I am deaf, gay and proud!

Anonymous

I was born as a child who could hear perfectly. When I was an infant, I had high fever that damaged the inner ear so I became profound deaf. My parents did not give up hope. They encouraged me to be like any other child, communicating with the world where we live. My mother found a good school in Bombay where they teach deaf children through lip reading and provide speech therapy . I shifted to Mumbai for the same and started living  my maternal grandparents. It was very heart wrenching for them to part with me especially at young age. I was just 2 years of age when I moved to Mumbai. My aaji (grandmother ) left her job and took care of me with love. My grandparents pampered me, loved me, disciplined me. They taught me the value of culture, tradition and life. I am so lucky to have such grandparents.

Being deaf was hard for me. I had to face the society everyday but was lucky that I had a lot of friends who could hear and acted like my interpreter. During 80’s and 90’s, when I grew up, there were no english subtitles on TV at all – nowadays, it is there only on English movies. My mother never lost hope, she always would interpret for me in the theatre and I would understand using lip reading. At that time, I never learnt sign language. So we all used to communicate using lip reading yet there were times, I felt left out – I could not understand what was being said. Though I did not blame my family, relatives. It was unfair to expect them to look at my face, all the time for lip reading. That I understand but yet I was angry. I did not like to miss out.

During school and college, my parents always paid for a private tutor and they taught me one to one. Hence I was totally focused on my studies. My father often pushes me to communicate or talk to bus conductor, hawkers, to anyone in public! Most of the time, they did not understand and laughed at me for my funny voice. I was very embarrassed and very angry at my father for not rescuing me. But now I understood why he did, he did so on purpose to boost my ability, confidence to face anyone anywhere. For that I am very grateful to father as well as my mother.

I always knew that I am gay as long as I remember. I thought it was abnormal to stare at men. I wanted to confide to someone but being deaf it was not easy. I came to know about GayBombay meeting online. At first, I was scared to go there to meet strangers. There is always a communication barrier. I really could not ask any of my hearing straight friends to join me.. no way! One day, I gathered some courage and went to meeting in Bandra, Bombay where I met Ashok Ravi, Dr. Ramchandra, Umang Seth etc. Suddenly I felt so comfortable to be in the group. They did not seem bothered with the fact that I was deaf. I started talking to them and surprisingly they understood what I said. I was really happy. Then there was this guy who said that my smile was beautiful. That compliment made my day. I was on cloud nine. I was happy being gay and realized that I was like anyone else.
Yet, I could not reveal my identity to my parents or anyone in family. I was very scared. I left India and went to Canada to pursue Chef training where I was exposed to gay culture there. It was beautiful. I could not believe that they had gay bar, gay disco etc. Also I met so many queer people with disability that changed my life and I felt the confidence to tell my parents.
It was also during that time that my parents asked me to get married. I refused a few times but I started feeling pressurized.  So I decided to come out of closet. I came to India to talk to them.  My maushi  (aunty) recieved me at the airport. While going to her house, she said that she has come to know about me. I was taken aback and asked what did she mean.  She said that she knew that I was gay a long time ago and it was okay. I cried and hugged her tight. Then she suggested that I should not tell my mother about being gay as it may not be easy for her.

However, I did not feel like holding myself and came to Kerala to confront mother and sister. When I told them, my mother was really shocked and cried while my sister calmly supported me. My mother shouted me and asked me to promise that I would not tell my father as it might kill him with shock. I heeded and kept my promise. My mother was not ready to accept me so I went back to Canada and we both did not talk for two years. Meanwhile, she emailed me asking me not to come to near my nephew. I was furious and I blasted her that told her not to consider me as her son. That left her shocked. After a few months, my mother apologized for what she had done.  I told her that I still loved her and she said that she said that she still  loves me a lot. Much more than before!!!! She accepted me for who I am! But sadly, my father does not know about me and one day I hope to tell him.

