fire slogans and rainbow poems

Its not the first time they are chasing me down, hands full of stones.
It wont be the last I am pelted at and called names.

My house has been burnt before and I have sat in its ashes. Equally burnt and devastated. I have gathered that powder, mixed it with my blood, forming an ink thick enough to write fire slogans and rainbow poems.

And I’m prepared to do it all over, until the day…

When a mother no longer flinches at the idea of her boy bringing home a boyfriend.

When a girl is not raped in the name of curing her homosexuality. There’s no cure, because there’s no disease.

When queer people of my county are no longer treated as second grade citizens on the roads, in the metros and in the places they once called “home” and can feel safe again.

When they wake up to the truth that there is never any honour in a killing.

When transgenders are respected also on the days other than weddings and baby showers.

When human rights also means rights of LGBTQ.

When hijda, chhakka and kinnar aren’t ġaalis, and aren’t the meat our “just” society feeds on to feel full of righteousness.

When of course there is no need for anyone to write poems like these.

But until then

I have enough blood in my veins. Enough strength to sit in ashes. Enough heart to make an ink thick enough to write fire slogans and rainbow poems.

– Amy Singh

(Scenes from the pride walk and poem to stand in solidarity with some really happy, funny, queer and zinda dil humans)

 

 

I’m not letting this guy take you away from me

Anonymous

Life had been easy otherwise except for this. Every LGBT person goes through it, called the self-acceptance phase. For me, it came too early, but I waited for very very long to decide if I’m ready to put this acceptance to test, with my close ones. Once I was done deciding, it became the easiest thing on Earth. Why? Because, I realized that what I want is impossible; come on! you can’t expect universal acceptance. Whatever you do, you cannot please everyone. Same goes for coming out. I knew not everyone will take it in a good way, but I was in for a surprise.

I knew I’m into guys since I started to have feelings. Still the first time I came out to someone was when I was 20 years old. The journey of a 1000 miles can be covered in one step if one realizes that it’s not unnatural to be attracted to the same sex and its Ok to be bisexual. Took me a lot of courage to come out to someone. It was this random conversation with my group of friends where I dropped a bomb by saying that “when I like someone, their gender isn’t important to me”. Naturally they were full of questions “this can be cured, try thinking ‘straight’ for sometime”, and “are you sure? you might be overthinking” it just tells there’s some explaining to do (of course you’ve to be sure first). I answered all their questions they came and that was how I came out to my friends.

 

 

Guess if someone loves you, it should be unconditional. Else coming out is a good friendship test 😉

 

 

 
This was easy. The difficult part was coming out to my sister (still not out to my parents). I was going out on a date with my boyfriend and my sister asked me how this guy I recently met had become so important to me. I told her that it’s not just some guy, it’s MY guy. She gave a look of utter shock, but then said, ‘I’m not letting this guy take you away from me’.🙈 She has been a great support since, and will help me when I am ready to come out to my parents.

 

 

sharmaji ka ladka gay hai!

Uday Sharma

From: Delhi/Shimla

Currently: Bangalore

I am 29, born and brought up in a somewhat conservative upper-middle class family in Delhi where I spent the first 23 years of my life. All my immediate cousins are girls including a feisty younger sister. And to say they helped me in coming out would be huge understatement.

While growing up I hated sports (except badminton), excelled in academics,  enjoyed painting or anything creative, was a recluse and loved to debate!  I was one of those titular “sharmaji ka ladka” the ones FB memes so conveniently mock at! (and very deservedly, such fistulas these sharma kids can be).

It was 2003 when the whole sexual identity crisis happened, how will I ever make love to a girl, falling in and out of love with that straight school best friend, and then that college best friend.  Enough! I said, met a guy for the first time in 2009, and the first gay dude I meet ends up being my partner for next 2 years. I was all of 23, young and naive.  The little women in my life (read siblings) were the founding rock of my support! They knew somehow and one fine day the eldest asked me – if I wanted to tell her something! I grabbed that opportunity and told her..Didi..I think I am gay. The conversation started at midnight and went till 5 am next morning. She heard me out. Every bit of it. It was a relief to let someone know that I am gay, and not be judged upon that.

