'Clothes Don't Define Gender Or Sexuality': Delhi Teen Standing Up to Bullies

The teenager came out as gay in 2020, and does not believe in attaching any gender labels.

4 min read

Video Editor: Deepthi Ramdas

Senior Editor: Shelly Walia

(This story was first published on 28 April 2022. It has been republished from The Quint’s archives to mark Pride Month.)

Every day, 17-year-old Sanat wakes up to hundreds of DMs and comments that are homophobic. People on social media react to every piece of cloth he wears, the makeup he does.

But the Delhi teenager is doing the one thing that he can to stand up to his bullies – be the person that Sanat truly is.

Sanat recently made headlines when he wore a saree to his school farewell in February. But along with the praise came the homophobic comments.

Speaking to The Quint, Sanat said that he wanted to clarify that – "My GENDER and SEXUALITY have nothing to do with my CLOTHING or MAKEUP. But homophobes generally do relate to these things and hence they together amalgamate them and bully me. I don't get bullied anymore."

The teenager came out as gay in 2020, and does not believe in attaching any gender labels – and goes by the pronouns he/she/them.

"It is actually so stupid that we give genders to clothes as it is just fabric. I can turn this into a suit and suddenly you will say it is for men. Right now, you will say this is for the women's section. Why are skirts only for women but jeans are unisex?"
Sanat told The Quint
The teenager came out as gay in 2020, and does not believe in attaching any gender labels.

Sanat with his friend.

(Photo Courtesy: Sanat/Instragram)


Wearing A Saree to School

He said that while the world thought that "a guy wearing a saree is something considered so weird", he wanted to wear one to his school farewell.

"It was actually really scary. I went in a cab and I actually did not want to get out of the cab. I sat in the cab for a good five minutes, and took five deep breaths, and called my best friend who went as my date, and she came outside and I got off the cab. And I was like 'Hi', and after that it went great. She received me very well, obviously, and after that I got very comfortable and we just went inside and clicked pictures. The whole thing happened and it was great," Sanat told The Quint.

But Where Did His Love For Makeup & Dressing Up Begin?

Sanat borrowed his mother's black saree for his farewell, but has been borrowing clothes from her wardrobe since 2020 – when he started experimenting with his looks.

"It is so special. Since I have come out to her, she has changed so much. She has this habit of asking me things instead of going and asking people. She also has the habit of unlearning. That is the the ability you need as a person from her generation is to unlearn so that she can learn new things. She has that ability."
The teenager came out as gay in 2020, and does not believe in attaching any gender labels.

Sanat's picture with a full makeup look.

(Photo Courtesy: Sanat/Instragram)

What started as a "fun idea" – became a means to discover what the teenager wanted to represent.

"There was this day when I was coming from the gym with my friend, and she told me to buy an eyeliner. I was like, 'Sounds fun.' I got an eyeliner, came back home, took a bath and put it on. I posted a picture of it and a lot of people in my family assumed my sexuality apparently from that and there was a lot of hue and cry in my household about it."

Kids Who Are Struggling to Be Themselves

Today, Sanat has over 14,000 followers on Instagram, and is always encouraging people to be themselves.

"I hope that you can find the courage to stand up for yourselves. Once you start standing up for yourself, other people will start standing up for you. It is not going to happen if you don't take the first step. If you don't accept yourself and you don't come up and say, 'I will step up for myself', no one will step up for you. So make sure you do that."

"To any children, queer or not; anybody who is different, and because of you being 'different' you are being treated very horribly, please know that it is the people treating you that way who are at fault. You are not at fault for being whoever you are," the teenager added.

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