Today, I am very proud that I am deaf and gay. I always look out for people who are similar to me. I tend to give them confidence and tell them my story. I do not want them to follow my path exactly but hope that my story gives them confidence to go beyond their boundaries.

 

Reblogged from : https://disabilitydiariesblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/29/taking-pride-deaf-and-gay/

It did sanctify which team I played for

Koel Chakraborty

I believe coming out is a lifelong process. You may come out to your friends and family once, but you are never quite done with coming out to the rest of the world (N.B. I speak for people who’d rather come out than be oddly mistaken for ‘the straight girl that hasn’t found the right guy’). I believe that is one hefty price to pay for occasionally choosing to network outside your known boundaries.

For me, fortunately, the process of self-discovery was very organic. I guess I always knew. I do not have any conscious memory of ever having sexual feelings for any men. On the other hand, I could recall obsessing over countless women (both reel and real) throughout my entire adolescent life. The first mortal kiss was at 13 (to be honest I was surprised it took me that long); albeit unforthcoming, it did sanctify which team I played for ☺

School was definitely the highlight of my teenage years, for good reasons and bad. I am alluding to the bevy of beauties when I say ‘good’. The bad part was – most of our teachers were bullies and it wasn’t really a safe space for anyone who’s questioning their sexuality. Aside from getting a lot of attention from girls, I invited some teachers’ wrath as well. I remember vividly, someone from senior class vehemently crafted a dodgy story about how some of us tomboys (an overtly popular term back in the day) were always running after girls, thereby corrupting the moral of the school. What followed was an unscrupulous profiling and witch hunt for days together. I was identified as one of the miscreants and therefore asked to ‘behave’. Instead of broaching the critical issues of gender and sexual orientation tactfully, they chose to ignore the big elephant in the room. The school principal took it up a notch; she called the entire school and took us all through a morbidly long lecture about how ‘science’ denounces the idea of ‘homosexuality’ and homosexual people are nothing but ‘an unnatural order’ – the usual trope. A lot of these girls who experienced this backlash went back to pursuing the ‘lesser evil’ – that of a full-fledged hetero-normative life.  

By the time I was in high school, I knew I was a distinguished member of the minority. It’s easy to figure that out when everyone else in your class is gleefully talking about ‘boys’ and you are the only one reading Sara Waters or mulling over classics such as Sophie B Hawkins’ ‘Damn I wish I was your lover’, Linda Perry’s ‘What’s going on’, K. D. Lang’s ‘Constant Craving’ or contemplating refuge in the alternate universe of The L Word, or even Shakira’s hip snaps. Music was my sacred space and it got me through puberty, heartbreaks and college.

Upon finishing college, I decided to move out of my parent’s house and move in with my girlfriend at the time who was living in a different city. I wasn’t out to my family up until then. When I told them my plan, they were terribly upset; my father was infuriated and my mom just sat there and cried. I was at my wit’s end, I didn’t know if they were upset that I was leaving home or if it was the revelation that I was in a relationship with a woman. Or may be it was both. It’s been a few years; my parents have since accepted my reality. But ‘queer’ words are still off limits.  

‘Coming out as who we are’ is not just personal, it has political implications as well. It is an act of solidarity that helps us reclaim our space in the dominant hetero-patriarchal narrative, making sure our identities are acknowledged and validated across the board. By remaining silent, we’re indirectly perpetuating the delusion that ‘hiding’ is a far safer choice for our emotional well-being. We also have a fundamental obligation to all those who are less privileged, who cannot contemplate ‘coming out’ as a viable option as they do not see enough of queer folks around them. Twenty years from now, I would imagine kids would have an easier time at school, not feeling like they are a minority. Sounds largely optimistic. But what do we have to lose?

This boy comes out every day!

Avinash Matta

Hyderabad

Image may contain: 1 person, beard

In the middle of a summer night, a ten year old boy,
whispered into his sister’s ears, a confession very shy!
“I think I am a homosexual. I like boys”, said he.
“Oh no! Stop thinking and it will go away”, assured she.

