Narnia

Let me tell you a story, A story about a person. Meghana was born on 7th of May 1999. Happy and healthy,they weren’t prepared for the world ahead. At the age of 15, Meghana felt a very different set of emotions for a senior, a beautiful girl this senior was. Meghana then realised that something is different. This was not in the biology books, this was not something their parents spoke about. Now you see there are two parts of this story. Let me tell you my story.

My definition of attraction changed when I met her, she was beautiful and fabulous and I was always found speechless in her presence. Now this feeling I had, I was never exposed to. I took about 6 months to accept myself and then I did. Now accepting is only the beginning. I started to learn, I had an intimate relationship with learning and exploring. I explored my sexuality, learnt and understood that I’m not alone and I have my lovely community. The first person I confided in was my friend and she seemed okay but months later my messages took rounds and I was devastated as from my small town, I could only think of the humiliation I would face. I went to length and bounds to talk to the people and I was outed to complete strangers. That’s when depression hit, I didn’t know what to do with myself anymore.

A few months later I got my acceptance letter and flew away to a university in another country and I felt freedom, I learnt more about myself and I dated the first girl, I dated her and loved her, well that was my perception of love at the time. Time passed by! I came down to visit my family, so I flew back but I was still in love with my girl. I felt lovely when she was around and one day I got a call at a very odd hour telling me that my girlfriend, took her own life. I wanted to know why. It was cuz her parents didn’t accept her sexuality. All the confidence I had to come out to my parents? Gone. Just like the wind. After a month of just silence and anxiety. I sat my dad down, we decided to watch all the Narnia movies. I then turned to him and said, you see all the adventure, happiness and love that they get in the closet, I only wish they could bring it outside the closet. That was the first step.

You see I come from a very orthodox family who doesn’t really believe in love to begin with, but my parents were gems. I once wrote a mail down to my dad, “Good Evening Papa. I have to tell you something. I’ve been keeping it a secret for too long. I’m pansexual. I’m more attracted to girl and I’ve had a girlfriend in the past. Please don’t tell this to Amma, she’s not ready to hear this. Remember Narnia, I want to bring out the happiness and adventures outside the closet. I’m sorry, please accept me. I love you unconditionally.” My heart skipped a beat when I sent him this mail, I was scared. I sat on the floor crying, praying that he doesn’t ask me to pack my bags.

Now you see with my mom, she still doesn’t accept it but she doesn’t say anything against it. I sat her down and just said it, she walked away into the room. She cried and didn’t talk to me for days. She was disgusted when I smiled at her but now she has come to terms with it. She loves me unconditionally no matter what. Now let’s come to the part where I came out to everybody I knew, Instagram was the best way. I added the words pansexual to by bio and I put up a story, which was it. My direct messages were flooded and I got a lot of support initially but most of the other messages were just that the person was lost and he/she didn’t know what it means. Now in the meantime of all this I knew from the time I could understand the word he and she, I didn’t like it. I didn’t like the facts that I had to be labelled. Now I was confused if I was genderfluid or didn’t like being specified into a gender. Then I realised that I got irritated the moment someone said she or he and then I realised, now this was hard explaining to my family but my cousins and everyone who loves me dearly respect my pronouns. Back to Instagram, I updated it as Agender pansexual, now I thought it would be support or just being lost but this was the first time I got a death threat in the mail, then multiple calls shaming me on the phone. I got followed, thrown stones at and I lost a lot of friends and family. I will in the future too. There will be people who don’t understand it but to every one of you I shall say only one thing. If you are opening up, do it with pride and confidence because believe me when I say everyone has their own tale of Narnia in that closet. Bring the adventure, emotions, love, hate, challenges, joy and happiness out into this world, we all need it.

Everyone deserves to be happy and comfortable with their own soul. Love yourself and let no one take it away from you. So pick up your crown, Be the mighty Aslan and take your life into your hands. Express the beauty inside you. In the end I can say only one thing, Love wins, whatever the factors may be one, love made us, love brings us together and can destroy the most evil forces. Love free, live free.

