me so much. The positivity that keeps me going is there are maybe a hundred people who do that but then there are thousands who show me a lot of love, who always send me amazing messages where they have said I inspired touched many lives where people have gained the courage by seeing me on social media to come out to their families.

“It is a very hard thing being different.”

The best way to deal with someone who is planning to come out is by being supportive. Every individual takes his own time to come to terms with their identity. A lot of parents feel embarrassed to discuss such things with their children and at times that leads to drift, we don’t always need to have a dialogue for it, instead we can simply show support by being there for them, just by supporting them as they are and letting them be without criticism. I feel parents should just let their children be and support them because this will help them stay positive and to flourish in their lives instead of doubting themselves. We should avoid making them feel different because they already know they are. If your family and friends start treating you differently it makes things worse, they are the way they are, that doesn’t change the individual. Someone’s sexual preference has got nothing to do with their social life or circle.

The views expressed are that of the guests and not of SheThePeople.