Fashion Designer Swapnil Shinde Comes Out As A Transwoman. We’re Here For It
If I had to name some of my favourite fashion designers from the Indian fashion industry, one of them would definitely be Swapnil Shinde. The designer who has dressed Bollywood starlets ranging from Kareena Kapoor to Deepika Padukone and Tara Sutaria has been on the US reality show Project Runway and is known for eclectic design style ranging from glamourous flowy dresses and gowns to edgy jumpsuits. The veteran designer came out yesterday as a transgender woman and claimed identity as Saisha Shinde. This is great since in a country where transgenders are looked down upon, judged and discriminated, a celebrated artist like Shinde coming out in public could help normalise the notion of being a transgender person.
Celebrities influence the masses in more ways than one. It’s not just their fashion statement and mannerism that’s imitated and adopted by their fans and followers but their values and lifestyle as well. This is precisely why an opinion or view of an influencer or a celebrity on the social and political matter has much weightage in the eyes of the public. They can be the frontrunners and help bring a change by directing the mindsets of the society in the right way.
There is a social stigma about being non-straight in India which needs to be normalised and celebrities could advance the movement of equality simply by supporting the cause. However, when a celebrity comes out as a gay, non-binary or transgender, it is extremely impactful and empowering to those struggling to accepting their identity. Thus, the courageous step needs to be celebrated and applauded. Shinde coming out as a transwoman could
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Also Read: Juno, Umbrella Academy Actor Elliot Page Comes Out As Transgender In A Post We All Need To Read
Shinde made the big revelation through an Instagram post. She wrote, “Irrespective of your origin, there will always be something that reminds you of your childhood. For me, it takes me back to the kind of loneliness that aches, to pressures that pushed me into solitude and the chaos of confusion that grew every moment. All through school and college, while the boys outside tormented me because I was different, the internal pain was far worse.
She went on to say how he felt accepted in his fashion school and gathered the courage to admit her identity. “I felt suffocated living a reality that I knew wasn’t mine, yet one that I had to stage everyday because of societal expectations and norms. It was only in my early 20s at NIFT where I found the courage to accept my truth; I truly bloomed. I spent the next few years believing that I was attracted to men because I was gay, but it was only 6 years ago that I finally accepted to myself, and today that I accept to you.
She summed up the post saying, “I am not a gay man. I am a Transwoman.”
She also mentioned why she chose the name Saisha. She wrote in the caption of the post, “Saisha means a meaningful life and I plan to make mine an exceptionally meaningful one.”
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A few weeks ago, American actor Ellen Page who starred in teen movie Juno came out as a transgender man and received immense love and support from his fans. Although a number of celebrities from the West have come out of the closet, the number of Indian celebrities who came out as gay or transgender could be counted on a finger. The reason is obvious—the non-acceptance and social taboo around the third gender in the Indian society. Although the entertainment industry has explored the themes based on LGBTQ+ community and has tried to tap on the concept (most of them ending up in a failed attempt), there is still a long way to go until celebrities openly support the trans community and come out in public. We are really proud of Shinde and hope this normalises being a transgender in India in some way.