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In Conversation With: ANWESH SAHOO

In Conversation With: ANWESH SAHOO

In Conversation With: Anwesh Sahoo
As pride month comes to an end, the conversation around the topic should not. 
We spoke to Anwesh Sahoo about his journey with sexuality, his art and profession and his favorite music right now. 
 
Here's what he had to say - 
   
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Odisha and moved to Delhi when I was around 13-14.
   
Do you have siblings?
I do have a sibling who is 4 years older to me. 
    
How would you describe your profession? 
My profession is rather interesting, I work as a technical artist at the intersection of designers and developers. I work on a gaming engine, specifically in the space of casino gaming and I love it.
 
I am also a creator, I create artworks for a range of things in print like for newspapers, magazines, I've also designed calendars, playing cards, annual planners and diaries. I have also, more recently, worked in the realm of creating books.
 
I also create work for my Instagram where I basically play around with the idea of fashion, gender and queerness, and even sometimes politics. They all come together and everything goes through the lens of Effeminare, so I create something that is a visual spectacle of sorts.
 
I also work as a model. I’ve been doing it for a good 7-8 years now. And I work with independent labels, small labels, big labels, basically any form of runway or print work.
 
Anwesh Graphic Work
 
What has your journey been like as a member of the LGBTQ+ community?
 
My journey has been rather tumultuous to be honest. Initially, I did not want to be gay, so I went through this entire phase of self loathing. I think once I won Mister Gay India and I was opened up to a world of queerness in India, more queer people were becoming part of my life day in and day out, that's when things started changing, I started appreciating this more. And information is key, so knowing more about my queerness helped me a lot. It helped me understand that this is actually fun, exciting and beautiful and it needs to be embraced.
 
Sexuality is an important part of anyone's life, but especially for someone like me, who basically works in a job which is not entirely surrounded by queer people, being able to put out my 100% true self is very important to me.
 
What were the most rewarding and the most challenging experiences?
 
The challenging part has been not having the social acceptance, it's a very complex journey and sometimes people give up in that process, I've lost out on so many friends over the years, which is very unfortunate. But this same complex journey let me in a way where I found more about myself and learned so much about life overall. I am so much more self aware.
 
Anwesh Artwork 3
 
What was acceptance like when you decided to come out?
 
Acceptance was initially difficult when I came out to my parents, to my family, I think they didn't understand it, I don't think they still understand it but they deal with it.
 
i've also started not coming out to people beyond my social circle, so maybe in other parts of my life I don’t really have to deal with it as much, but in my work place for example - I am out to everyone, and it can be like a journey where I am basically coming out again and again.
 
Luckily things are changing now, in organized spaces things are much better, people really appreciate you for who you are. I love that, people appreciate your queerness and I am grateful for that. But I think in unorganized spaces in India, it's very difficult. There is a lot of unnecessary hate, for femme people especially.
 
If you could now give one piece of advice to a younger you, what would it be? 
 
I think I would say to myself - don't take yourself too seriously.
In terms of my career I was really focused, in terms of finding my own self too - I was very strict with myself and I took what people said to heart sometimes. I wish I hadn’t done that, I wish I had taken life a little less seriously sometimes.
 
Anwesh Sahoo Graphic

 

What is the change that you would like to see, specifically in India, with regards to the LGBTQ+ community?

I would really like the future of the queer community to be bright, to be filled with hope, to be a more egalitarian world where we don't have to fight so much for our rights - something so fundamental.

So many changes I would like to see, to begin with - marriage equality, that is something I would really really want in the future. I think marriage right is a very fundamental right, people across the gender spectrum should be able to choose who they want to marry, irrespective of their gender identity. I wish there was more understanding and awareness of the difference between gender identity and sexuality.

I would love for us to have rights to adoption, a very very fundamental right again, I feel this world would be so much better if we offered kids the opportunity to be adopted by queer couples - that would be lovely.

Who are your top 3 music artists? 
I love listening to Netta, she is an Israeli artist, love her music. I also really enjoy Ckay and I have been listening to AP Dhillon a lot recently.
 
Which is your favorite vacation destination? 
I love Switzerland, I'm obsessed with Zurich, it's my favourite city in the whole wide world.
 
What’s your fashion uniform? 
I love wearing loose clothes, so I wear a pair of baggy jeans and a simple safari shirt. I love colors so i incorporate a bit of color in the shirt.
 
Summer/Winter/Monsoon? What do you wait for? 
I always always wait for winter, its my favorite season.
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