Next was my mother’s turn! My mom was brought up in a very conservative household in Shimla, she could not even finish her graduation and took life as it comes. We Himachalis are from primarily Hindi speaking belt, life is simple and grounded. Calm and quiet. So, I was quiet anxious about how my dad and mom would react if I tell them am gay!  I decided to take my Mom into confidence first ( also as suggested by my strong supportive cousins). One thing I knew that my mother was always sensitized towards this marginalized section and did not bear any sort of prejudices.  That  was my cue to kick off the Talk! I also learnt one thing, how much we underestimate our mothers!

So one fine day, I ask her to sit down and start off by saying that “mummy, mujhe kuch batana thaa”

My mom sensed something is wrong, she sat quietly with her mouth wide open and almost shivering. Maybe somewhere she had an idea what was coming her way. I explained it to her in the most easiest analogy– left handed and right handed ( my mom by the way is left handed)-I am left handed in my sexual orientation i.e. gay  but it is normal, nothing is wrong, just that I will settle down with a boy..the same one who comes and meets me every weekend , here I was trying to tell her about my then partner whom I was seeing. She listened to all that I had to say for like next 3 hours,  I was shivering too!

Ofcourse…. she cried, asked me if it could be changed, or possibly a phase, visit a psychologist. But not once, not even once she disapproved or felt anguished or displayed even a sign of disgust. I guess she cried her heart out that day itself and made a conscious decision to not let me feel small or bad about the fact am gay…not even once, it’s been 7 years since I told her, my mother –not  even a graduate, hardly educated but her unconditional acceptance and love has only made me realise this fact that ignorance and education are mutually exclusive to each other. How grossly we underestimate our mothers..I realized that day.

Things were not that easy with my father when I decided to let him know a year later as I had started earning and was financially independent. There was a showdown with him and it compensated for the drama I was subconsciously craving for. Even with my Dad one crucial thing I realized, his opposition was not to the fact that I am gay, but to the fact I want to beat my drum about it! In my haste to “come out” and make them accept me for who I am I forgot how equally difficult it is for them as well. This is one common mistake we do while coming out and that is forcing our sexuality down our parent’s throat. It has to be done step by step. I was in a hurry to make him comfortable for who I was without understanding where his doubts were stemming from.  I was the Head Boy of my school, I aced my exams, has been an obedient son, never raised my voice, was home by 9 pm, hardly got into any shenanigans, the one who toed the line. Always.  These were my hopeless arguments with my father  that day on how my sexuality should not be of any concern or worry to him…at all! I am responsible and so he should be! In introspect it all sounds so silly now. My father was ready to accept my homosexuality if I was ready to accept his homophobia. But some start was necessary.

So rules were laid-

1) Don’t bring guys home,

2) No need to tell everyone that you are gay not until your sister is settled, 

3) if you want to meet your partner you are free to meet him but not in home, 

and he asked me for for 5 years to become adequately comfortable or reconcile with the fact that I am gay…”so when you turn 28/29 you may live with whomever you want to.”  It was a fair deal. My father never interfered with my personal after that conversation. We both held to our end of the bargain. I was 23 then.

On 31st Dec 2015 I was in Delhi…and planning to attend a friend’s house party.., I told my Dad that there’s a get-together  on 31st night  and I will be late….He very hesitantly asked if it is at any of my engineering buddies place and I very calmly told him that no papa, it is at a gay friend’s place. I have many great gay friends in Delhi as well as Bangalore, he kept quiet and asked again…”who are these friends??, are they from good backgrounds ( read academic) , hope no trouble?…and will you come back home or sleepover??….sleeping over their place will be uncomfortable no..ghar hi aajaio…or let us know ,we won’t wait..”  I almost chuckled .. That’s all…My dad had finally come in terms with my sexuality! My mom instantly intervened and said “we just want you to be safe and not get into any trouble. That’s why papa is asking these things, if you are not coming, just let us know”…that night I did not come home, my dad called me thrice to confirm…I still laugh about it..That moment I realized if I were straight and out with a girl…they still would have asked me the same questions.

I am Uday Sharma, 29, completely out to my family, selectively out to my friends and work peers. I believe coming out should not just be liberating for you but also to your parents and friends and family. There’s no hurry to come out, take your time and space. It should be your time and your moment. Sometimes the people we expect the least from, surprise us the most!

Tears of exasperation by an effeminate are crushed

There’s someone who does not fear to own up to her trans identity. She is a young and beautiful 20-year-old renowned poet, and a Radio Jockey from Bangalore, Shilok Mukkati.

