Beyond the confines of computer screens and coding, Swayambhu is a creative artist who infuses a touch of out-of-the-box thinking into every facet of life. Embarking on a journey of self-discovery, Swayambhu found solace in the realm of agender identity—an identity often overshadowed. In this conversation, xie shares xier experiences of coming out as an agender, the decision to change xier name, and how people are still grappling to accept and understand agender as a valid identity.
It has been a challenging journey because I also had not heard about agenderness.
The path to uncovering agenderness proved challenging, as it resided in the shadows of lesser-known gender identities. For Swayambhu, the revelation of being part of the queer spectrum, specifically agender, marked a monumental turning point—a day etched as the pinnacle of self-identification, bringing an end to a personal struggle.
Agender identity, like many others within the LGBTQIA+ community, grapples with stereotypes that add an extra layer of complexity to personal journeys. Discovering xier agender identity wasn't a walk in the park for Swayambhu. In a society that often overlooks lesser-known gender identities, the journey was a challenge. The day Swayambhu identified as agender marked a significant personal victory, a “eureka” moment, as xie say.
Swayambhu, a staunch advocate for the validity of agenderness, draws a poignant analogy—much like zero is a valid concept, agenderness, too, deserves recognition. The societal challenge lies in accepting the vast spectrum of queerness, an acceptance that often takes time. Despite exposure to LGBTQ inclusion in workplaces and global settings, societal acceptance remains a gradual process, even among friends.
I think there's a gap in the system which needs to be filled.
Beyond the personal realm, Swayambhu navigated the legal intricacies of aligning a name with identity. Though not overly daunting, the process presented challenges, particularly in the realm of bureaucratic portals. From a legal standpoint, there are three recognized gender categories. Individuals falling outside the male or female categories are typically grouped under the umbrella terms "transgender" or "other gender." Surprisingly, however, many online platforms, including Bharat Kosh, where individuals are required to make payments for name and gender changes, fail to offer the "other" gender option.
As a non-binary individual falling under the transgender umbrella, Swayambhu faced the startling realization that most government portals lacked the essential "other gender" option, showcasing a systemic gap that requires urgent attention and rectification.
I don't think my mother understands the spectrum, but she accepted my identity without qualms.
Growing up in an open-minded environment, Swayambhu's family provided the space to navigate personal journeys freely. When Swayambhu expressed xier wish to change xier name and embrace an agender identity, xier 83-year-old mother, though possibly not fully comprehending the spectrum, offered wholehearted acceptance. This acceptance, reflected in her referring to Swayambhu by xier chosen name, serves as a significant form of moral support.
Swayambhu’s friends, however, most of whom have been exposed to LGBTQIA+ inclusion in workplaces or during travels to countries with queer-friendly environments, were hesitant in accepting xiem as a queer person. This was quite shocking for Swayambhu. Despite their exposure, these friends exhibited reluctance, attributing it to terms like "woke-ism." Swayambhu has chosen to remain silent on the matter for now, believing it will take time for them to come to terms with Swayambhu’s identity. Xie is hopeful that giving them some time may lead to a better understanding and acceptance of Swayambhu’s agender identity.
The name Swayambhu matched the T to my identity.
Delving into the significance of xier chosen name, Swayambhu unveils its profound meaning—self-born, self-manifested, and self-existing. As a representation of a genderless and formless deity, Lord Brahman, the name aligns seamlessly with Swayambhu's identity. Rejecting the confines of a feminine dead name, the choice of Swayambhu stands as a deliberate and apt reflection of xier gender identity.
Swayambhu Soham brings a practical outlook to navigating the complexities of identity with grace and carving a space for self-expression and acceptance within a world still learning to embrace the vast and diverse tapestry of human existence.