 

The Butterfly Effect

Anonymous

Bangalore

During my childhood, I used to wonder why I was attracted to a few boys in my school but no girls at all. I wouldn’t say that I discovered my sexual orientation at a very young age, but there was something that always bothered me.

As I was growing up I began to realize that I was not alone but it wasn’t considered normal. I too had no desire to explore why I was attracted to boys the way boys were attracted to girls or girls to boys.

Internet had not arrived yet, the only source of information one had were the newspapers and the national TV channel. I guess if I had access to the internet then maybe I had done some search or reading?

Anyways, time passed and I was in college. Till school, either mom or dad was always with me wherever I went. Now I was traveling home-college-home all by myself. Dad didn’t buy me a two-wheeler so it was all public transport. Soon I realized that everything I had heard about women being harassed or molested even in public places wasn’t something limited to the female gender only. Whether it was transport or college, they were everywhere waiting to prey on you. I quickly learned that my safety was in my own hands, from confused to scared to stand up for myself against these predators was my journey till college came to an end. Access to internet played a big role in my life as it was the only source of information that helped me learn about myself. Now I knew that I was gay and I wasn’t ashamed of it.

You must be wondering why I am talking about my college life?

What I saw and learned during those days further pushed me to keep my orientation a secret. I knew better and knew that I had to pretend to be straight. I knew that it would have made me vulnerable and a soft target had anyone figured out that I was gay.

After college, I moved to Bangalore and thus began the Corporate life. Continued to pretend and slowly figured that Bangalore had its very own gay life. I never tried to find more about it but was always curious. I was aging into the life’s phase where my colleagues and friends were getting hitched and the obvious question came to me too.

Dad passed away due to a terminal illness, it was difficult times with my siblings in College. I felt that I had greater responsibilities on my shoulder than worrying about myself. Few more years passed, my siblings had started working and were no longer dependent on me.

Again, I had my life in front of me. I couldn’t take it anymore, I had started to feel guilty that I was lying to my family and friends. I decided that I should tell everyone. I posted it on my Facebook wall and didn’t check my account for the next 24 hours. What I had not realized is that the majority of folks on my friends’ list were from my work. I was nervous and even wanted to delete the post but the cat was out of the bag already! The next day I logged into my Facebook account and witnessed what I could have never imaged in my wildest of dreams. My wall was flooded with appreciation & encouragement. Some even wrote to me privately that they now respected me more for coming out to them. I even got messages from my colleagues in international locations stating how happy they were to learn about me.

But it wasn’t over, I was yet to come out to my family. I wrote an email to my siblings and was surprised that they supported me. It was my mother who took time to come to terms with it. She didn’t speak to anyone for over a week after I had told her that I was gay. She had a lot of questions and didn’t know who to ask. She was confused same as I was once. It took a couple of years but she came along.

And then the ultimate happened, I met the love of my life! I had never thought that I would pursue someone but here I was expressing my love and care for the one and only. He said yes and since then life is beautiful and progressive. It all happened fast, we met with each other’s family soon after we got into the relationship. Yes, our families know about us and our relationship and everyone is happy.

You must be thinking that everything I wrote above is positive so where is the struggle, where is that part that everyone looks for when a gay man tells his story. I want everyone to know ‘what’ creates that positive experience, ‘what’ allows you to be yourself without the fear of being judged and alienated. It’s the ACCEPTANCE of your family, friends, and colleagues.

You can fight the World if you have your close and loved ones who love you back and support you for who you are.

Acceptance from family and friends and acceptance at the workplace have played a crucial role in shaping my life, the life that I live today. I didn’t know anything about the outcome when I made the decision to tell them about my sexual orientation. It’s their love and support that has inspired me to drive inclusion, to provide that positive and encouraging platform for our LGBT friends.

Your acceptance, be it a family member or a friend or someone at your workplace or your neighbor, will go a long way in helping us live a better and happier life!

PC: All images have their source linked.

