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 !!

Sorry Papa

sorry_quotes_pics_285276658

Sorry Papa.

I am really sorry papa for being a disappointment.

When I see your long face & ma always worrying, it kills me inside. I feel terrible for inflicting this pain on you, I am very sorry. I thought I was a good son, at least I tried to be one, to be an average good son. I am little naughty, a bit reserved, somewhat funny, a little serious, a tiny bit dramatic, a little caring, a bit manly, somewhat pragmatic…a mix of things. I did well in academics, not so well in sports, joined a good college, earned a good CGPA (grades), joined a good company and am doing well. I care for the family, friends, environment, country…I am just the average guy next door, the simple law abiding citizen, the average Indian.

You did a lot, sacrificed a lot to give me the good school, the amazing education, the ability to make my own decisions, to be independent, to let me ride the bike even after a terrible accident. You always let me make mistakes & to give me enough time to learn on my pace, to provide expensive tuition & coaching which were outside your budget. You were happy when I got good marks in school, pulled practical jokes on my siblings, danced around the house, always appreciated the recipe disasters I concocted in the kitchen. You were proud to say “my son” when I joined a good college & told the neighbors about the company I got placed in. We were happy, until one day I told you something which changed everything. Your smile faded, the pride was replaced by disappointment, and your face became long & worried.

I am so sorry for doing this, but I tried my best, my very best to change this, to fit in, to be a ‘normal’ son, I really did try & I failed, miserably. It is beyond my control, a gift from God, it took me a long while to understand myself & come to terms with it, to hug myself & say “it’s gonna be ok!”.

That fateful day I told you “I am gay!”

From being a good son, an amazing brother, a funny uncle, a brilliant student, a dear friend, the guy next door… I just became ‘gay’.

I will never have that wedding which you & ma have been planning about possibly since the day I was born. There will be no ‘barati’, no ‘bahu’, and no ‘shadi’. There will be no ‘bhabhi’ to my siblings, ‘maami’ for my neice & nephew, no painting the house for my wedding, no gold earrings for ‘phuas’ for my wedding, no dancing in my “barat” for the kids, no ‘mooh dikhayi’ of the ‘nayi bahu’ for the neighbors & relatives. Ma that piece of jewelry you have been saving for the ‘choti bahu’ you can give it to ‘badi bahu’ as there will be no ‘choti bahu’.

I know I crashed your dreams of the grand day, the beautiful wedding, ruined your plans but I am sorry, really sorry for I can’t help. You have to know I tried & I tried really hard, for it kills me to steal your happiness, but I just can’t.

Since the day of my ‘coming out’ we have talked about everything from my impotency, my penis size, the homeopathy medicine, the hormone therapy, the puja, the astrologer, the baba….i know you have been praying incessantly for it to change. You think that if I just get married, just listen to you for once life will be all merry & we will be back to be a happy family we were once. It’s too big a risk papa, playing with so many lives, it will cause irreparable damage to me, that girl, you & ma, her family & so many more people. Knowingly I cannot ruin another person’s life, tying the knot in a loveless marriage is a curse for anybody. It will end in a terrible divorce, depression & ugliness in so many people’s lives, or even death.

You need to stop putting all your happiness eggs in just one ‘marriage’ basket, there is so much more to life that marrying a girl. I know you will not read this, like so many other stories, blogs, articles, I sent before for you to see my world from a different perspective, but I am writing this in hope that maybe some parent will read it & pause for a moment to see what all they are risking for something which doesn’t even guarantee happiness. I know you are scared papa, just like I was, “what will people say?” it doesn’t really matter papa. To me you matter, your happiness matters & not what neighbors say or what people say. People change, their opinions change & hopefully my country’s laws will also change someday. Hope you understand me soon, & we can be the happy family we once were.

Your gay son

Love

Beta.

Coming out over coffee!

I was scared to death while entering into CCD, My dad was walking beside me and was asking me usual questions like – “How is your work going, what are your future plans?” I was answering in very limited words, as far as I remember I was so nervous that I only said everything was going well, I didn’t reply to him in a detail.

You all know, how is a relation between a father and son, limited conversation, no emotional talks, no talks with full sentences. A bond so strong in roots but the emotional attachment is rarely visible to the outside world!

Like any other son, I was always afraid to speak in front of my dad. It was not like he was cruel, but I was always a bit scared to him. But that was the day that I gathered the courage to talk to him about me and my life. I rehearsed the conversation in my mind like 100 times earlier and I came up with more ‘full sentences’ rather than my half stammering words!

