Mr Gay World India 2019 Is Reinventing the Gay
Wheel and We Love It
An out and proud corporate warrior for inclusion and diversity Suresh Ramdas has never shied away from venturing outside the metaphorical box and bending norms be it slaying in those red bottom heels or voicing opinions of advocacy for the queer community.
Suresh Ramdas sat down with the Delta team and spilt all the T when it comes to winning the title of MGWI 2019, his love life and of course how he plans on changing the narrative on the way India and (hopefully the world) looks at the queer community.
What are the 5 stereotypes you would like to address right now?
I think the first one would be age. Age does not equate your experience or capabilities. I feel that often especially in the queer community we tend to put people in boxes based on their age and that needs to change.
Another misconception that I connect to personally is that a particular skin tone is more desirable than others. Skin tone is not an indicator of beauty and I am committed to changing this notion.
Lastly but not the least I would like to break stereotypes associated with gender expression. There is a big difference between gender identity and gender expression and it’s time to mainstream such conversations.
Your opinion on dating in the queer community and finding love?
Well, it has definitely entered a new era with the availability of queer specific dating apps such as Delta that cater to the LGBTQ+ community. I feel these platforms act as virtual enablers to better connect with people from the community and subsequently facilitate in-person interactions. My only hope is that we retain some of the charming nuances of “old fashioned” dating as we continue in a world propelled by technology. It is key to embrace people for who they are and not put them in boxes based on labels.
What advice would you give someone considering coming out at the workplace?
The first thing I would say is to come out to yourself and get comfortable with that. Coming out is a journey and not just one life event and hence it is imperative to not rush or force the process. Having said that it is always a great idea to be informed and equip yourself with information on inclusion at your particular workplace or in preparation to imitate such conversations. Coming out is a brave step for anyone and hence take your time and only do it when you are comfortable. In my case, I came out only 10 years post working for a multinational tech giant.
Were you sceptical going in for MGWi 2019? What was going through your mind during the finale? (Apart from working those heels)
I wouldn’t say I was sceptical, I think I was more energized by the environment. My intention was meeting new people and developing an appreciation for each one’s journey. I was highly motivated to make my mark thereby allowing me to make a difference and address some of the misconceptions we spoke of earlier. The finale went by so fast and I remember a few instances wherein I stopped to really take in the amount of energy in the room which propelled me to really be my authentic self.
Representation has taken a refreshing and sexy turn after you won the title of MGWI 2019. What would you like to say to all the men out there that feel they don’t necessarily fit into a “desirable look”?
The best thing that I can tell you is to prioritize yourself. Spend time and energy in growing your talents and exuding your charisma. Society’s opinion of what is aesthetically desirable has changed over the past few decades and it will keep changing. The constant in all of this is you being the most authentic and confident version of yourself. Why fit into the mainstream when you have so much more to offer to the world. They just don’t know it yet. I was often told that my complexion was not desirable. However, as time passed and technology allowed us to connect with many more individuals, this opinion of myself not being good enough vanished.
Tall, dark and very handsome don’t do you justice. What are your thoughts on discrimination based on skin tone within the queer community?
I think it would be naive to deny that skin tone based discrimination does not exist within the queer community however, I see it changing. The fairness cream market is still huge in India and fairer skin tones are still considered desirable or appropriate. The change might not be happening at the rate we would all want it. The presence of apps that bridge geographical borders is really helping the cause. Inclusive apps like Delta, for example, acts as a platform that connects individuals where varied opinions on skin tone don’t matter and are transformed into acceptance and label-less love.
What are the top three things on your bucket list?
- Be the fittest version of myself
- Helping organizations become more inclusive and celebrate diversity
- Go beyond borders to mainstream queer voices and narratives
If you were to look back on your journey, what 3 pieces of advice would you give all the beautiful queer people out there?
- Don’t be too hard on yourself; give yourself the time and opportunity to grow. It’s okay to not have it figured it out just yet
- Learn to love yourself! It is imperative that you embrace the journey of falling in love with yourself. Celebrate yourself for all the things that make you special and unique. Loving yourself will allow you to contribute more to the ecosystem around you
- Give back to the community and spread happiness
Could you describe your preparation for the upcoming Mr Gay World pageant?
In terms of my fitness regiment and my diet as well, it has been incredibly disciplined. I have also been reacquainting myself with all the things that make our Indian queer community unique and amazing. Revisiting all the nuances of our community, the intersectionality and other demographics allow me to represent our country on an international platform. It’s a task I shall carry out to the best of my abilities.