“I am a force of nature…”
Superbia supports LGBTQ+ artists by promoting events through its events page and social media, funds LGBTQ+ events with Superbia Grants and by curating original events through collaboration with partners, venues, groups, curators, community members, artists and creatives.
This week, Superbia spoke to Yvy De Luca, a trans advocate and author of ‘Tainted Beauty – The Memoir of an Authentic Creation‘.
As a trans, Indian woman, Yvy also performs as The BollyWitch, incorporating Bollywood dance and the mystic world. She also has a YouTube series called ‘Let’s Talk About Trans’ that delves into a series of trans issues.
Hi Yvy, thanks for joining our Superbia Spotlights series. First of all, how are you and how has your lockdown experience been so far?
Thank you for having me! I’m doing well thanks. Lockdown has been tough to get through, I won’t lie! I’ve really had to train myself to balance my work and my art so that I don’t get too overwhelmed. Working from home makes it difficult to shut off from your day job and can easily affect your mood. I’m still working on it, but things have definitely improved.
What’s important for us all to know about Yvy DeLuca?
That I am a force of nature that will be heard. I have such a passion for representing for South Asian Queers and show that every story is important. In a society that commonly excludes QTIPOC, I intend to make my voice be heard in screams!
Your memoir, Tainted Beauty: The Memoir of an Authentic Creation, is a no-holds-barred look over your life and your experiences as a trans woman of colour, with an incredible opening chapter (no spoilers!). What was it like to put your life down on paper in such a totally honest way?
Thank you! My Mum read that first chapter and was on the phone to me in shock! But I was so determined to tell my story and I said to myself that if I was going to tell it, be completely honest. It was so scary to start off with to write my story, but I wanted to write something that I would have loved to read when I went through my transition over a decade ago. Plus, I wanted to touch on subjects that I seldom see people talking about, especially as a trans woman of colour. My mum may have learnt a little bit too much about what I got up to, but at the end of the day, the reader goes away with more answers than questions, which is exactly what I wanted.
Your performances as The BollyWitch are electrifying. Where did that character come from and what does she represent for you?
Oh, I adore The BollyWitch! I only started performing last year and it came from me wanting to represent my Indian heritage and growing up watching Bollywood movies, I wanted so badly to perform and entertain. Plus, I wanted to be a Bollywood performer with a twist. I wanted to elevate my Bollywood performances to a level nobody expected, and being that I am a practising witch, it was a perfect combination and it’s been wonderful to see The BollyWitch flourish!
Can you tell us more about being a witch?
I’ve been a witch for many years and a lot of people see it as a trivial thing, but to me it’s very real. Being a witch is a conduit to my spirituality and I find peace and balance in practising witchcraft. Of course, witches have often been stereotyped as misunderstood outcasts that people are quick to judge and discriminate, something trans people are no stranger to. I love to cast spells to bring light and positivity into my life. Of course, I love the darker side of being a witch, and being The BollyWitch lets me channel that into my performances in a deliciously sinister way (enter witchy cackle and thunder clap here!)
The movement for trans rights can sometimes feel like two steps forward and one step back. What do you want to see happen in the fight for trans rights? Where do we need to go?
It’s evident that the more visible we become, the more obstacles we face. The fight for trans rights is far from over, but we have a responsibility to speak up if we can. As a trans woman of colour, I get it from all directions, but I’m not afraid to take anybody on and fight for those who need my support. We need to go in a direction where the LGBTQ community lifts up trans people to an equal level and join in the fight. For too long trans people have been pushed down and many forget that it was trans women of colour that started a revolution that led to Pride. We fought for your rights, now it’s time for you to help fight for ours.
At Superbia we champion creativity for LGBT+ people because it gives us a voice and helps shape our identities and ultimately our well-being. Does that ring true for you and your work?
Definitely. Being an author has helped me come to terms with a lot that I went through in the past, and people who have read my book can take from my story to help them navigate through their own lives. As The BollyWitch, I’m able to pour all my creativity and heritage into every performance and come alive in ways I never imagined. I’m also able to share my culture with an audience that may never have been exposed to before. We are all connected; therefore, our stories can inspire others. Now is the time to let go of divisiveness and embrace the beauty in all of us, because trust me, there’s so much beauty in being queer.
Which LGBTQ artists and/or community leaders do you admire?
For me, the ones I admire are the ones that paved the way for the rest of us. Marsha P Johnson, Silvia Rivera, Harvey Milk, Grace Jones, Alan Turing, Lili Elbe, I could go on and on! For me, these people were simply living their lives, trying to make a small difference, not realising the huge impact that their actions were going to make. It shows that you can make a huge difference just by simply being yourself.
What’s coming up next for Yvy De Luca?
Ooooh, you’ll love what I have coming up! I’ve taken full advantage of the lockdown and finished writing my second book! I can’t give anything away at the moment, but I can say that it is a sequel to Tainted Beauty, so get ready to learn even more about my story. You’ll want to read this! I’ll also be performing more as The BollyWitch so make sure you keep an eye on my social media for upcoming shows!