Earlier that day I told my mom that, I’m taking dad out for evening coffee and dad will surely like this place and also it would be great for me to spend time with him. My mom was very happy about it. Being a mother she never let out ‘conversational bond’ to stop. It was the talking and sharing of thoughts which was binding our family more tightly.

My parents had visited me here after 7 months, so my mom wanted for me and my dad to get along more as with my dad’s busy schedule I barely get to talk to him for more than few minutes.

It was a perfect ‘Father-Son’ evening!

Twenty minutes passed in silence. The only thing we spoke was the order we gave for coffee. I was fidgeting because I was so damn nervous to start the main conversation.

Finally, I broke the silence and said, “Dad, there is something I want to tell you, it is very personal and related to my life”

Dad responded quickly “Yes son, say what is it?”

Me – “I don’t know how to say and from where to start”

My dad took a sip of his coffee and while holding his cup in his hand he said, “Whatever it is, just tell me, I’m here to listen.”

I still was very nervous, the curiosity on my dad’s face made me more nervous; I smiled and started talking something else. My dad sensed that I was diverting my mind from the thing that I was going to say, so he said very softly “Son, stop beating around the bush and say directly what is inside your head, I’m here for you”. And in no minute I dropped the bomb, “Dad, I’m gay”

<the actual conversation happened in Hindi, some excerpts from it>

Dad: hein. .. kya? [What ?]
Me: Daddy “I’m Gay”
Dad: Hindi mei bolo, kya kehna cahh: re ho.[Tell me in Hindi, what are you trying to say?]
Me: Daddy aapko samlanging pata h..? [Dad, you know about ‘homosexuality’?]
Dad: Haan..kya hua?[Yes, why?]
Me: Daddy mai wahi hu.[I am that]

Dad – “With whom?”

Me – “Dad, with no one, it’s just I always had interest in towards my same gender, I never developed any interest or feelings towards any girl”

I saw the seriousness growing on my dad’s face. He started saying “Son, who is stuffing all this nonsense in your head? I bet, someone is luring you in some kind of trap! Son, there is no such thing. These all are brought up by west people! These things are suitable for foreigners. They don’t have any specific culture or traditions; they don’t have any rules and regulations so they do whatever they want to do. They even eat human flesh. Son, these all things are practiced by western people and our culture is very far away from these westerns air!

Me – “No, dad it is not like that. I was born as a gay! It took me years to finally understand it.

Dad – “Son, is this about something else? I mean is it because some girl left you or love failure or something?”

Me – “No, dad it is not like that. You are not getting me. When I was in school I always thought of making boys as my friends rather than girls. While growing up I thought that there was something wrong with me. I couldn’t cope with all these feelings. There was no one I could talk to; I was getting depressed day by day. I started hating myself. I finally gave up and decided to commit suicide, I failed in that too! Yes dad, the real reason behind my suicide was this, not ‘lacking in studies’ reason. I was going insane thinking about it. That’s why I started to stay silent most of the time; this is why I was always irritated and angry. At that time all I could think was, ‘what is wrong with me? Why am I different? What mom will think about me if she will know this’. Every day in the house was a struggle because; relatives used to tease me and used to call me names, which always made me to irritate more. I used to think this and the only solution I came up with every time was suicide. But finally, I completed my studies and came here. After coming here I researched a lot! I researched on the internet that what is happening to me. Then finally I was exposed to the word of ‘LGBT’. I researched more and more and I came to know that, there is nothing wrong with me, I’m not defective, there are many other people like me living here in this world. I gathered courage and talked to them, met with them a few times. They are just like me; it took time for them also to understand their situation and to accept what they are. Dad, it took me 6 years to accept myself. I finally am dealing with myself rather than running away.”

While I was speaking, I realized my dad was listening very calmly and carefully. The moment I stopped speaking he asked me numerous questions in one breath. It was like a rapid fire between us.

Dad – “Have you befriended the people you met?”

Me – “Yes dad and they are very nice people”

Dad – “What about their parents and family, have they told them?”

Me – “Yes dad, they have told their families and they are supporting them in every manner.”

Dad – “Okay son, it is all in your head. Later, once you will get married everything will be okay”

Me – “Marriage? That too, with a girl? No, dad. Never! Dad life is not all about getting married and having kids!

Dad – “Everything will be changed after you get married. You will not get time to think about all these!”

