Stories of Resilience:

How Can I Find Ways To De-gender Things?

Her Story:

Name: Debbie Banerjee⠀
Born: Colorado, USA
Lives: North Carolina, USA
Handle: @Roti.OnTheRocks

When I was a teen, I struggled with my gender fluidity. My family always observed and said I was “boyish/a tomboy” growing up, but they never realized that was exactly how I was feeling on the inside. I always had a masculine side, but my feminine appearance always got in the way. When I got diagnosed with PCOS, my doctor told me my high level of testosterone/androgen was the cause of why I felt that way and that I wasn’t actually a boy or that my boy feelings are not accurate. But I still knew it was much deeper than that. ⠀

It wasn’t until I was in therapy that I discovered how to properly understand terms along with understanding my brain, my heart, my soul, and my sexuality. When I finally started to be more like myself, I was met with resistance by the brown community. I was supposed to be more “Laxmi-like” not running around like Ram.

The resistance continues today. My MIL has the hardest time trying to understand why I wear my husband’s kurta, shirts, and pants. She has the hardest time accepting my tattoos and that I never dress up in “girl clothes”. If 2020 has taught me anything, it can get real lonely if you don’t let yourself be you. So I continue to wear my tattoos, my gender fluidity, and my love for my culture all on my sleeves.⠀

A question I have recently been asking myself daily is “How can I find ways to de-gender things?” Clothing doesn’t have a gender. Girls don’t have to be girly. If I could tell my younger self anything, it would be to explore and shine out every part that is screaming inside of you. Others can’t say shit about what you’re wearing when your best outfit is yourself.

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