I care for you a lot

Ajay Redij

It’s a journey about gratitude, love, care, principles, dreams and many more. It’s about my spiritual journey as a human being. I was born in well-educated and culturally sound family. Life has been a roller-coaster ride till date. What makes us lucky to be living beings is that we can know, understand, feel and respond to everything around us, isn’t it?

I came to terms about my sexuality much later, because I always avoided the topic myself. I would attribute my adolescence to “A birth of a river through the glaciers of feelings and emotions, which went deep underground to be discovered later.” I still remember weird dreams that I used to get, where I used to see a world of only men. My logical mind used to poke me about, “How will in this ‘World of Men‘, people will get married to each other?” Since then I have been living two lives. I used to be an ideal kid in family. And the other who was curious about emotional ups and downs happening inside me. I used to avoid the inner voice because, I was afraid of his feelings and I was protecting by hiding him in the deepest parts of my mind. Academically, I was average kid. Music was always my savvier. I am a good singer and used to sing in school programs.

10 years passed by and I was in second year of academic life. Everything was going well with my regular academics and personal life. And then one fine day, I got a huge crush on a guy, those were mixed feelings of joy and fear. I had no option than getting over those feelings. I overcame those situations somehow, but I was hurt. Was totally devastated from inside, was totally heart broken. I was literally ashamed of myself. Time passed and I completed my graduation and opted for Post-Graduation. My post-graduation was more of struggle for everything from my academic, personal and private life. I was in depression. And it was affecting everything around me. My mom used to notice and ask me about “what’s going on?” But I was not able to utter a single word. She already had been through a lot. My depression overtook me so bad that I was on anti-depressant medication for 2 months with counselling sessions. I was not able to tell my problems to my psychiatrist, due to fear of rejection. I used to feel I am only one who is going through this.

And finally I had failed my final exams. That time my situation was like, I had already been placed in a company, I had qualified NET lectureship and I had failed my final exam. I was staying alone in apartment, since I had shifted for job in new city. Those 2 months when I was living on my own and going through all this. I used to keep reading about it. Internet was big help to understand what exactly I was feeling. I came to know that, I was not only one who had been through this. There were many others. I used to see YouTube videos of people expressing their thoughts and that was helpful. I was trying to stay strong, but I was at the verge of going mad. I had read about coming out. How to tell someone about yourself and everything related. One day my elder sister called me and had a nice regular chat. I don’t remember what exactly she said, but that some statement triggered something inside me and I broke into tears. I felt similar feeling as if close beloved one’s death. I was not able to understand, why am I feeling that way? I didn’t eat anything for 2 days. I was having just water to survive and used to cry a lot when alone, which I used to be most of the times. I was realizing that one of my two personalities had died inside me and the one which I used to fake that was the one. I took a decision to commit suicide. 

But before that, I just wanted to give a try: how if I come out to someone so that if I get a support it will be like, “getting a support of stick for a drowning person.” If not than suicide option was already there. I could only think about my best friend in this matter. He told me that he was planning to come for an interview in my city. When we met I got really scared to utter a word about it, I went into complete silence. Then after a deep breath I said, “I wanted to share something with you about me that I have never told to anyone and it’s my big secret.” I just opened website of PFLAG and opened web page of FAQs for the close ones of LGBT. That page has answers to all the questions which come in mind of close ones when someone opens up about sexuality to them. He read it, and looked at me in eyes and asked, “What is it? Why did you give me this?” I said, “I never said about this to anyone, since 12 years. I have been living two lives, one is what you see me as and another is one I am protecting since I realised that I like boys and have no interest in girls. I feel very ashamed of myself and feel very depressing about it. I had taken decision of committing suicide. But to give a last chance I just wanted to tell and see the response about it.” He listened to what I said carefully and said, “See Ajay, why you are ashamed of yourself when you have made your family and every one of us proud by your achievements? Look at your achievements, you are so passionate about your research and you also have qualified NET lectureship. Doesn’t that makes you feel good? I don’t care about whom you like or what you are! You are good human being and that is what matters to me.” I broke into tears and couldn’t believe my ears for some time about what he just said. That moment was first moment of joy I had after so long-time. I felt like I saw a ray of light just passed through some hole in the dark room where I was trapped since many years. Some barrier had been broken and had made water of the river to gush towards its destiny. I did reveal to him that at some point of time I had crush on him and we chuckled and laughed it off.

