Aishwarya Ayushmaan: ‘Being queer can be an alienating experience’ | Web Series - Hindustan Times

Lushmonsoon aka Aishwarya Ayushmaan: ‘Being queer can be an alienating experience’

Nov 17, 2023 05:21 AM IST

Human rights' lawyer and drag performer Aishwarya Ayushmaan, also known as Lushmonsoon, talks about Rainbow Rishta.

Aishwarya Ayushmaan, also known as Lushmonsoon, features in one of the six love stories in Prime Video's new documentary series Rainbow Rishta. In an exclusive chat with Hindustan Times, the human rights' lawyer and drag performer talks about their process of coming out of the closet to their parents, the experience of the documentary, and much more. (Also read: Rainbow Rishta trailer: Trinetra Haldar, Aishwarya Ayushmaan's new docu-series celebrates 6 queer love stories. Watch)

Lushmonsoon in a still from Rainbow Rishta.
Lushmonsoon in a still from Rainbow Rishta.

Asked about their views on Sushmita Sen's casting in Taali--the story of transgender activist Gauri Sawant--Ayushmaan said, “Till the day all trans women can play cis women and all cis women can play transgender, this debate is lopsided.”

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'Being queer can be alienating experience'

They also shared how being queer can be an alienating experience. “Being queer is alienating experience. Especially if you do not have empathetic people around you. I was lucky to have empathetic people around me. I even had non-queer people around me who were very empathetic. Anyone in need of support should seek at least one person. You cannot set out to make the entire world happy. If you can convince one person, that is where your journey begins. First of all, admitting to yourself is not an easy task. I am still asking myself about my gender.”

Rainbow Rishta allowed us to show our happy side

Talking about the reason for their invovlement in the show, Ayushmaan said, “As Daniella Mendonca says in opening montage of the show, we never heard our own stories in this manner, so we want to tell our own stories. And, tell our stories in our own way. When I got this show, I had not come out of the closet to my parents. I had the rebellion, that urge to show my real self to the world. That made me say yes to the show, and that also made me open up my house and everything else in my life to the camera.”

Ayushmaan added, “We have already talked about the trauma in our lives on so many platforms. All the invitations we get, even for TED talks, are for sharing our strugggles and trauma. That is why this show was fresh change - it was not just about the trauma. The show enabled us to talk about what makes us happy. My friends make me happy, my drag sisters make me so happy. My art makes me happy and this show allowed us to just show that. People need to see there is a positive side to our lives.”

Coming out to mom

They added that it was only after they completed working on Rainbow Rishta that they came out to their mom. “On one end, I was struggling to show my real side to my parents. Whenever they came to Delhi, I had to hide my drag stuff and declutter my entire cupboard. How long can I compartmentalise life? They love me so much but then I also used to think ‘is the love for me as a person or is it for the version they want?’ At the same time, this situation also does not allow me to put myself totally out in the world. You always have the fear that your parents do not know, what if they come to know about it? The human need to be seen propelled me. I eventually came out to my mom earlier this year, after the show. I think it was because of this show that I could gather the courage.”

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