I gradually accepted myself

“Chaaka hai Kya.”?

“Third Gender hai Tu to”

“Muh Meh LeLe”

“Tere  Boobs Hai.”

These words assassinated athwart me deep into my heart . That group in washroom from who I was always afraid because they were somehow responsible for my abasement.  My chest become a reason for the their fun and jokes. Those jokes have left contravening remarks.

Hello it’s Abhinav here, I belong from a small town where people have narrow mind thinking. I don’t know how to express my views on my sexuality in words, but now it’s high time I don’t want to hide my identity anymore just want to express my views on the sexuality to whole world. The urgency for coming out are those Sleepless Nights,Horrifying threats ,Painful lesions which left his marks.

At age of 13 to 16 which is the most crucial time in a life of a teenagers. At at this age other kids are engaged in playing games , studying ,and creating memories,  God kept me confused in exploring my own identity. And when I finally got to know that I am Gay.! (You read that correct ) .Thanks to my classmate who looks so hot that I got attracted towards him and got to know the truth.

After knowing of this uniqueness was not enough that my fear of being alone and seeking acceptance started hitting me hard. All childhood evenings went crying because of the reason that I m the only person who is suffering from it.

I was stuck in middle of nowhere and was losing my mind, but thanks to my Smartphone from which I explored people ,those people were a ray of hope for me.

I gradually accepted myself as who I am.

My sexual desire was getting  higher day by day. With a lot of courage I visited an unknown person for a hook up. It was something new for me. Gradually I got addicted to the pleasure. One day while sitting I realized that at that age my friends were engaged with bats and ball whereas I was getting into bed with strangers.  That day I pledged to myself that I won’t go with anyone and never cheat any girl in my life .

This is a half coming out hope that God gives me courage for the full one that I can even tell to whole word.

Born Gay Proud to be what I m.!

#abvian

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

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….

 

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.

 

 

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 !!

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

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.