It was time for my re appearing for my October attempt and I had taken exam leave for a month from my company. I went home and was preparing for my exams. One night during dinner, there was a news about Lady Gaga visiting India for her show in New Delhi around 30th October 2011. In an interview she was talking about her album “Born this way” and about LGBT rights. I just casually asked mom, “What do you think about these people?” She was watching this interview and she looked at me in analytical way and said, “What we can say about them? They are also humans like us.” I was bewildered and surprised about her response.

A day went by, I was preparing for my exams, and my sister came to see if I needed any help in preparations. She is my sweetheart. She has always been with me no matter what. She asked is there anything she can do for me. I was at the edge of breaking down, my eyes were red, throat completely dried. I looked in to her eyes and said, “I wanted to tell you something. “She became very concerned about me. I broke into tears and she got emotional and said, “Tell me whatever it is, no matter what I have been and will be there for you.” I said, “Since 12 years I have been hiding half of my identity, I have been living dual lives.” I couldn’t speak any more & gave her my diary. She went through and after few lines and said, “Ajay, I am not able to understand what this is all about. Please, tell me clearly”. I said, ” I am in depression Tai, I was ashamed of myself for being gay. I had decided to commit suicide”.She interrupted me in anger and said,” Why do you want to even think about suicide? Whenever such thoughts come to your mind remember how much efforts and sacrifices Mom and Dad have taken so that you become a better person in this world? How will we siblings feel devastated if such things happen? Ajay, right now I am shocked and not able to understand how to respond. This all thing is new to me and I need time. But you need to focus on studies now.” And we started studying.

Day of exam approached and she came to drop me. As quite obvious, I couldn’t perform well in exam. In between when I was in exams, my sister told mom about me. I came out of exam hall. She had already come to pick me up. She asked me about how was it? I said that I attempted it. Then, she told me that she had told about it to mom. My hands froze, I was numb. I had to encounter her someday. I entered home. She had just finished her bath, hair covered with towel and was doing Pooja. She saw me coming, I was completely tensed. I saw her eyes red. She was reciting some stotra. She didn’t say anything, just went inside in kitchen. After completing her Pooja rituals, she made lunch ready to serve on dining table. I was sitting in hall. She called sister and informed to tell me to come for lunch. While having lunch, I was looking at her she was making sure I am having proper food, but not talking to me. I was calm as I knew she might be shocked and sad. So I decided let that phase pass away. Days went by in similar way. I used to show my sister examples of people like Ricky Martin, who are living a great life in spite of being homosexual. I used to show her video of people who have suffered because of rejections, confessions, how families of some people support their homosexual kids. She used to ask me all sorts of questions that used to bug her. I was open to everything she asked. She once asked me whether if I feel like a girl or transgender. I said I inclined towards being masculine with feminine touch. She took time to understand that. I used to give her to read all FAQs provided on support websites. I used to feel that it would have been better if those articles would have been also published in regional languages. I wanted mom also to go through those.

