A Demi Drag Love Journey
Free of any gender tags, this DDLJ is a fluid, pure love story
Usually people are romantic, and romance is always seen as something between a man and a woman. The idea of romance is where "masculinity" is head over heels in love with "femininity". The 'hero' who can break the sky, kneel down to give a rose, ride a horse… sheer masculinity driving towards femininity.
Since childhood I grew up watching Bollywood films filled with the idea of binary romance. To get a girl one must be masculine, so much so that he can break another man to "own" her. As I grew up DDLJ a.k.a Dilwale Dulhaniya Lejayenge was a huge influence. I thought one must be Raj to win a person's heart.
But not everything was that cosy. My first ever relationship at the age of 18 was a terrible mess. I invested so much to make it work, that I didn't realise I was acting as someone else. It was then that I started realising that I was bisexual. But I couldn't see that "romance angle" for both the genders I was with. For some I was over romantic, for others I was under. The idea of heart breaks, flings and emotional connections made me realise that this wasn't a story I was told.
Why didn't I feel romantically attracted to men? Why was I only romantically attracted to women? How am I attracted to anyone out of the binary? Those were the biggest questions. Why was I not always romantically attracted to everyone with whom I had relationships? That was a huge question.
The complexity of my gender orientation even made me reflect on the idea of romance. I shut the idea of connection of love, feelings, emotional bonding in my heart, and just went away with my sexuality. The idea of not being completely aligned with being "masculine" and doing "heroic things''.
The romance I grew up watching, made me block the idea of expressing my romantic emotions. I felt this was not something I needed. And even if I try hard I will never fit into the construct of the masc-femme love system.
I knew I was gender fluid, then pansexual and then nonbinary, but I realised slowly it was more that just one label. I am also someone who was demiromantic.
A demiromantic person is someone who only develops romantic feelings for another person when they have a strong emotional connection to them. Demiromantic people can be of any gender identity or sexual orientation.
Demiromanticism is part of the aromantic spectrum. Aromantic people do not feel any romantic attraction to anyone. Some demiromantic people use the term pre-romantic. This describes someone who occasionally feels romantic attraction. However, demiromanticism refers specifically to people who only feel romantic attraction after the development of a deep emotional bond.
A romantic attraction towards my partner restarted after I shared a strong bond with her. I believe she is more romantic than me, and I realised that in our first meeting. When I met her for the first time, my eyes were stained with vermillion which someone had put on my forehead. While I was struggling, she passed me a towel and asked me to wipe my eyes. That's when the 'music' started in the background, and inner 'love emojis' burst out. I loved the feeling, the warmth it created. The subtle effect of what people call love.
Now, this slowly developed as a bond where we feel romantically attracted to each other. She gave me space to be gender fluid, and never wished that I should get flowers for her. I feel heroic when she paints my face and turns me into a drag queen. I feel gestures like planting a plant with her, or her helping me drape a saree or putting eyeliner for me, make me feel heroic.
It's not 'masc. v/s femme' anymore. Somewhere I flow between the two at the same time. We enjoy rare things which radiate love for each other and celebrate my demi romantic identity.
As post marriage shoots are always of couples holding each other, or a man giving flowers to a woman, I thought we needed a better way to do it, blurring the masc.-femme boundaries. It was also artist Alekya Grace's idea to capture the essence of our raw bond. Hence, we planned a photoshoot where we ooze romance without gender tags. These are the images from our photoshoot titled DDLJ Demi Drag Love Journey.