And This Is How I've Learned To Convert Hatred Into An Art Form

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*For representational purpose only.

My name is Patruni Chidananada Sastry, and I am usually known as Patruni or my stage name Sas3.
I am basically from Telangana but 3rd generation to be born and brought up in Kharagpur, West Bengal, but I moved back to Hyderabad in 2013, and it’s been my home since then. I was always an expressive child, and sometimes, my gender expression wouldn’t align with my gender. I first came out as a genderfluid person, and soon I saw I was attracted to multiple genders – sexually, emotionally, and romantically. I didn’t know what it was called.
It was only at 25 years when I realised that I was a pansexual.
Before that, I used to identify myself as bisexual.
Many people are still unclear about the concept of pansexuality; pansexuals are those who are attracted to a person regardless of their gender.
It can sometimes be seen as an extension of bisexuality, although it includes people who have a blind spectrum of gender, xenogender, and other genders. Sometimes people choose the word queer or multisexual as an alternative to pansexual.
I introduced myself to my family as a genderfluid person at 23 and as a pansexual within months.
It took time to accept it; at first, they didn't know what it meant, but they were learning how I feel and what I do little by little. We often have an open door conversation which helps them understand that I feel what I do, and they support me for my happiness.
My first Drag performance was on June 9, 2019, at a cafe called Nirvana.
I was only expecting about 20 people, but over 500 people showed up, and I realised I loved doing it. I always knew that drag was present as gender performative art where we could express our self-aware gender to the audience. It has several styles.
I do something called tranimal drag, where I use the idea of anti-beauty as a way to show and change the idea of visible standards of beauty.
I attended Bangalore Pride, where a wonderful Queen "Rimi Heart" performed. I saw a Tedx video of a British artist "Daniel Lismore" who lives like a work of art. That was when I realised the power of drag. I also learnt about the tranimal and avant-garde forms of drag which compelled me to try it out. However, back then, there were Drag performances in Hyderabad, but I wanted to bring drag into this city. And that’s how I became a Drag Queen – a person who performs as an exaggerated gender, primarily feminine, to entertain the audience.

Although it isn’t a gender identity, people think that Drag Queens are transgender people, which isn’t always true. I may be popular now, but I still get hate comments and even death threats for being who I am! My performances as a drag queen always make people assume my gender. People tend to see only the outward appearance and assume who you are. However, people should know that this is not true. I experienced discrimination from both sides, by heterosexuals and the LGBT+ community. Heterosexuals assume I'm female, abnormal, while the LGBT+ community thinks I am hiding my gayness and calling myself a pan.

I am always motivated by people I admire, and I seek inspiration from leaders who have lived my journey.
Some important people who taught me to be tough were people like transactivist Vyjayanti Vasanta Mogli, my queer family members like Anil and Sandy, and needless to say, my parents and my partner Rajeswari. I learned how to deal with hate by addressing the root cause of hatred towards me to how it is told.

Queer people have received a lot of hate for their existence because our upbringing, politics and society have made no effort to include and normalise us. So we receive hate. What I do is take that hate, add my art to it, and throw the causes into society and how to deal with it through art. It is not even compulsory to come out, everyone has their way of approaching their sexuality and gender, and everything is valid. I would say, take your time.

Whenever you look at yourself in a mirror, tell yourself that you are beautiful, proud and be yourself.

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