Two weeks passed by in similar way. Mom still not talking to me but taking care of me. She used to ask my sister all questions that came to her mind. She ask what wrong they as humans had done that they got kid like me? Maybe because of having 2 elder sisters this might have happened.  She was in a situation where she couldn’t even consult anyone about this. One of my uncles is psychologist, she insisted my sister to take me to him. One evening, I was preparing for my last paper of my exam and I wanted to break ice. So usually I and mom share one cute moment together when I do her oil massage on head. She was watching some programme on television. I took oil bottle and started my conversation, first she hesitated. I was just controlling myself from breaking down to cry.  I said, Mom, why aren’t you talking to me? I know you are holding something inside you. I care about you, I don’t want your blood pressure to shoot high. I want you to express what you have in your mind. You want to scold me do it? You want to beat me do it? I would be really happy if you kill me also, anyways I am part of you. I owe my life to you. This is true that I have not talked about it to you. But mom, there was a time when I was ashamed of myself and wanted to leave this world. She just said, “I am not angry upon you. I want you to meet Psychiatrist uncle and get guidance upon this. I would like to know his opinion in this matter. Look, Ajay I care for you a lot. More than you imagine. And I am worried about how will you lead your life with all this without acceptance in our society? As of now, focus on your studies and build you position so strong that no one dare to think of judging you. Become a strong personality and inspiration to many by your good deeds. That’s what I am expecting from you“. I met uncle and as excepted he was supportive and conveyed this to mom.

Days passed and one day I took her for “Ek Madhav Baug” play by Humsafer Trust. That’s when she fully accepted me.

PC: All images linked to their original sources.

Bhai Dooj

Unmesh Potdar

 

“Happy Diwali! Happy Bhau-beej!” chimed sister right from the bungalow gate. Mother ran down the steps as usual to shower kisses on her grandchildren. It was Diwali 2015; day of bhai dooj: when both my sisters will come down to Satara to celebrate the festival.

Day went well, exchanging gifts, jokes and family gossips. Once that quota was over, father turned towards his favorite subject: His son’s marriage.

“I am not forcing you to do anything”, he hissed. “I am just curious to know your plans for future. Look around in our colony. Most boys of your age have at least 1 kid now. Your mother and I have to answer people, you know!” By now, I had lost appetite even though there was a plate full of my favourite Chakalis and Khoya Karanjis in front of me. “Let’s have a discussion.” He said. This is his favourite line because in such discussions he’s the only one who gets to talk.

I have not thought about marriage yet, Baba.” I tried sounding disinterested as possible – “You know I am not stable career wise. Let’s take possession of our Pune flat first, let me buy a car and have some savings, then I can think about it. Jaldi Kya Hai?”

I knew I had pressed Play button on a record player. I am so used to this- He starts off by saying how I never listen to him, How I am not serious about my future, How he’s always tried to be my friend more than a father but I always cling on to my mother’s Pallu; etc etc etc. I prefer to keep mum. Else it’s WW III on the dining table.

20 minutes of him going on and on about the same topic, there was a moment when I lost my patience. “I don’t wanna get married”; I barked. “Look around! You think marriage is the ultimate goal of life? Sorry to disappoint you but I don’t think that way. I don’t believe in the institution of marriage. So henceforth don’t ask me anything about getting married.”

I could see his flushed face. “What the hell are you talking about? Did you learn these things in the UK? What now…. you want to be in a Live-in relationship or what? I may even agree to that! Who’s the girl? Is there one? Tell me! I am talking to you!! Tell me!!!”

He had always mocked me and mother with a phrase- ‘Mounam Sarvam Sadhanam’. (Silence can convey everything) I chose the same path. Being quiet. He kept staring at my face with a demanding look. I was still biting my nails. “FINE!!!!”; he suddenly bursts like a volcano, “Don’t tell me anything! I don’t want to be part of this conversation anymore. Talk to your mother and sisters like you always do. I am out of here!”

We heard the car engine growl. Before mother can even utter a word, he was out of the bunglow gate.

“What is the matter, Unu?” She turned towards me. I can sense her concern in that kind voice. “Why are you saying all this? Has anyone said anything to you? See, we all have to get married one day. We need someone to look after us in our old age. Spouse, babies, grandchildren: they give meaning to our life. What’s causing you this fear towards marriage? Why this hatred towards girls?”

“Aie, sit down” I muttered. “You want to know if I am scared to get married? Do you think I have hatred towards women? I’ll tell you something that I have struggled for 28 years of my life. Don’t think that this has dawned upon me overnight. I have given it serious thoughts since last 3 years and only because of that I can gather enough courage to tell you that I don’t have any feelings for women. I have feelings for men.”

