Non-Binary Narrative: An interview with Anushka Datta

We got an opportunity to interview this uber talented and thoughtful musician from Delhi, who identifies as Non-Binary. One look at their Instagram page, and you’d know they are pretty cool. Their story – their journey is insightful and the first in our series of Non-Binary narratives.

Q. You identify as Non-Binary. Could you please explain what that means?

To me, personally, the label ‘non-binary’ is an umbrella of all the labels that people who don’t identify with the binary [male/female] genders use.

Q. What are your pronouns?

I identify as non-binary, and my pronouns are they/them.

Q. You were assigned male at birth. So you don’t identify that way?

I was born female, but I’ve never felt like a girl for even a day. My mom used to try to put me in dresses when I was a child and I used to hate it. For the past 17 years of my life, I’ve felt that there was something wrong with my gender. Although being called a girl made me dysphoric, I never thought of myself as a boy either. So, I identify as neither male nor female.

Q. What happens when people misgender you? How do you navigate that?

Being misgendered sometimes leads to me feeling gender dysphoric. However, if it’s a genuine mistake, I understand. It took me a while to know/understand what ‘non-binary’ means, so I can’t really expect people to grasp it in a day. But I do tell them that there’s more than just two genders.

Q. How long have you known this about yourself?

I have always known that I am not a girl. But because this gender identity (non-binary) is not much spoken about, I thought I was a trans boy. I even talked to one of my friends about how mainstream media or people in general mostly say that there are just two genders. That’s what we are taught in school as well. So naturally, if I didn’t feel like a girl, I assumed that I am a trans boy. Then I came across this YouTuber, Miles McKenna, who identifies as trans non-binary. His channel is really informative about sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression and how they have nothing to do with each other. And from his channel, I came across other non-binary YouTubers. Coming to terms with my gender identity was a long process. I had frequent breakdowns because I thought nobody would understand the fact that I identify with neither gender. So, one day, I had a break down in the middle of my political science class and the teacher sent me to talk to the school counsellor. I went and talked to my psychology teacher instead because she was the only teacher in school who I knew was supportive of the LGBT community. I told her how I didn’t feel like I was a girl and how I hated being called a girl, but I didn’t think of myself to be a boy as well. I told her that I’m comfortable with they/them pronouns only. It was very surprising to see that she understood and accepted every single thing I said. She said that she’d use the pronouns that I am comfortable with. That’s when I sort of started getting comfortable with my gender identity.

Q. Do your parents support you?

My parents are very supportive and I’m really grateful that they are. They have never, even once, said anything homophobic in front of me or to me.

Q. Tell us about your gender identity.

As I said before, in my opinion, the label ‘non-binary’ is an umbrella of all the labels that people who don’t identify with the binary genders use. I, personally, don’t feel that I have a gender. I just don’t feel it. So, I’m agender?

Q. Are you open to dating cis-gendered people?

I am open to dating anyone who identifies as female, including cisgendered women.

Q. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

If I could wake up with one ability, it would be to write better lyrics for my songs. Although I feel like I’ve improved a lot in the past few years, my lyrics still sound like shit to me.

Words by Anushka Datta

Anushka Datta is a 17-year-old Non-Binary person from Delhi. They are a musician and have been playing the guitar for 7 years. You can reach them @ Instagram/zombieinmybackyard. 

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