Ten years passed by but the boy couldn’t stop,
His sexuality was not a habit he could drop.
So he scribbled it on a paper and passed it down
to his colleague who couldn’t help but frown.
The paper soon transformed into a suicide note
and his parents were too frozen to even emote.
Melted tears and dreary dis approvals later,
they joined hands in a reverent prayer.
But even the Gods couldn’t help him change
and his parents gave it up as something strange.

As global warming melted the polar ice caps,
and queer themes became common on mobile apps,
the mother gradually warmed up to her son.
On Diwali, amidst much fanfare and fun,
she asked him if he had a boyfriend as such?
Not having faced luck with dating much,
the son replied with a gentle ‘not yet’
but the sky above turned a deep violet,
the stars and the moon shone with a celebration,
the sun of his sadness had set, crackers burst out in a constellation.
The wings of acceptance soared like a rocket,
love was in the corner, melting like dark chocolate.

But that’s not the end of this coming out story,
For this poet wants more than applause and glory,
And coming out is not an event but a process,
so many people who need to know, you can’t even guess!
Like yesterday, the boy came out to his boss
who congratulated his bravery with an applause.
Then, he confessed to his client over a cup of tea
“I always knew it”, she said with a twinkle of glee
Today, he came out to his trainer at the gym
who also came out to the poet on a whim.

And thus, the boy comes out every day
with a ryhming poem or any other way.
The Gods seem to be much kinder now
for the boy gets acceptance at every bow!

 

-Avinash Matta

I will not marry

Suresh Ramdas

Bangalore

To Myself:

I figured out that I was different from the other boys during schooling days.  I was fighting these feelings that I had for guys. Scared that these feelings don’t come out in the open. This confusion continued all the way to college. But it was during my 2nd year of graduation I realized who I really was. I realized that my attraction towards boys was real, until then I thought it was a phase.

Thanks to internet, I was able to figure that I wasn’t the only one in this world who was having an attraction for guys. I met some guys from chat (17 years back it was called mirc chat). I explored my sexuality quite well during those years. I even tried dating girls to see if all this is a scam in my head. Even after all this, I was still not remotely thinking of saying that I AM GAY. Then one evening during my conversations with one of the guys over coffee is when I felt that I was gay. Later walking back to my hostel room, I said that to myself, “I AM GAY”. I felt good about myself. Never understood the impact of saying that then, but I so strongly feel that now and am glad that I said that to myself.

 

Coming Out to My Best Friends:

college friend

During my second year of college, I got introduced to a guy who was full of fun, loves bikes and a traveler. During the initial days, we used to hang around, chill out after college and have a good time. One day, something happened for which I was there when he needed someone to support him and ever since we have been best buddies.

After I got comfortable with myself, I wanted to let him know. I was not sure how he will react. I was scared of losing this amazing friendship. I battled this around a lot in my head and finally decided to come out to him. After our classes got over, we met at our regular hang out place and asked him to drop me to my hostel room. While we were on the way, my heartbeats never sped that fast.  I told him that I have very important and personal thing to say. He kept a straight face thinking that it’s a new crush of mine at college that I wanted to tell him. (I faked having crushes on girls during college so that my friends think I’m straight).