I am sure if anyone had dropped a pin, we would have heard its sound. I was just cold and numb. Cold and numb with sweaty palms. Most awkward 5 minutes of our lives.

“Have you considered visiting a counsellor…….”, sister tried to mumble but I cut her off. “I have done the counsellor as well as psychiatrist bit, Tai. As I said, I have given this enough time to gather courage to speak in front of you. I am not saying accept this right now. I have taken years to accept myself. Take your time. But this is me.”

Silence just grew deeper as the night progressed. I tucked myself in the bed yet my ears were stressing themselves to catch traces of whispers outside my room.

Next day was the real struggle. I think it sank into everyone what exactly happened yesterday. I knew: an open dialogue is much needed and that’s what I did.

“Put yourself in that girl’s shoes.” I had told my sisters. “Every girl wants and deserves a perfect husband. Do you think I’ll be able to satisfy her emotionally? You both are married. What if you discover that your husbands are Gay? How will you feel? And who gave me rights to toy with a girl’s emotions?” They gave me a startled stare. “I agree to what you are saying, Unmesh” elder sister spoke. “But what is the future of this? This isn’t legal in India. You know what sort of narrow minded city our parents live in. How are you planning to deal with this?”

I had to explain to them that though it is bit difficult to find a stable partner, but there’s always hope. How we are fighting our battle for our rights and how family is the first place where we get immense support.

“We are always there to support you but you understand that we have our families too. Focus on your career and find yourself someone to take care of you. For god’s sake, don’t die like Parween Babi.”

Talking to mother was extremely emotional for me. I am attached to her deeply since childhood and I always felt like I am cheating on her by hiding this big secret of mine. I knew that behind her disappointed face she was trying to hide her worry for me. More than the society, she was worried for me, haunted by the common question: Humare Baad Tumhara Kya Hoga?

Father had his own doubts about what is homosexuality and I’d never blame him as he belongs to a city which takes immense pride in defining masculinity and femininity: Kolhapur. “I know you watch blue films”, he said in hushed voice, making sure mother isn’t around. “I have seen those CD’s in your room. Dont you feel aroused looking at those women? Khada nahi hota?” “Hota hai”, my tone was cold as ice. “But looking at the man in porn, not because of the woman.”

And then there was silence.

Since then three more bhaidoojs have come and gone. I think they’ve made peace with the fact that I am not going to marry ever, with a girl at least. I still think they are struggling to understanding homosexuality. I am glad that I took a step to take that huge burden off my chest. They are still worried about my future, but at least they are happy, because I am happy.

A Miss or a Messy Miss

  “Had it not been a miss by God, I would have been born as Miss”

Why is this a mess? Because the incongruity between mind and body generates a huge amount of stress and its energy sapping (cannot be compensated by Glucon :D). To compound it, there’s a hell of process to go through to be what I really am. There’s a fear of outcome of process; what if it turns out different than what brain has perceived because hormones have already played the unintended part, so, how much it could be corrected. To further compound it, there is massive societal pressure; many people tend to fear us or make fun of us. To compound it even more, I like my job, what will happen to it.

So, there’s no easy way out, except the technology shown in Mr. India or ability possessed by Raven (X-Men). After battling these thoughts for so many years, the stress absorbing black hole (brain) is bursting with this negative energy, so, finally I have reached a stage where thoughts have turned suicidal. Although I am seeking counselling to manage them; I have no idea who will go first, so, a snippet of how it has been till now.

Childhood
————–
As is common with kids who have Gender Identity Dysphoria (GID), there’s somehow a belief from this early age, that there’s something which is not right. Unfortunately, there’s no name which pops up what to name “not right”. This is more so, if you are not a millennial, since the internet was not there, not much content on television except Ramayan/Vikram Betaal/Shaanti. Oh! By the way, I liked Mandira Bedi in Shaanti too much.