Me – “No dad, you are not getting it, I like boys! If I ever will get married, then I don’t think my marriage will last for more than four or five years. I don’t want to ruin any girl’s life. I can’t do it.

Dad – “Most of the people starts thinking like this because of fear of getting married. I have lots of friends who are older than me in age; they also never got married and dedicated their life to social works and good deeds. You have also started doing social works, you visit orphanages and help the kids there. If you are keeping your mind in these things then it is not bad.”

Me – “Dad, you are not getting this. I’m not saying all these because I have fear of getting married or I want to dedicate my whole life in social works. It is simple because I’m what, I said to you! And being gay is not wrong.

Dad – “Hmm, Okay it’s okay. Just give me some time to understand all these. But son, you don’t worry I’m with you. I will never let anything wrong happen to you. It is a very new thing for me; I have to take more information on this. Marriage thing, it is secondary. No one will force you.”

Dad – “Your mom, does she knows?”

Me – “God no. I don’t have that courage to tell her this. I told you because I knew you would understand.”

When we came out, my dad kept his hands on my shoulder. He said nothing but his gesture made me feel relieved. I was feeling very relaxed that I finally got this secret out of my chest. I was relaxed. I was happy. I was everything.

I am the same “Anish” that you know.

Anish Alex Mathew

From: Cochin, Kerala

Currently: Bangalore

alex

A letter to the parents.


Hi Appa and Amma,

Just wanted to let you know this letter is from my heart and I mean it a lot.

Earlier part of my life

During my childhood, I used to be very playful and wonder why I am not getting any “girlfriends”. I came to a conclusion that, I might have not reached the right stage. I used to remember Amma saying that this was the age to study and not wonder and about “girlfriends”. I realized that she is right; I should concentrate more studies which I did. But, I had these confused attractions. I used to feel attracted towards women as well as men (I have bolded it because you should realize what I am attracted to).

Being a good Christian boy, I used to keep saying it is a sin and keep repressing myself by saying that it’s just a phase. It continued all the way to college. I used to be attracted to both the sexes. But, I was still confused. I didn’t know who to talk to because it was such a taboo to talk about. I tried to get a girlfriend and vice versa happened. However, I failed miserably.

I was confused in Hyderabad also. I went after girls at my workplace. None of them were interested or they took me for a ride.

Bangalore days

When I came to Bangalore, I realized that I am a bisexual man. Yes, I love to be with men as well as women. I know it will come as a shock to you. Can you think for a moment? Why do I feel attracted to both sexes at same time? I realized that, I should educate you rather you being ignorant and plain stubborn to listen to my views. Please don’t think it has a disease or a sin. This is how I am and nothing is going to change it.

In Bangalore, I met various kinds of people who educated me about my sexuality. Did you know that bisexual people are not accepted in the community itself? Just because of the assumption that we might cheat upon our partners. Initially, I thought I was gay and that was the point of time, when you both had doubts about me. But, whenever, I was approached by a woman or a girl. I had this sense of attraction towards them. So, I came to conclusion that I am a bisexual man. Period!

The Bible, Marriage and Church

Now, you may say that, I have strayed away from God or say this is unnatural. But, this is who I am! Nothing is going to change me. You can get me married off to a random girl. Remember, you are putting that girl’s life at stake. If in case, it doesn’t turn out well, you guys will regret it and not me. This is because I have already foreseen the future.  I wanted to ask you a question – Why is there hatred in this world towards LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community? Even the church that preaches of love hates them. Why? It is because of the hypocrisy in this various churches and world that made me realize God lives in me and I pray to him only. He knows me. He made me. If he hated me, do you think I would be in this world? I pray for people who scream slogans saying “God hates fags” because they don’t know what God is thinking about His children. He has created them with His very own hands.

Facebook drama

All those drama regarding FB, where I was sharing stuff about LGBT rights. I was trying to fight for people like me. We deserve freedom as well.

Amma – I didn’t expect Ankita to tell you last time. I trusted her and shared with her about my sexuality. She broke my trust basically because of insecure feelings towards me. That’s the reason, why I don’t share anything with her now.  I expected you to be supportive instead of quoting from the Bible. I know the Bible and read it millions of times. You will still think that I am not doing prayers properly and etc. etc. When I am not in peace with myself, how can I have peace around me? I still pray. Please stop worrying about that. I still believe in God. Just don’t believe in churches anymore.

Appa – If you had any doubts about me, you should have directly raised your concern with me. Not push Amma to make calls to me and question me. Do you realize it is actually a mental torture?  I always realized why you don’t show me the extra warmth like how you show Ankita.