After a deep breath, I told him I was gay. He was indeed surprised as I could see that on his face and he didn’t speak. Then something in my head told me to tell him that it’s ok for him to not be my friend after this and I will respect that. I

Suresh with his bestie

also told him that it was really nice knowing you and please keep this with him. I rattled all of this and didn’t wait for him to respond. I just left for my room. The coming days I avoided to have a conversation with him. After classes I just went back to my room. After 3 days, I remember, he barged into my room. He then said which I still remember very clearly, I don’t care who you like, but never ever again say that we will not be friends. I was clearly taken aback. He seemed hurt and sad by the fact that I told him to end the friendship. He explained to me as well, that everyone have their choices, like some guys like skinny girls or girls who have more flesh or girls with long hair or big boobs and all. We don’t break friendships with people who like different things. What if you like a guy? I’m fine with that. Those last words just melted me and I fell in love with him for accepting me who I am. He later hugged me and held me for a while longer than usual. That hug was the hug of acceptance, love, respect and everlasting friendship.

colleagues

My colleagues at work with whom I joined and we became friends. During my working days, I was pretty much gay during the weekends and in weekdays, I constantly made sure that I hid my gayness thinking it shouldn’t affect my career. I was living a dual life which was frustrating but was very much required. It so happened that even my colleagues who became my friends didn’t know about this. They used to crack gay jokes during dinner or over drinks and I couldn’t tell them anything, just had to laugh along outwards but inwards was feeling very bad. This hiding continued for a couple of years and then one day I decided that during the New Year’s Eve of 2006 I will let my friends know. When the day arrived, I was still thinking should I tell or not. But after a stiff drink of vodka, I got the courage to tell them. An hour after midnight, I broke the news to them letting them know that I was gay. In this group of friends, 2 were girls and when I told them they smiled, while the 2 guys were a bit surprised and upset. This kind of got me worried. The girls were all thrilled and very happy for me. They mentioned that they always knew that something was different about me which they were absolutely fine with that. They were also very proud that I took such a bold step to be who I am and live my life. When I spoke to the guys, one of them mentioned that he was very upset that I didn’t tell him who I really was. I was shocked. Then he went on to say that I didn’t consider anyone to be my best friend and that’s why I didn’t share this information all this while. All this time they considered me to be their best friend as they shared all their secrets (good, bad and ugly). They felt bad about it, but when I explained to them, they understood why I was quiet about it. After that we celebrated New Year’s again and this time it was for me. A lot of hugging and kissing on my cheeks happened. It was one of my best new year’s in a really long time.

Coming Out to My Parents:

This I think would be the most difficult but the most required stories to tell. By the time I came out to my parents, I was very comfortable with my sexuality, but didn’t have the heart to tell my parents that I was gay. Around 4 years before coming out, my parents had started seeing girls for me thinking it will take time to find the right match for me. During those days, I used to tell my mom that I don’t want to get married. They thought that I didn’t want to get married as I didn’t want to be a responsible guy. My close friends started getting married and this added more pressure to my parents to get me married sooner. But another interesting part during the match making was that my horoscope was not matching with the girls. Due to this I was even more convinced that I wouldn’t need to tell them as I won’t get married. Mentioned this to mom that even god didn’t want me to get married and hence all this is happening. They said that there is a girl in someplace in this earth who is born and waiting for you. I secretly hoping for it to be a guy. I was seeing my parents getting worried about this whole thing. I spoke to my girlfriends who were married, asking their opinion, if it will be right to get married to a girl for my parent’s sake just in case they find a girl. Those were some of the most interesting and heart to heart conversations I’ve had with a girl about everything about a marriage. I then made a very firm decision that I will never get married to a girl and spoil her life for the sake of parents or family or relatives or society.  I also asked my guy friends. They said if you can get married to a girl then go for it as you don’t need to make your parents feel sad and bad. What if something happens to them and you will feel guilty all your life. This also made sense. Making parents proud was one of the key elements that is being instilled in our lives from a very young age. So again I was going through a lot of turmoil which was affecting all aspects of my life. But the fact of cheating a girl is not the right thing to do was always in the back of my mind. Then finally the day that I dreaded came, when my parents told me that they have found a girl whose horoscope matched with mine. They were relieved that their second son’s marriage will happen soon. I was too stunned and shocked to hear that. Later that day I thought and thought of every possible situation that I could think of, the good, the bad and the ugliest.

