“I was a non-binary Child and realised it as a non-binary Adult”

In middle school during a fancy-dress competition under the asbestos sheet i waited for my turn behind the stage sitting in a fairy silk gown so I can finish my dialogue and get out of the heat.

During my long wait, the teacher asked me to shut my legs and sit lady like. I remember taking a dump the next morning and having a thought if my teacher had western toilet and no idea of this position.

I waited to finish school so I could avoid the binary uniform, After the miserable failure in school I pursued art,Fashion was never my thing I wanted to be a film maker and that’s all. I needed something to cover my body alongside, that was that but when I learnt Frida in art school I fell in love with her mush.

Yes! fashion wasrather an expression than an act of hiding. I never felt more beautifully handsome to cover my body in a certain FASHION after Frida’s mush tattooed in my head.
There are interesting events that lead to love for fashion apart from being a film maker and an artist. All the events are “middle class” tinted.

-The lady bird cycle I had in high school, I welded my dad’s old royal Enfield mirrors on both sides of the handle but I never wanted a bullet or anything that I couldn’t handle.
-I painted the “lady” shoes with art history text of various colours on it but never could want to wear “men” shoes really.

During a research, I had to wear the dupatta to enter a temple and stand in the uniformed queue of deities each one with their own research. So, uniform was a human measurement with various intentions in a god-fearing world, but it wasn’t possibly an expression. It was an act to hide your body, with 2 rigid gender classifications.

Unlike the non-binary struggles of being non-binary kid and teenager, finally at 31 being a non-binary adult today is becoming a reachable idea, with social media connecting to people like Arie, there is more hope for fashion, beauty and beholder’s perception to evolve…

Hence Mustache under my nose ring- to expanding boundaries of beauty!! A gender-neutral fashion, design and beauty initiative by Bengaluru based non-binary filmmaker Shailaja Padindala & Chennai fashion designer Purushu Arie, one of India’s known men’s fashion blogger.

The crux of this initiative is to break stereotypes about how beauty is defined and expectations are set for women and men. The absence of body hair for women (especially facial and armpit hair) and the presence of the very same to be a man (moustache as a sign of manliness) are cultural boundaries that aim to constrict the idea of gender and beauty.

Clothes and even skin tone and mannerisms are other artificial boundaries culturally and socially perpetrated and habituated as the norm. It is a movement to address the evolving form of feminine and masculine beauty and how it meets the eye of the beholder.