So, before too much negative thoughts start making sense, I have been recently diagnosed by a psychiatrist with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). I then starting co-relating my quite fearful thoughts up till now. I think it’s because of this, I never came out to my parents, fearing exceptionally bad things could happen. Now, as if other stresses were not enough for me, there’s another thing messing in the black hole, which is not allowing me to make my decisions as quickly as I would want. In this case, so many years.

I was a thin frame not growing more than 4’6″ till my 10th standard. So, with a tiny frame, I was not physically prepared to respond to being bullied. There were many instances which I could easily remember, out of which here is one. It may not sound a big thing as it is, but seeing from kid perspective getting ridiculed for a small thing as choice of color is torture. When discussing about things, other kids used to ask the favorite color, so, obviously favorite color was blue, although I liked blue, there were other colors too which I couldn’t name them because I have seen kids being ridiculed just for this stuff.

A good few centimeters later, where I could wear non-infant clothes, there was instance, when my mom was making a skirt for my cousin and she used to check its size on me. I was happy with it, now you can imagine why. Obviously, someone has to make fun of me, so, it were the siblings. I was not born thick skinned, so, although I was happy wearing the skirt, I chose to resist the temptation because I didn’t want to take this bullying from siblings. Then, a few more centimeters later, I was given my elder sister’s jean which I obviously liked as the fit was good, and then had to return it to her since I was not ready for the name-calling. My mom thought that I don’t like jeans and never got me any jeans over next few years. There were many other things too but, I will move onto some more centimeters ahead.

Coming out – Myself/Mom
———————————–
When I was around 11 years old, there came a time which initially seemed a phase to me. I just wanted to be a girl and, I had no clue why, and there was more stress building up. My mom’s a homemaker, and I had seen all the stuff which she used to do. Although I wanted to try it out to learn that, but, I was too afraid to come out because I thought my education will be stopped and I’ll be forced to sit at home. So, I decided to just go on, and study well. I started struggling a lot with studies over next years but somehow I made something out of me. On the same centimeters count, one day the GID stress subsided a bit and I was bit relaxed thinking, it’s a phase and it’s gone. However, it wasn’t a phase, the feeling came again may be within 6 months or so, which never got ever, and probably be over when I am brain dead.

It was my 12th standard when I came out to my Mom. I had no thoughts about how my mom would react, but I was like not prepared for anything. She asked me if it’s about some girl or some stuff I am unable to recall. I pleaded my mother not to tell papa, because my anxiety had me thinking that papa will blame my mom, so, I wanted to block this information from him. Although I knew, papa is quite good, even then I had some more fearful thoughts. So, few inches later, I got into engineering college, and GID stress was growing, still hiding behind anxiety thinking that it’s the right way to go at least for now.
A consolation is that I have worked for quite a number of companies which would otherwise have been out of my reach. These are really big companies, so, anxiety took many things – but gave me quite a lot too.

Career
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I completed my Engineering and got a job. The only company I feared was Infosys because of its dress code. I never wanted to part of it, because I knew I couldn’t survive in it. At least casual clothing was a bit of breather in that stranglehold. I will not reveal the company which I worked for in the first. The next company I switched too, I started dressing androgynously and was already getting the eyebrows raised. It’s common to be ultra-self-conscious when starting out like that. Finally, I decided to tell papa, but again couldn’t do so because of some more scary thoughts.

I feared I could be administered testosterone shots because I had already gone through some text that it is due to hormonal imbalance in pregnancy and I feared that if he will stumble on it, I am gone. I had also read about people getting electric shocks for this. To me being alive with this stress was okay than being through that torture.

Now
——
Now, most of my family knows who I am, and obviously they are not liking it. In past few months, I have been trying to cope up with all this stress as I have been doing since so long, but the black hole of stress is spinning out of control. I am quite emotional and because of my commitments I have already made in my life I have come to a crossroads. Although, all the commitments have been very transparent, and thankfully I don’t have the guilt of hiding anything, but still.

So life goes on, and lets see what’s in store next.

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/

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?

Tears of exasperation by an effeminate are crushed

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

Her mantra:

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

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

Kinnaras of the Dark World

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– SHILOK MUKKATI

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.