Suresh with his parents

Then I made my choice and the next day, I called my parents into my room and told them I will not marry. When they asked me why, I said, I’m gay. My dad was like, what’s gay? My heart sank even more thinking how naive my parents are and it will take a long time for them to even understand who I truly and. The next couple of hours were really difficult, as I had to explain to them about many things. Emotions were all over. Parents were angry, sobbing, upset and shocked. All this while, I maintained my composure but at times cried as I couldn’t see my parents cry because of me. I had also decided not to give in to their emotional blackmail, instead tried reverse psychology. I told them, they taught me to be truthful and honest which I’m being honest now. I told them that I will not be happy if I get married to a girl as I can’t love a girl. I even said, if they want me to get married which will make them happy, I will get married. But I won’t be happy one bit in that. That shocked them even more as they said they wanted me to be happy. A lot of a conversations happened for which my parents didn’t have an answer as they were all valid and logical questions. During all this drama (that’s what I think of it as now), I felt relieved, and a heavy weight let off, unburdening of something. I felt light, very happy and proud that I could tell all of this to my parents. I was screaming inside with joy and happiness.

My mom expressed her desire to see a Pride walk

Rohit Bairagi

To Parents:

Hyderabad, 2013

I remember it was a warm summer morning. I had a big fight with my then partner and I thought that was the end of the relationship. My best friend was not available over the phone and I wanted to burst out. Being an introvert I really did not have many with whom I can talk freely. I was in pain and suffocating and thus called my mom and told her everything that I wanted to tell her for years. I told her that thing for which I was preparing her for so many years. I said “I am gay and the person, whom I stay with, is just not a good friend of mine but he is my boyfriend for 4 years now. We are in a live in relationship”.

I belong to a suburban lower middle class Bengali joint family with quite conservative thinking. My mom never knew that something like homosexuality even existed. I probably understood about my sexuality when I was in 89th standard. When I was around 17, I started educating mom about the topic of homosexuality and alternate sexuality. I used to make her read articles, watch talk shows and take her to movies and theatres which depict homosexuality (In Bengali, there were quite a few films and tele-films which touched the topic of homosexuality without making mockery of gay characters). So by the time I started working she knew about homosexuality and also that I have few friends of mine who are lesbian/gay. The same was conveyed to dad through her.

Coming back to the day, I was extremely scared as I had no idea how my parents would react. But thankfully she consoled me and assured that whatever happened she would always be there beside me. I am her son and I will always be a part of her. She cooled me down and asked me to trust time, it will fix everything. After some time dad called and asked me to listen to Rabindra Sangeet or watch a nice movie and that shall cool me down. Now, that was so unexpected. I kind of expected that my mom would understand but I was absolutely sure that if dad gets to know this he would be super irate which he was not.

Few months later my mom’s health deteriorated and her BP(blood pressure) shot up and I got to learn that she started thinking that I turned gay only after I moved to Hyderabad and started staying with my then partner. He turned me gay. Again, I had to explain her that I was born this way. I reminded her of instances in school and as a kid when I was different from other boys. I educated her about few of my school friends who knew about me. Am not sure if mom spoke to them personally thereafter but she is fine since then. A couple of years back my mom expressed her desire to see a PRIDE walk. She saw pictures and videos but she wanted to witness one. Somehow our timings are not matching. Moreover she stays in Kolkata and I am in Gurgaon. Mom has become a close friend since coming out. We possibly discuss everything under the sun without any inhibition. I have seen my bestie also talking to her more freely.

Image representational

I am partially out to my family. That means I am out only to my parents and not to my relatives. I am 30 now and since I stay away from my hometown my relatives keep asking my parents about my marriage and my parents keep on giving vague excuses to them. Somehow my mom does not want me to tell them about my sexuality because of their conservative nature and lack of understanding. My mom faced the taunts of the family for being the only working woman in our family. So she does not want me to go through a similar trauma. I am still struggling to find a way to deal with this, without hurting my parents as they have always stood by my side.