Mayamma

As a performer, I just tried her out because I wasn’t making it anywhere by being Alex Mathew.  When, I became her, people appreciated me and said I have guts to do it. I am doing drag because I feel I am doing different from others. I prefer to be a man on streets and be a woman on stage just to entertain people.  I have got many opportunities to be part of photoshoots, be part of plays and so many performances.

Amma? I am really sorry; I have lost trust in Ankita completely. I was beginning to share with her. But, she showed her true colors again. Last night, the way you called me up was just unnecessary.

Fabulous parents

You both haven’t failed miserably as parents. There hasn’t been a day I thank God that I have lovely parents.  You should try and understand my point of view. Why am I like this? Please learn more about my sexuality and not be ignorant about it. And, please don’t blame each other by raising fingers. I am the same “Anish” that you know. Just that, my sexual attraction is a bit different and I hope you understand that.

And, if you are wondering about what you say to others etc. Please! I don’t live for others anymore. They are just relatives to me and their opinions shouldn’t concern you either.

I had to say this to both of you because I can’t live in a world where everything is rosy and I feel like a caged bird.

On top of all, I am writing this as a letter because I couldn’t see an opportunity to talk to both of you. Maybe because you are facing issues with other family members and I didn’t want to burden you with this problem. But, you need to stop being ignorant and accept me the way I am. That’s all I am asking for.

I still love you as my parents. And, I hope you still do the same to me.

Love,

Anish

Tujhe paalne mein koi kami rehgayi kya?

Karan Kariappa

Bangalore

Entrepreneurplantasmile and work in the KPO industry

karan-kariappa

Karan [Pic credits Sadat]

I used to gawk at men since I was young however I never accepted myself for a long time. I am born to a Kodava Community, in Kodagu called the Scotland of India. We are more of a tribal people and men are often called the warriors and women are the beautiful ones. It’s an orthodox and close minded community out there. I understand it will take time for them come around to the fact that their child is not straight. I am no warrior ha-ha, I was never interested in motorcycles and sports like the rest of the boys. My interests were more into cooking and gardening. My father always used to say that I behaved like a women all the time. I never accepted myself for a long time. I never knew about the LGBT culture in Bangalore. All I knew is being on PR [a dating site for men] and finding people. I was forced to live in a straight life for a long time. I did not have the courage to come out or in the first place, accept myself. I have dated women too and never had a sexual relationship with any as I knew that it would never work. At 25, I fell in love with a guy from Bhutan and that’s when I realized that I had never got the same feeling for a women in my life. I realized staying with my family wouldn’t allow me to be the person who I am. So, I left my parents and started an independent life.

So I came out to my aunt on New Year’s Eve. Oh yes! I was drunk that night. I couldn’t have got the balls to tell her otherwise. I also told her that I was abused as a child when I was just four. She couldn’t take it at all. The only question she asked was “Tujhe paalne mein koi kami rehgayi kya?” [Was there any shortcoming in your upbringing?]. I also told her not to expect me to get married because they were expecting to get me married sometime this year however it dint happen. She took a week to digest the fact that her son is gay (she considers me as her son after my mom’s death) and called me back. She just told that if you don’t want to get married I understand however you can’t love a man. I still remember my aunt and her daughter (my sweet cousin) did not speak to me for months and now we hardly have any conversations.

I really didn’t have to do anything about coming out to my dad. My aunt spoke to dad about me. All he had to say was that I was mentally ill. I needed a psychiatrist. Just because I did not find a girl for myself I turned into for men. Ha-ha that’s hilarious though. He also said that I am a disgrace born to Kodava Family.

Over the period of time there has been a lot of pressure from family about me being queer. End of the day it’s me who have to live my life and I want to be happy in life on my own terms. Yes, I am gay and I am proud of myself, of who I am today. It’s been almost a year being in the community and a lot of people have supported me over this time.

I also run a Queer dating site called Amour  for the LGBTQIA+.

Gay means swavargaanuragi

Nithin Raj

Bangalore


nitin

The not so planned coming out:Some excerpts from the conversation is in Malayalam

One fine evening I was studying whilst my mother was watching TV in the adjacent room. The show named ‘Comedy Stars’ was being broadcasted on Asianet. The show frequently features drags and Trans women in comical roles. Suddenly my mother enquired as to why ‘these’ people run away from their homes.

