When Ranveer Singh decided to wear a skirt last year for the launch of the song ‘Malhari’ from Bajirao Mastani, he became the talk of the town. At the event, Singh not only wore a dark brown long skirt but also flaunted his dancing skills in the attire. While there was no dearth of swag and confidence as the quirky dresser pulled off the outfit, social media trolls were not happy with his avant-garde dressing style.
Yes, whenever a heterosexual male decides to opt for clothing specified for the other gender, somehow his manliness and orientation are questioned. As far Singh is concerned, his celebrity status and his history with quirky fashion did not let it come down to that, yet, he was trolled.
But what happens if a regular man decides to wear a skirt with a T-shirt? Will he be looked down upon? Will people think of him as a transgender? All these questions were answered when Atul Khera decided to wear a skirt and spent a day doing just about everything he would normally do. From riding on the Delhi Metro to shopping at Connaught Place, he did everything wearing a pink skirt.
However, it was a challenge from a friend that initially forced him to wear the long skirt. He was checking out few skirts with his friend Simran, when he said, “How comfortable long skirts are, but this world will not let me wear it!” His friend instantly asked him to do it, but he refused because he felt that he might be mocking people who cross-dress.
“I refused because I felt the fear of being judged to be a transgender or having some other sexual orientation. I refused because I felt that how I would want to perceive myself to show to the public would not be under my control anymore,” Khera wrote in his blog.
When his friend called him a “hypocrite” and having witnessed the humiliation of an another man who had crossed-dressed he decided to try it himself, how exactly it felt when people constant stare and judge you.
With a lot of fear and apprehension, he finally wore the skirt and realised he was making heads turn. “I getting scanned from up and down was expected. I being laughed at and being pointed at by people was expected. What wasn’t expected was I being confident and a smiling face throughout.”
Amid prejudices, two people also came up to him and complimented him and lauded him for being “gutsy” by wearing “something which challenges the mindsets”. However, Khera feels he was not brave or daring — “A constant thought of not having an eye contact with anyone was always there. It would have taken me guts to look into eyes of people who were scanning me at that time because then I had to confront them without uttering anything. I couldn’t do it.”
He agreed that there was a constant thought running through his mind about what he was wearing and about people scanning and judging him constantly. He concluded that he baffled people and grabbed attention only because he decided to “not follow the stereotypes”.
Though he had earlier cross-dressed at a campus during his Pravah ICS journey, for Active Citizenship Day (ACD) that was themed on sexual orientations, this was a whole new experience, adding “new dimension of perspective”.
“I did not intend to challenge the stereotypes in a society, but I did. I am society. I wanted to prove that I am not a hypocrite.”