At Work:

Gurgaon, 2014
I came out to my ex manager on my Birthday. I was little emotional at work after reading my mom’s birthday message wherein she encouraged me to be happy. She was concerned because I recently broke up with my partner and perhaps after 6 years I would be alone on my birthday. My boss noticed that and when asked I told her the reason why. She hugged me tight and told she just wanted me to be happy. “I am super proud that you are in my team. You be yourself and love yourself, I am always there for you” she told.

And that was the starting. I started coming out at work and made so many good friends after that. Some of them are my selfie partners. My boss Rajshree Nair later on encouraged me to go ahead with the PRIDE India chapter at American Express. There were so many times I lost hope coz things are so slow but she kept on motivating me along with my few other peers. One thing I realized in life is that whoever I came out to, they became better friends. The bonding became so strong. So I never repent coming out to anyone. It gives me confidence. It gives me joy and brings a smile on my face….

 

If we don’t fight, then who will?

Avinash Kohli

Hyderabad

It was the first clue of nature in discovering myself. I couldn’t help it but, fall for him. He was the new boy in my 6th grade, he was so charming in his own naughty way, he could easily get away from problems, his dressing sense, his mannerisms, everything!

I was a district level player and was indulged in all sorts of the so called ‘masculine’ sports activities, which my family had made me join to ward off the ‘sissy’ behavior in me, NCC was also one among them. And that one camp changed my entire life.

Anyone who has been to an NCC camp is very familiar with the term ‘Lota-Parade’. It simply is a code used at NCC for the morning session of pooping. We all cadets were supposed to go in a group of 10 at a time, dig a hole, do the necessary ritual and come back. Now this, was a major problem for a shy kid like me so, I decided to carry out my sessions of excretion post everyone is asleep at night. The initial 2 days went smoothly (pun intended) but, I was caught on the 3rd day. As it was the 1st time that I was caught in the act, I was left with a strict warning to which I did not pay heed and was again caught on the 4th day. This time they gave me a punishment for which, I had to do 200 somersaults. On a very honest note, for a shy kid like me, 200 somersaults didn’t seem much of a deal and hence, I prepared myself to do 200 somersaults every time I’d be caught. Unfortunately, in an institution as disciplinary as the NCC, punishments get severe with repetition.

With my shyness overpowering me, I repeated the same mistake on the 5th day as well. But now, it wasn’t going to be as easy as 200 somersaults. “You never learn, do you?” one of the seniors said. His tone made me realize that nothing is going to be the same anymore. The seniors pinned me to a nearby tree and assaulted me sexually. The acts that they carried out were something I pray no one should ever go through. That night, was the first time ever, that I had a physical thing with a guy. Definitely not something that I had imagined of but, it happened. A night that was now going to be my worst nightmare.

Sexual assault : Image representational

Somehow I wanted to get over everything that had happened to me at NCC but I couldn’t find any way out, and that was where I started drinking alcohol. The horrors of that night wouldn’t leave me. Even when I stood 70th in the entire country for IIHM, I couldn’t claim my seat in the institution as I was too scared to go through a mandatory physical test for the admission. The impact of that one night was such, that I discontinued my studies and started working. With the money chipping in from various jobs, I started drinking heavily and made a wall around me surrounded with so called ‘friends’ and ‘lovers’. All of those illusions seemed perfect in my drunk state.

Till the year 2008 I had absolutely no idea about the activities carried out by the community as a whole. Somehow I started getting in touch with members of the community and life seemed to change for better. By the year 2010, I had mustered courage and began talking to people who were around me. To my surprise I felt that I was not alone. It was the best feeling in the world.

The year 2013 was the biggest turning point of my life. In the same year I acquired a job in one of the most prestigious teaching institutions of India and the best part was that I didn’t have to be in the closet in front of my colleagues. The management also was so supportive of me and encouraged me to be myself. Post this, in February I attended the pride in Hyderabad and then it was time for the mask to fall off at my home.