Image Credits

The conversation that ensued –

Me: That’s because they are not accepted in their families. They are ill-treated and many a times kicked out of their homes with nowhere to go. And many of them end up in large cities and fall victims to exploitation.

Mother: Why would any parents kick their children out of their homes? That’s not true.

Me: Is it?

Mother: All parents love their children no matter what.

Me: Oh please. All these dialogues are good to hear. You too would have done the same.

Mother: No. I will not disown my child if it was born that way (She does not have a very good idea about the LGBT population. When she said this, she was referring to intersex persons). I will bring the child up proudly and love it.

Me: *laughing cynically*

Mother: What?

Me: What if I told you I was one of them (pointing to the Trans women on the TV screen)?

Mother: Enittu poda vrithikedu parayade [Get out… Do not utter such dirty things]

Me: Dha ippo ningal ningade thani niram kanichu [See, you showed your true colors now].

Mother: Shut up. You’re my son. I know you. I didn’t bring you up this way. I am sure of it.

Me: Ok here’s the thing. I am not Trans but gay. You may accept or deny but that is not going to change.

Mother: What do you mean by gay? Is this why you told me you will not marry? (I have been telling her I wouldn’t marry since my 10th grade).  Pinne kanmashi? (I used to wear suruma frequently).

Me: Gay means swavargaanuragi (Homosexual). Yes this is why I told you I wouldn’t marry. Kanmashi enikku istham ullaond idum, poyi case kodukku. (I wear suruma because I like to, go file a petition if you want to)

Mother: I do not understand anything. What are you telling? Do you want to go to a doctor? Oh God! How will I tell this to your father?

Me: I can’t explain it to you any more mother. Please call sister and ask her to explain.

*She immediately calls my sister. Part of the reason why I told her to call my sister was because they always communicated very openly and freely while I was very reserved. And partly because I didn’t have to come out to her again*

Conversation between them –

Mother: Hey look what your brother is saying. He says he is gay? What does that mean? I am much tensed here.

Sister: Ma. What happened? Calm down. Gay means boys who like boys (in that way).

Mother: Chi. What are you telling.

Sister: I knew it like at least five years back. (This was a pleasant surprise to me as I had never told her. Apparently she gathered as much from some of my posts on Facebook advocating LGBT rights).

Mother:  Hmmm

Sister: Remember my best friend used to go out with that girl. Well they were in a relationship. They stayed together bunking classes and have had sex too. (She was describing two of her friends). They were resolved to live together. Look where she is now, married and happy with a kid. Your son is still young, don’t stress him now. Let him study. We will speak about this after ten years or so. It is a phase.

Mother: Okay.

*Hangs up and then comes to me*

Mother: You. (Pointing her fingers at me) You better don’t have any plans of running away. We were there for you till now. And we will be there for you always. I will take you to a good counselor and everything will be sorted.  And I am not going to tell your father a word about this.

Thereafter I resumed studying. It felt good to come out.

Something isn’t right

Anonymous

Today I am a very content woman; even though I am a single mother. It isn’t a stigma for me. It is my strength, because I am able to be me; it feels right.  It took me 25 years to find me but today on wards is what matters.

I was 22 then. I had fallen in love. This young man who had nothing but would do anything to make me happy. The man who rode his cycle like a maniac behind a jeep past midnight only to ensure that my boss is doing what he assured my parents; that he’d drop me back home safely. The man who showed I had the strength to do what I wanted to do in a city, in a time, where women who wanted to have a career other than a teacher wasn’t considered respectable. The love of my life, who had become the son my parents never had, was suddenly the most favorite enemy of their life because he dared to fall in love with their precious and only daughter; me.

“You will never see him again. If you do..” was followed by an endless stream of ifs and thens.  And so I did. I said good bye to him. Not just to him, but to a part of me died that day.

It was a prick in my hand that woke me up briefly. I turned my head and saw her, the nurse. She was standing at my bedside putting a needle through my veins trying to connect mzzgwdyrme2-2e to a bottle of glucose hanging on the stand right next to my head. I looked up at it groggily wondering, what is that going to change for me?  I see my mother sitting in the corner in this dim lit, pale blue walled room in the hospital. My eyes shut again. My body couldn’t stay awake any longer and I fell asleep.

I don’t remember how many days and nights and days and nights had passed I hadn’t eaten or drank water but was force-fed through the gut wrenching nausea. There were curses in the back ground being thrown at where once all I heard was only blessings. How could it have gone so wrong? What was my mistake? Why don’t you understand? Can you even hear what I am saying? All in vain.

