Accessory designer Akassh K Aggarwal, who will participate in the 10th Delhi Queer Pride Parade on Sunday, says self-acceptance is the key to fighting all the battles in the journey of those in the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community.
He also feels people must not seek any approval or acceptance while coming out of the closet.
"I am as mainstream as anyone else in our society. It's enough that the LGBT people have been sidelined.... Coming from a land as diverse as India, I am so proud of my identity," Aggarwal told IANS in an interview here.
"Self-acceptance is a key to fight all the battles in a journey of an LGBT person. When you are sharing who you are, you are just expressing about your sexuality, so don't seek approval or acceptance. Be willing to give them (others) their time to understand," he added.
As far as those coming out is concerned, he says they must be accepting of people's inquisitiveness to know more about them or about the community at large.
"Give them the understanding by discussing this issue at length and also around different situation. Don't run away from others' questions about yourself. Though it is challenging, I am still of a very strong opinion of asking LGBTQ people of 'coming out of the closet', seek suggestions from family members or professional counsellors, or discuss with friends whom you can trust or feel comfortable to share," he said.
As a designer, Aggarwal, who has a brand called Shubhanisini Ornamentals, has his own popularity.
His jewellery has been sported by many Bollywood celebrities like Vidya Balan, Sushmita Sen, Swara Bhasker and Kriti Sanon.
Of his own journey, he says it was difficult to "come out" and face the world.
"But I always feel the journey can be much easy if self-acceptance is there as a defensive tool," he said, and added that the best reward for him "would be to have our LGBT community rights and being acknowledged and accepeted in mainstream India."
He wants more people to talk about LGBT rights.
"I would certainly be happy to see more voices in our support... But we also need of more iconic, inspiring and influencing Indian LGBTQ people to come forward and address the sensitivity towards the issue and give masses a face to connect too.
"I think India is yet to see an iconic LGBT figure. I personally think it's enough of the times we begged or asked for our human rights. Let's fight for it and take it. Change can only happen when we work towards it," said Aggarwal, who recounted the contribution of filmmmakers Onir and the late Rituparno Ghosh, who used cinema as a tool to raise awareness.
The designer says his family has supported him and he wants to give back to the society in every way possible.
"I do expect society at large to accept us as human as they are with no brackets of division for our personal sexual choices. Sensitive awareness towards the LGBT community is much-need at this hour.
"Being an active and vocal LGBT person, I always like to enhance public knowledge and sensitivity towards our community. In days to come, I am planning to dedicate a line of funky, quirky and colourful range of accessories dedicated to the community and the money generated from the sales will be directly used for funding NGOS, those working for the LGBT community," he said.
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