Her mantra:

“Explore your body and mind, see yourself intensely. It should be that intense that you should find your spirit burning like a sun. As you see yourself, now you are ready to fly away. Fly.”  -Shilok

This is a her first poem which beautifully capturing the duality of her existence , the challenges from the society & family and he hope for tomorrow.

Kinnaras of the Dark World

Look at us, born as sluts,
BEARING heats of the embargo,
a girl [is] rushed by The tears of
compassion,
The tears of exasperation by an effeminate are crushed.

My mother loves me, but never understands me.
As for my Father, I am not the one he wanted.
We are ghastly Speech For the siblings,
Forget the relatives, it’s a Far Speech at all.

My CHILDHOOD was drenched by the rain of molestation,
Hush …! They zipped My Mouth, never opened My abduction,
Here comes the Lover in My sixteens,
But for him it’s only the lust, not love.

Never told the Reality of molestations, exploitations,
Even If I tell, Who’s there to listen to My oppression?
I was chased by the nightmares of shame and abandon,
My Bed is wet with the tears and Blood.

NAMES many do not have even the Gods,
But We Labelled as such it blows are our NAMES,
like The Bloody leeches sucked do have labels,
The labels are as swallowed and curl We do Pythons.

Noose, Bottles of poisons, Pond and Well,
as days rolled as Welcomes Well,
But the Fire is burning in the Heart of femininity,
there is no fault Why should We WHEN die?

Bones in the roasting prison of manly,
womanly I’m burning the Soul,
In the world of Darkness,
Shining With the crown of tears,
I’m the lightening power who rules the hurdles DAWN & dusk.

Neither the masculine sea of dropping seeds,
NOR giving the feminine nature breathes,
I’m Them between the space and peace,
I’m the Guardian Angel of the genderless GENDER hum …

Kinnars as the pages of the Vedas called us,
We are the TWO spirited people the Seas Over,
The Revolution has Come of Kali rushing by,
hear the roaring awaited battle of Equality.

You so called nature’s dear Homo sapiens,
the erroneous JUSTIFICATION To Flood of You,
the stereotypes of hierarchy To Blood & patriarchy,
Real Humanity is … We have Come To teach what.

For the realisation and Recognition & dignity of our existence,
We are Here, The Kinnaras of the dark world

– SHILOK MUKKATI

When you try to ‘fit’ in, you will disappear.

Himanshu Singh

Mumbai

The one thing that I learned from Harry Potter saga is that nobody should ever live in a closet. Tetris taught me that when you try to ‘fit’ in, you will disappear.

I am much more than my sexuality. My close friends would know me as a writer. Childhood friends would know me as a painter. IIMK friends would know me as a pathetic actor and as an amateur photographer. I am an ambitious soul who yearn to learn. I aspire to become a great pianist someday. How does my sexuality define me as an individual? But it is certainly one of the most fundamental part of my being. My sexuality is not a phase, it never was. It is not a disease, it is not a mental disability, it is not a choice, and definitely not a disgrace. I was born this way. I realized it when I was 14. It is so saddening to say that I had to strive for normalcy to be in societal norms all these years. It smothered me for quite a long time. Why do people advice to tell it to only those who matter? Why it has to be hushed and shushed?

People reading this post would ask – Does it matter to anyone? Why do I need to shout the truth aloud? Does it change anything? Probably! If I lose friends, family and my loved ones over this, it is important to me. If this post could give courage to others, this is important to them. I don’t expect support as much as I expect respect as a human being.
There are so many people out there who are still struggling to come out. I just want to give a message that you are not alone and I am with you. Somehow the below lines inspired me to come out –

“We don’t have to be ordinary, Make your best mistakes,
‘Cause we don’t have the time to be sorry, be the life of the party!
I’m telling you to take your shot it might be scary, Hearts are gonna break,
But we don’t have the time to be sorry, so baby be the life of the party!”

Right now my brain is going 2 million miles per hour. From internal turmoil to acceptance. Describing them in words is not easy. This is the strongest decision of my life. My hands are little cold but the heart is confident. A new man is born today. Life will never be the same from now on. And I am going to love it anyway.

Not everyone was privileged enough to be a Mathew’s (my Humanities teacher in IIMK) student. Do not make wrong assumptions, notions. Have an educated view. Ask honest questions. Respect Individuality.