I was begged at. I was threatened by cries of sympathy. I was asked. I was told. But I wasn’t heard.

8 months later. Lights are flickering all around. Laughter and chatter everywhere. A house brimming with relatives. A decorated car awaits at the gate. My best friend sits in the car with me. We reach the venue. I am escorted out, being guided up the passage. I can only see my shoes, those shiny gold shoes. I tried to look up but the veil is too thick. “Keep your head down”, I hear this sharp whisper, ‘you’re the bride today”. ‘Qabool hay?’ the clergyman asks. The screams in me are aching to throw themselves out of my throat to say no, no….NOOOO. …. I squeeze my friend’s hand as if she could speak for me. ‘Qabool hay?’ I gulp a lump down my parched throat and utter the word that began a chapter that was already written out for me. “haan qabool hay”.

The morning after, as I packed my bag for the journey into the unknown life with my husband and his family, he lay there and said, “oh, don’t pack your jeans. You’ll never get to wear them in my house.”

2 years have gone by. Hands adorned by bangles, toes clamped with toe-rings, a mangal sootra hanging around my neck, I have learnt the art of cooking curries to roasts to desserts right out of the recipe book as if I grew up doing only this and nothing at all. Wah wah bahu…bohot achha hay. Thank you Pappa, thoda aur lijiye na?!

I was running on a program. A program installed by family, by society. This is how a wife should be.  No one though happened to ever mention how a husband should be. Something just didn’t seem right. I visited my father to seek his advice, to seek solace, “Baba, something isn’t right”. “Don’t worry beta, once you have a child, everything will be alright” he answered. Yet another program was uploaded and I restarted.

My daughter is now 2 years. Something isn’t right. It just isn’t right. And you know what? I don’t care to know what it is. All I know is my daughter is not going to grow up in this environment. I left with my daughter and never looked back.

My days were filled climbing the corporate ladder and evenings with my daughter and parents. They took me back. A failed marriage – they dared not to put that on me. I was not going to take that anymore and they knew it this time.

A year later my lost love walks back into my life like a knight in shining armor. Said he, “I still love you, will you marry me?” “Yes yes yes!” I jumped with excitement, “oh but wait. I have a daughter now”. And he said, “she is a part of you, and so, she is a part of me now.”

5 years later another daughter comes into our lives. Something isn’t right. That comes up again for me. And I tell myself, “no, no, not again. Not this time.  How can it be? This is the man I loved so much. And he loves me. No, I will not let this fall apart. I will make this work”.

5 more years pass. Something isn’t right. This time it was way too strong to ignore. And then it all unraveled. He was seeing someone else. My whole world collapsed in an instant. How could this happen? What went wrong? I must’ve done something wrong? I wasn’t there for him. I was too busy …….

“I am sorry sweetheart, I made a mistake. Can you forgive me please?” he said one day and I responded, “OK, jaan, let’s make this work”.

Another 5 years pass. It continued to go wrong. My attempts to make this go right just didn’t work. I could no longer live a life of lies. The question here is I didn’t even know anymore who was lying to whom. Was he lying to me or was I lying to him or was I lying to myself? Whatever it was, all I knew was that it was over. I took my girls and I left.

It’s been a year now. It was no one’s fault that neither of my marriages worked. Not my exes. Not the families. Not mine even. I didn’t even realize until 6 months after I left that for the first time I felt alive. Not because I was away from a man who cheated on me. Not because I was not in a marriage that wasn’t working. Not because now I was not answerable to anyone and could do anything. It was none of that.

You see, this goes all the way back to my childhood. Something that was going on in me that felt so right. It just came so naturally to me, but, only when I was alone. It wasn’t something I even thought could be spoken about to anyone. It was my secret fantasy about women. They would be damsels in distress and I would be their savior! It didn’t stop at saving them though. My fantasies went way more intense – feeling their body felt just right and I never felt the need to question it.  As time went by, years passed, my fantasies faded but never completely went and I got caught up in society’s norms.
Until that day, sitting in my new house, all by myself I finally realized what it was that I kept getting when it felt like “something isn’t right”. All that was required for me to feel alive was to be OK with myself having all these feelings for women that were locked up inside of me. I just had to acknowledge, no one else but Me.  The only one that had to really know the truth was me. And that’s when I said it to myself, “K, it’s time to step out of the closet.”

Now, everything is right! 

