The #TransformationTuesday hashtag on Instagram is usually where you’d find people celebrating their workout routines, or sporting new haircuts. But as of last month, non-binary Indian drag performer Abhijeet has taken over the hashtag with a very unique photo project.
The now-complete project features a drag tribute to 12 very recognisable Indian or Indian-origin women and femmes who have made a mark in film, science, politics, history and more.
The idea came to them from Pakistani-Canadian artist Maria Qamar, whose #BadBeti tag took the internet by storm last October, with photography and art work on things that “good” “chaste” “obedient” South Asian daughters aren’t supposed to do.
Speaking about the impression Bad Beti had on them, Abhijeet told Cake over email: “It gave South Asian girls and femmes a something to relate to collectively and use to redefine themselves and their social media presence.”
For Abhijeet, currently based in Chicago, many of these were figures they had grown up with, and were the source for their femininity. And the tribute is as fierce as all of the figures in it. So without further ado, here’s the entire series straight from Instagram!
Oh, and we couldn’t leave out this bonus awesomeness!
Both the photos and the impassioned captions that accompany them have earned Abhijeet a lot of positive attention from many queer desis on Instagram. And it ain’t for nothing. “I worked super closely with my collaborator Dash to compile a list that was both accurate and inclusive of various crossovers and intersections.”
An active part of the drag scene in Chicago, Abhijeet has also been pushing a number of boundaries in drag and ball culture, by emphasising their racial and cultural identity in a space that can be (and often is) very white. Which is why they have further plans for #BadBeti.
“I’m also in the process of developing this into a nightlife event,” they said, “to celebrate South Asian queerness and femininity.”
And we hope when that happens, they flood our Instagram feeds some more!
Would you like to see another inspiring South Asian woman or femme in Abhijeet’s project? Well, they’re taking requests now! Head here to tell them.