To understand the neuroqueer persona that is Tejaswi Subramanian, we must first turn to Bell Hooks, poet, and activist, who once said queer the self is "at conflict with everything around it and needs to invent and construct in order to find a place to speak, to survive, and to exist."

Researcher, journalist, and educator, Tejaswi has been spreading awareness of gender, sex, and intimacy as a writer and educator. Apart from creating and editing content on sexuality, gender, and inclusivity, as an editor with the Gaysi family, Tejaswi promotes the need to educate people on the various facets of sexuality.

In the process of self-discovery, they believe treating the body as a storehouse of intelligence is necessary. Through their work, Tejaswi hopes to aid persons from marginalized communities to learn more about their bodies and themselves.

Pointing to how the 'system' creates distance between our sense of self and our bodies, Tejaswi foregrounds the early institutionalization that we undergo at a tender age. One’s journey then, they believe, should also include the struggle against this systemic ideology — by choosing to love and respect one’s body.

During our conversation, Tejaswi shared how their journey of self-discovery, in part, was prompted by their neurodivergence.

Asexuality is not just about personal identity, it is also about personal philosophy. My asexuality was shaped by my autism.

Tejaswi explains that such an approach of 'unraveling neurodivergence,' allowed them to confront masked emotions stored within their body, especially those shrouded in shame, disgust, and reservation. Their inability to express such feelings came partly from the fear that such thoughts were not acceptable and taboo in society. To establish their identity as asexual and autistic, Tejaswi, like several others, had to struggle against a mountain of misrepresentation and misinformation.

This (misrepresentation and misinformation) is a reality for so many of us who are autistic and neurodivergent.

In their article, On Queerness & Masturbation, Tejaswi writes that there is "very little representation in mainstream media about asexuality." Expanding this further for us, Tejaswi breaks down the heteronormative stereotypes that misrepresent the asexual and autistic umbrella.

Tejaswi tells us that a lot more can be done to create a better understanding of neurodiversity. They feel the labor of masking — the act of hiding one’s emotions to appear socially acceptable — that persons from marginalized groups often engage in, is rarely given visibility. However, citing personal experiences, Tejaswi adds that while there are spaces that stifle agency and prompt masking, there are spaces where the marginalized and neuroqueer can freely be themselves.

When the world fell prey to the pandemic in 2020, Tejaswi and their colleague Revathi, started a series of Instagram lives to discuss the stigmatized and grossly misunderstood oddities and eccentricities of sexuality.

When the conversation pivots back to asexuality, Tejaswi introduces their idea of the 'charms circle.' This circle, Tejaswi says, is where some identities are seen as charmed and desired, like companionship. In their view, sexual relations are ruled by a cis-heteronormative and monogamous predominance. This disallows the current conversation on inclusivity and acceptance to separate intercourse from intimacy.

As each person's expression of sexual interaction varies greatly, this is a highly reductive approach. The conversation nears its close as Tejaswi makes a final and self-reflexive reflection on representation and privilege.

Born into a Savarna Hindu family, Tejaswi remains mindful of their privilege. This can limit one's worldview and, most damagingly, make one intolerant of those who lack the same privileges. A strategy to manage privilege, Tejaswi suggests, is to pass the mic.

Tjejaswi hopes that affirmative action, which attacks casteism, sexism, and other ideologies of inequality and oppression, will become a powerful tool that helps us build a world that offers everyone equal opportunities, regardless of their labels.

As a voracious reader, Tejaswi has often found wisdom, courage, and determination in books. When asked about their recommendations for someone wanting to dive into queer literature, they picked out three books from their library enthusiastically. The first is In The Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado, which won the Folio Prize in 2021 and the 2020 Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Nonfiction. The other two books are autobiographies that focus on the obstacles, trials, and triumphs of two queer personalities: Akkai Padmashali, author of A Small Step in a Long Journey, and A. Revathi, author of The Truth About Me.

They insist that you read them.

In parting words, Tejaswi tells us that one must learn to cultivate acceptance in order to brave heteronormative and cis-dominated power structures. Both queer and neurodivergent, Tejaswi assures us that even this silent battle of self-love can tire the most hostile spaces.

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