Image credit

We shall fight this out together

Priyank Asha Sukanand

Bangalore

All through school I was attracted to a few boys in my class as I was convinced that it was pretty much the right thing to feel and I ridiculed other boys who hit on girls and actresses and so on. So at the age of thirteen, my best friend, made me understand what being GAY was. So that’s when I realized it was what a lovely term or label to fall under. Then a few months later I joined a lovely theater group that helped me open my eyes to so many possibilities around me. I walked my first Gay Pride March of 2008 in Bangalore. Though I was masked I still came on camera and my mom found out too.
Well I decided to come out to her and as much as I wanted the typical South Indian drama that everyone else got, that turned out to be a positive failure. She accepted me whole heatedly and also vowed to convince my Dad. My mother is one of those broad-minded humans that is very queer friendly and sometimes a little too much. They say “a way to anyone’s heart is through their tummy” but in my case it’s my mother. Though all the boys I’ve dated my mother has always loved them. Our coffee table conversations are certainly way too detailed and expressive. The other day I had a friend drop by my house on Diwali and now she can’t seem to stop talking about him and how I must definitely date him. So this is the woman who gave birth to me and this is the woman who still loves me for who I am. I’m not really that proud of being gay than the fact I’m even more proud of having a mother like her.
I have taken my middle name as her name only because she’s as important as my father is and yes let’s fight patriarchy.
Dad was very hesitant for over 5 years, we hardly brought up the topic and I continued being a gay rights activist nonetheless. Eventually on the date 11.12.13 when the Supreme Court of India re-criminalized homosexuality my father sent me an SMS that read “I’m sorry to hear about today’s judgment. But you must understand no matter what I’m here with you and we shall fight this out together”. Truly made me the happiest gay boy in India when everyone else was in sadness.
Today I have realized the amount of harassment I have overcome but I also understand that it has only made me stronger. I studied at a reputed 0b7fqabvd5w1vvxdiru5us09yrgc_1475762145490hospitality management institution in Maharashtra where I was ragged every night, physically and sexually harassed for being openly gay. But I stand today with pride and as an example to stand up to what you feel is wrong.
I believe there are so many students who need the help and support that I never got. In 2011 along with 2 other queer people I co-founded the Bangalore chapter of Queer Campus that set out to offer a safer space for Queer youth in Bangalore. We organized annual events such carnivals, picnics and movie visits as well. As time passed I moved out of the group handing it over to the next set of young leaders.  At the moment I’m the founder of Queer Collective India, a social movement that aims at bridging the gap between the society and we queer folk, through the medium of art, theatre, dance, media etc.

They are parents to a daughter too!

Anonymous

Bangalore

e22bbd3068dbaa84_diary

Source

My sister had apparently known it for long, by reading through my diaries. She never told me anything though. Perhaps she was trying to find a right opportunity to speak about it. Re-criminalization just helped her out. On the 13th of December 2013 when 377 was reinstated it was a big headline on the newspaper. She brought the paper to me and asked, hey brother what do you think about this? I said, what would I think, it’s a news that’s all. Then she said, you know what, I already know, so you can just say what you think. I was kind of shocked and surprised and rather flabbergasted thinking what the hell she is talking about and how in hell it’s possible that she would know anything! Coz I had never dated anyone openly before. Then she told she went through my diaries. How dare she! I took a few days to digest the anger that she went through my diaries without my knowledge. Then I kind of understood the maturity she had. Coz the reading incident apparently had happened almost 2-3 years ago, she didn’t tell my parents ANYTHING about it ever. Rather she was trying to counsel me in a funny manner, saying you know perhaps it’s a passing phase, perhaps you haven’t met the right girl yet and so on… I heard her out, calmly, realized that she is just trying to empathize with me and nothing else. Then I opened up to her and gradually told her about all my romantic trials with strangers, told her about the failed adventures too. 🙂

I told her, now that you know, perhaps it’s time you should tell mom and dad as well because they have already started looking out for my wedding. I am elder, so they wanted me to get married first. She said it’s not her job to tell them, it’s me who had to do it.

I took another year almost to gather courage and find the right opportunity to speak with my parents about this. It was my cousin sister’s wedding where all went, a lot of distant relatives came too, and a LOT of proposals came for me. I told my parents not to make any promises to anyone because I simply cannot marry a girl. I took reference of my own sister, I said the would-be bride also is someone’s sister or daughter. I do not want to spoil the life of an innocent girl just to do a trial with my own life. They understood, coz they are parents to a daughter too. Later I showed them videos like Satyamev Jayate episode, and a few other educative videos etc. My mom digested it in her own imaginative way. Dad kept quiet, didn’t say anything much about it.