REMEMBER – Your assumptions, lack of knowledge, ignorance and phobias are killing your closeted friends. Everyday!
I am so grateful to my parents, my brother, close friends and flatmates who supported me immensely on this.

Special Note: Dear LGBTQ fellows, if you are facing any kind of challenge or need any guidance, please feel free to reach out to me. Call me on (+91-8447798932) or email me (himanshu.singh087@gmail.com), if you think that I may be of some help. You have got only one life. Live it well. Play it well. Don’t be afraid of anything or anyone.

You sure about being gay, right?

Introduction:
Mr Bildungsroman
30/Male/Gay/Single
While I’ve known that I’m gay for the longest time, I have, like many gay men in India,  gone through my fair share of  – self-doubt, fervent prayers that I wake up straight, self-loathing, self-conversion, having girl-friends, heart aches, trying to fit myself into the ‘Straight-acting’ macho-culture mode, been a ‘loner’, being in denial, avoiding, etc, of being ‘gay’.
Tintin – Best friend of over 20 years.. Came ‘Out’ to him a coupla weeks ago.. Listener / Reader /  Insightful / Car Lover / Perceptive.. He is happily married to Bangles, his wonderful wife..
——————————————————————————————————————
Backstory: A week after I came ‘OUT’ to Tintin, we had a conversation as follows.

Tintin: Did we really have that conversation or was I dreaming?
Mr Bildungsroman: What about?
Tintin: The conversation we had by the seashore..
Mr Bildungsroman: Yeah we did have the conversation,why would you be dreaming about it?

Tintin: Just checking
Mr Bildungsroman: HahaTintin:Being honest, its gonna take a bit to sink in
Mr Bildungsroman: Haha.. Don’t worry Tintin.. You have a gay best friend alright 🙂
Tintin: Have to ask this question as it seems mandatory. No more after that, and it becomes something that is just stated
Mr Bildungsroman: Go ahead
Tintin: You sure about being gay, right?
Mr Bildungsroman:  Absolutely sure.. This is not a passing phase..
Tintin: Ok Good.. That’s settled, then..
Tintin: I got a guy best friend
Tintin: I mean, I got a gay best friend.. This stupid auto-correct
Tintin: Hmmm.. Seems cool thing to say
Mr Bildungsroman: Haha.. Yeah, I am always happy to have dialogue.
Mr Bildungsroman: Its funny, many people when you first tell them, begin to freeze (despite knowing you for a long time); and  don’t know what to talk to you thereafter..
Tintin: Well, its a topic where people wouldn’t know what to say
Mr Bildungsroman: Like, death? 🙂
Tintin: That’s strong.. But, yes
Mr Bildungsroman:  True.. I understand that people want to show support discreetly, but don’t know how to..
Tintin: Sometimes, it’s fair enough.. cause, the person whose life we’re talking about might want to keep it discreet..
Mr Bildungsroman: True that.. But don’t act to the point that it doesn’t exist !!
Tintin: But I find it hard to figure out how one can support discreetly.. Either you support, or you don’t..
Tintin: and if someone’s trying to support, but not show support..  then probably, deep within they don’t/aren’t ready to support yet
Mr Bildungsroman: Many gay men are discreet about their sexuality, but they seek the support of their loved ones always
Tintin: Support should be given unconditionally and without a doubt.. Cause, if you’re family and close friends ain’t gonna give support, then who will?
Tintin: I agree you can’t ask your loved ones to fight for you.. But atleast, they shouldn’t be the ones you also have to fight with!!
Mr Bildungsroman: Hmmmm.. Very true

Tintin: You know, I was just having this conversation with Bangles this afternoon about what you were telling me the other day.. I was explaining to Bangles about the difference between gays, transgender, and other alternate sexualities..
Tintin: I realized how strongly I felt defensive about it.. Its probably when you have someone close to you that’s of alternate sexuality, that you begin to start feeling strongly about it..
Tintin: Although, I think, ‘gay’, is probably the limit that I could deal with (at the moment). Anything beyond will take a lot!!
Mr Bildungsroman: Yes, awareness is the need of the day.

_______________________________________________________________________

It was so refreshing to hear that from my oldest best friend.. Good to feel blessed.. Gratitude !!