Androgynous model of color, Somriddho Dasgupta fights for inclusivity and change.
By Somriddho Dasgupta (Instagram: @somriddho)
Somriddho Dasgupta is an androgynous model, actor and filmmaker, originally from New Delhi, India based in London, United Kingdom now.
Here is what he said regarding his experience with being an androgynous, gender fluid model and actor of color in London:
I moved to England when I was 15. Being from India, I was always pushed to act masculine. However, I never really saw myself as either a man or a woman. It always depended on my mood really. For example, on some days I would feel more masculine than feminine. On other days, the other way around. Thus, I never really felt that either of the labels (man or woman) described me the best as I could never really stick to any of them.
When I was around 16, I discovered RuPaul’s Drag Race. On season 9 of the show, a drag queen by the name of Sasha Velour was competing. She defied all the gender norms with her drag and challenged my expectations and perceptions of drag. It was so beautiful that I started looking at her style as art and it really was art. That is when I realized this is what I identified as. She was neither a man, nor a woman. She was art. That’s what I was, art. A young, budding work of art.
I started accepting my identity and expressing it more with my sense of fashion. My first androgynous piece of clothing was from a brand called Fecal Matter. It was an oversized white shirt with an open back and it had four sleeves/arms. Even though it was all white with no work or designs on it, I felt the most glamorous and the most like myself when I walked out in it. I was nervous, of course. But, I felt more empowered than nervous. It was like making a statement. Like screaming at the world and telling it that I exist, I have arrived. I felt free.
Obviously, I faced, and still face hate. I often get things thrown at me from moving cars when I am walking to my university. People screaming slurs at me. Even in 2020, not many androgynous or gender-fluid people exist. They are too scared to express themselves, scared of the opposition they would face. Every year, numerous LGBTQIA+ people die in London as a result of hate crime.
But, did this stop me from expressing myself? No. I still walk out in public in my white fur trousers, my pearl covered glasses and my chunky earrings. I like to get a conversation going as language has power. Good or bad, as long as people are talking about it, it is a victory for me because more people get to know about me, my style. They get to know that perhaps, they don’t have to be a man or a woman either. They can be anything they want to be. Because they talk about it (androgyny), it exists. Thus, it is very important to express yourself. You feel good and you make others feel good.
My style was obviously rewarded as well. I got to walk two shows during London Fashion Week this year where I had the opportunity to see various brands promoting gender-neutral clothing which made me incredibly happy. I talked about my films and being gay and androgynous on a London arts radio show and in various other newspapers. I got to work in two Sony Music videos and above all, with brands such as Nike and Badoo! To top it all off, I made amazing friends who appreciate me for me, who I can be myself around and who support me no matter what.
What I am trying to say is being androgynous could seem challenging. Perhaps, even hard. But, being true to yourself is the best gift you could give yourself and gradually you’ll find out that what seemed to be hard or impossible in the past is actually so natural to you that you do not even think about it anymore.
It (being androgynous) is no longer a task that you have to give yourself the courage to do. It is who you are. It is your identity.