 A few months later, one lazy Sunday afternoon, we all had lunch and watching TV, mother asks me casually, ‘So, all these religious babas who never marry could they be gay too?’

I had no answer to that.

I am not leaving you, but just wished you had a better life

Rajib Das,

Hyderabad

Finally did it!

There is nothing in this world that is impossible. Just a little courage and push from within to do the things just when you want them can get you where you want to be. So, this is how the conversation started while we were at the dinner table with half of the food left to be eaten in our plates:

Me: Mom, I have something to tell you…

Mom: কি বিষয় (with curiosity, what is it)?

Me: Mom, I do not want you to talk about me getting married to a girl to anyone.

Mom: কেন (with a weird look, Why)?

Me: mom, I am not attracted to girls and I like boys, আমি সমকামি…(I am Gay). (There it was, I said it as soon as we started talking so that I could answer her questions which obviously would follow after this blast.)

Mom: আমি জানতাম (I Knew), My heart signaled this a few weeks ago, and I was expecting something of this sort to come from you! So this is the way you want to destroy your life?

Me: Getting married to a girl will destroy not only my life, but the girl’s life as well. If you want to get me married forcefully, then that will end up nowhere but a depressed life and divorce.

Mom: If that is the case, then you don’t have to get married ever. If you cannot get married to a “নারী” (nari[women]) then you cannot marry a “পুরুষ” (purush [Man])- period. That’s it!! একা থাক (Live alone).

Me: But I don’t want to live without a marriage. I like boys and want to get married to a guy! (At this point I quoted a previous conversation where she said “You need to marry and have children, so that there is someone to look after you when you are old.”)

Mom: অসম্ভব (Impossible)! It cannot happen, how will two guys look after each other when both are old? How about our বংশ (family generation) – how will it grow with two guys?

Me: Just like how a man and woman looks after each other AND we can always adopt! 🙂

Mom: (with anger) No, this will simply not happen. You have to marry a girl; else, no marriage for you!!

Me: Not possible! If I fall in love with a boy, I would want to live and raise a family with him in the long run.

Mom: (emotionally) আমার সমস্ত জীবন একা (I lived my entire life almost alone ever since I was born), your father died at an early age, you were the only hope and now you are also doing these things… আমার সুখ নেই (I have no happiness).

Me: I am there for you and I need you to be there for me. You are my strength, and if you reject me, then I have nowhere to go…
Mom: I am not leaving you, but just wished you had a better life. So, who is this guy who calls you all the time?
Me: He is my friend and he likes talking to me 🙂

Mom: নাম কি (What’s his name)? What does he do? Where does he live? Did he ask you to speak to me about all this?

Me: His name is *********, and he is ****** by profession. He already has a boyfriend and he did not ask me to talk to you about this. I have been trying to talk to you about this for the last few weeks, but could not bring myself to have this conversation, as I was afraid…

Mom: Afraid of what? Why didn’t you tell me when I was trying to get you married last year? Why this sudden change now?

Me: I did not change. I was just scared to tell you as I was afraid I would lose you 😦

Mom: (with pride) আমি নারী, কিন্তু দুর্বল না | (I am woman, but not weak). I did everything on my own and raised you after your Dad. Why would you lose me?

Me: I know your anger and thought you would kill or disown me and harm or kill yourself after you get to know about it.

Mom: কখনত্ত নহে (Never), why would I kill the one I gave birth to and why on earth would I kill myself? I will die naturally, প্রভু ইচ্ছা (when God wills).

Me: I love you Mom. Thank you so much for accepting me for who I am!

Mom: Who said I accepted you??? I would still want you to get married to a girl.

Me: Again the same thing, mom? I cannot. There have been many instances of people getting married due to the pressure from their parents and society and these marriages ended nowhere but separation, depression, court cases and an unhappy life.

Mom: Ok, সুখী থাক জীবত্কাল (I wish for a happy life for you). Do whatever you want to…

And then I went on to explain many things to her about being queer. I also explained to her the meaning of ‘Wajood’ (name of the new LGBT group in Hyderabad, translates as ‘Identity’).

Rajib.jpg

Pic: Rajib & his mom

Now she is sleeping right beside me as she has been for the last few months and is speaking normally. I hope she will come around in the long run and accept me for who I am.