I am Jabez Kelly and I am gaaaaaaaaayyyy!!!! I am an eighteen year old gay dude who has no clue what he is doing in his life. Trust me, not everyone is sane and sorted. My life story is daunting and interesting at the same time. Put on your seat belts and get ready for this mysterious roller coaster hell of a ride.
From my childhood I knew I was different but, I did not know I was gay. I just knew I was different. I liked wearing my mother’s clothes, in fact I am way better than her in draping a saree. Born in a very orthodox Anglican family, doing anything that did not fit the norms was shunned. (ha ha ha, look at me !) I was a miracle baby right from my birth. Let me tell you why. My parents made me when they hit their mid-life crisis. That is a polished way of saying they made me when they were too old to be making babies. My mother had a bleeding when I was 5 months old and the doctors suggested aborting the fetus was the right thing to do and my mother still thought I had a great life ahead (poor mom) And by the eighth month she again had a bleeding and this time the doctors were not leaving my mother unless they cleaned me out. My mother still thought I would have a great future! oh ! My poor mother! And when she said no, the doctors warned that if she gave birth, the baby will either be physically or mentally challenged.
Two months later all they could hear was how fat,femme and dark I was (just kidding). I was a healthy baby weighing 3.89 kgs (details people shouldn’t know). Growing up in Chennai was difficult. I was judged for everything I did. I was the one who was different in everything I did. I played video games when people were out playing cricket. I was the one who ate pasta alfredo when everyone ate biryani. I think I made my point. Me coming out as gay happened only a few years back. I was not sure if I was gay or a woman and started taking hormone injections. Then realized I wasn’t a woman and I was born a proud gay man (circle of life from lion king plays in the background) A very religious Christian gay dude, really hard to find. I came out to my friends. Some of them were really supportive and the others not so much*momma still loves you people!*
People made fun of me for wearing skirts, I call it jealousy. People made harsh comments on my makeup, thanks, I have improved myself.
“I came out to the whole world on facebook”, sounds familiar? Yeah, not a grand coming out per se but was really amused by the reaction of the people. Some of my favorites-“ You are my brother and I will still love you the same, “Jabez, you think I did not know all this time?”
“ Gurrrrl !!! Welcome to the club !
My relatives were really happy that I did too. My mother got to know about this post after a really long time *thanks to those kinda relatives*. My mother being a very staunch Christian could not accept the fact that I was different in a different way. It took her some time to digest it. One day she came up to me and said “I understand if you are a transgender and I completely support you.” I broke to pieces as all those days of making her read about homosexuality, showing her clips about gay men and everything and this is what she had to say to me ?
But I am happy in a way that she understands what I am going through and how difficult it is for me to face this society. She has always stood by me and she’s my rock.
And then college happened.
School days were fun because all of us were weird in our own ways so the judgment was less. College was fun for the first few weeks; getting to know different people and drooling over really hot guys and after a few months things started getting serious. I had to quit college because of the homophobia that existed. “Ah ! Why couldn’t you continue?”, “ Homophobic people are everywhere”, “Your life is ruined!”,” Why couldn’t you act straight?” – These were some of the questions people had for me. The only answer I had for them was, “why should I tolerate?” I fought for myself and my fellow LGBTQ+ mates but I failed. This does not mean I give up. This means homophobia won!
I recently participated in a Tamil TV show called Nijangal hosted by Mrs. Kushboo. We spoke about LGBTQ issues and the host asked if my parents knew about me and if they were supportive and I said my mother is okay with me being gay but my father doesn’t know. My father being technologically dumb took another two weeks for another relative to tell him about the show and he questioned me about how I identified myself to be gay and why I did not want to become straight and how he could help me with therapy. But he realized how futile it was suggesting something like that was. See, told ya, my coming ain’t that amusing!
January 14th 2017, the momentous day my drag persona Gabrielle Jasmine Marquez came into the lime light at the Chennai rainbow film festival. I was apprehensive about how people might take a drag performer in a society where everything is considered taboo. But the performance was a great success. Post film festival I was contacted by people to host their private events and parties and I started making a living out of it. Remember, when life gives you lemons, you make a chocolate tart and leave everyone wondering how on earth you did it.