Me and my dad were on one of our regular evening strolls when he asked, “do you want to talk about something?” I was puzzled and simply countered him asking, “what?!” I guess so he couldn’t keep it in anymore and asked me upfront, “Are you a homo!?” I honestly wanted to laugh at his use of the word in such a typical manner, but couldn’t for I had understood the depth of the situation and instead said, “No dad, I am not a ‘homo’, I am gay…”

That didn’t go very well & left me homeless. With no where to go, no roof over my head and just 200 rupees in my pocket and some pairs of clothes, I stayed in a Gurudwara for four days, eating only one full meal a day. Soon I moved in a cute little one-BHK and started living my life. It was 24th February, my birthday and for the 1st time, I was alone on my special day. It was then that I realized how much I was missing my family.

Homelessness: Image representational

A few months later I received a call from my parents to inform me that, my younger sister is getting married to someone out of the caste and I was responsible for it. They justified it by saying that it was my ‘wild behavior’ that led her as well to cross the line. The call was made to blame me, but actually to invite me for her wedding.

Accepting the invitation I went back to my parent’s house and this time things were slowly turning around. The arguments between me and my father had reduced so much that now we started arguing twice a week and eventually those arguments reduced to some valid and sensible conversations. I got to know that my father had carried out his own research on LGBTQ and had already started coming to terms with it. It definitely took time, but eventually my father accepted me for who I am. He did not only stop at accepting his son but he also now started supporting me. I still remember how consoling he was towards me when I had come out of an eight month relationship.

Throughout my journey of coming out of the closet, I realized that there is nothing that cannot be defeated with courage. It is courage that we all need. The courage to be ourselves, the courage to express ourselves, the courage to approach people around us and most importantly, the courage to be truthful to our parents. If we are courageous enough to fight any situation in our lives, we can always stand tall. Because if we don’t fight, then who will?

When I was 13 years!

 

Dolly Koshy

Bangalore

I am a Social Activist, Tech Lover, Feminist, Author, Secular Humanist, Freethinker, Health Enthusiast, Nature Lover, Restaurateur, wannabe Serial Entrepreneur. Even though I am all the above, for my everyday bread and butter, I am a boring techie like majority of the Bangaloreans. Raised in a fanatically religious Christian family, I turned an atheist when I was 13.

I am a woman, a lesbian, and an atheist – three minority identities that have, over the years, created a strong personality I am proud to call my own.

I came out when I was 13 years old. It was not a planned coming out but an unplanned chain of events. I was in a hostel and the hostel warden caught me and my first girlfriend kissing. So it was an involuntary outing. When my parents came to know about the incident, they tried to show me verses from the bible to tell me that I am a sinner. I came out to them as an atheist then. I still don’t know what appalled them more, my being a homosexual or my being an atheist.

When you are only partially out, the people who have the privilege to know about your sexuality mentioning it to someone who does not know about it can also can be considered as outing you without your consent. This has happened to me many times, being outed without my knowledge. Then I come to know that some of them were proud of me for the courage I was displaying, some cut-off all ties, some were neutral and some wanted to pray for me. There were even women who were offended that I was not sexually attracted to them in spite of me being a homosexual. Throughout it all a few close friends stayed through thick and thin always being there for me.

If people accuse me of wearing my sexuality on my sleeve, I am unapologetic as it took me years of personal and social struggles to get to where I am today. Coming out is a long process; for some it is a lifelong process. The first stage of coming out starts with accepting yourself.  Then you slowly come out to people as and when the need arises or when you feel is the right time.

Lesbians in India are conspicuous by their lack of visibility in mainstream society. Lesbian invisibility has become a deep-seated feature of society. As nothing can be a greater blow to patriarchy than a woman who can live happily without a man, our patriarchal society will do whatever it can to silence lesbian women.