Yes I am a half male and a half female!

I am Daniel Francies Mary Mendonca, I look like a male, but I identify myself as a women and with this statement I write my story. From the bottom of my heart I thank Ram for doing this great work in getting brave story in front of the world.

Yes I am a half male and a half female. To say these words to the world and make myself comfortable with the statement has taken me long years. It has never been easy to come out of the closet and explain myself to the world, but with time, coming out to the world has filled me with happiness and joy. Through this life journey there was only one person who was next to my heart, which was none other than my friend, my savior, my love “JESUS”. Today with faith and convection I say to the world “I am in love with a man whose name is JESUS”.

I am happy that I am what I am. Looking at my past reminds me of all pain, discrimination, hatred and all form of violence that I have face being an “INTERSEX” person. It was never easy to face this in the, so called normal world.

I was born as a conjoin twin. My sister and I shared my one body. We were one body two heads. Difficult to digest the fact, but the work of nature and the hands of Gods created this wonder. As soon as we were born my sister was born dead. So the doctors took the decision of separating my sister from me. Form outside I looked like a male, but the doctors said that, though he looks like a male he has women organ inside his body this term basically called as hermaphrodite or INTERSEX. The doctor told my parents that your child is a eunuchs. My father, when he came to know this he abandoned me. A child who has just come to this world, doesn’t even know who his parent is, is rejected for who he is, is rejected because of his gender, is rejected because the child is a eunuch. At that very time my aunt who’s my father’s sister adopted me as her own child, she said that

if this child is born the way he is born, there must be God’s plan in creating the way the child is.

Having parents I was given to someone one, having parents but still I was an orphan.

Life continued, right from the time I was small I knew that I was different and the world around me did not leave a single chance of abusing me and making me feel out of this world as if I was an alien that was born on another planet. I never received fatherly attention, my relative always ignored me, and I was always kept behind of attending any religious and family function. Everyday became a questioning day, not single day of my childhood has been a happy day, my age children enjoyed childhood and I enjoyed the loneliness around me. The silence of fear, the silence of voice, the silence of being who you are were all over me.

The time came to me to go to school, the biggest mistake that my family made was putting me in Boys high school. As I was growing up in the school I was the only girl in the school. My teachers my school friends always used to taunt me, tease me and always insult me for who I was. Whenever I used to go to the washroom my senior always use to pull my pants to see what organ I would have down. I have been abused and also my seniors have tried to rape me, but with God’s grace I have been lucky enough to be saved. It was just not the situation at school, in home also when my own cousin brother tried to rape me, I thought at that age who am I, when I shared that incident with my parents, I still remember the words my father told me, it is ok if people use you for sex because people like you are born to serve the society. When people enjoyed their childhood I enjoyed the silence within me. When children played, I played with my questions, the only question asking myself who am I?

The time came that the truth be revealed to me, the question would end but I never expected this would be the way. I was in 4th Std,  9 and a half years old. It was an usual day I went to school, but before I left for school from home I told mom that my stomach was paining. She thought I was just making excuses and sent me to school. I went to school, after the lunch hour, I came back to class suddenly I felt strong pain in my stomach. I ran to the loo, like never before, I had just removed my pants because I felt something coming out of my stomach. I removed my pants and my ass broke into two parts along with the intestine came out my first menstruation. I opened my eyes after 3 days and I found myself in a hospital in London. It was possible to admit me in London because my aunt who had adopted me, her boss took me for treatment in London, so that I could be saved. I asked the doctor what happened, he said there was no place for your menstruation to come out, my child you are different and unique, and you are just here for your treatment.

The treatment went for long 8 years I spent in the hospital. In 8 years of my life in the hospital I have gone through 29 major operation and 19 minor operation and it was only to see how my body is working. Only my aunt was there with me my parents never bothered to ask how I was. It is in this hospital where I came to knew about myself. I tried committing suicide three time and with God’s grace I was saved. The doctors took a decision that they will give me religious counselling. That was the time when thing changed.

This was the time when I met my best friend JESUS, through the Holy Bible. I was very keen to know if there were people like me and what has God to say about people like me. I always cursed myself and God for who I was. But then I came to the verse which changed my whole life and the verses were (Isaiah 56:4-5), Jeremiah 1:5-7). These verses have changed my life.

Slowly as day passed JESUS become close to me and I become close to him. Personnel relationship started to develop with him and I become comfortable with myself. The sooner I accepted myself the way I was the better I felt of myself. Days passed and I was happier than ever. It was declared by the doctors that I had a female organ inside my body so it would be better to change my sex and become a full fledged women. I also was ready for the operation, but just few hours before the operation I decided not to go for the operation and reason was

I will stay in this world with my original identity

and not become  who I am not. Finally 8 years of my life was over in this hospital it was time to decide whether to continue in London or come back to India. It was not easy for me to decide but yet I chose to come down to India, the only reason being is I wanted to show my parents specially my father that an intersex child can also take care of the parents and live a dignified life.

I came to India, it was difficult for me at start and very stressful to be with family, but my mother was always there with me to support me. I wanted to study so with the help of my mom and aunt I was able to study. I gave my private SSC board, I had never even touched my book before and never done formal schooling but with the help of teacher I was able to complete my SSC and even passed the examination. I wanted to study future. I joined college it was again a challenge everyone in the college should teased me, I had no friends. One day I stood up in the college and shared my life story to each and everyone in the class, I started saying that “I am happy to be who I am and I am proud of my sexuality & gender”. After sharing my story things changed I had friends who now understood me and I began to get respect in the college for who I was. It was then I got the biggest opportunity of my life I was selected to represent UN from India on the issues of  LGBTIQ+.

With the help of my mother, aunt and friends life continued. I topped the 12th grade and for further studies took up Bachelor of Social Work. The reason being, I wanted to contribute to the issues of LGBTIQ+ in Indian society. My dream was and is to make society inclusive for gender minority community. It was not easy again to survive in the college and in the society but I made the way through proving my existence and fought for my rights in every stage of my life.

This was my special moment of life when NCCI of churches Fr Philip & Fr Thomas entered into my life. My first journey with them began in Anand (Gujrat) where I was invited to share my story and the friendship with NCCI took me all over India to make people and churches realize the diversity of gender. I realized that God was using me for this work and to bring a new revolution that will definitely create a history in days to come. The journey of NCCI had not only made me grown up mentally but also spiritually.

Today the same world looks at me differently. Today I am working in YUVA as a Community organizer, I am a living testimony of Christ, today I work in the church and take Sunday school, and I am part of youth group. This was only possible because I had accepted myself and the world around me accepted me the way I am. The only difference was I had to prove my existence every day of my life. Today life is much happier but the struggle is on. The day will come when people will accept gender minority and there will be no discrimination in this society.

People will accept the diversity of God and justice will prevail in the Kingdom of God.

I remember the word of the famous writer who says “when you were born you cried while the world rejoiced, when you die let the world cry, while you rejoice.” I am a drop in the vast ocean of world contributing towards the life of gender minority people in this world.

 

PC: Images source linked to the images!

Every day is battle

Anonymous

Yes I didn’t come out to my parents but my surrounding society made them know about my sexuality. Yes I am Muslim and queer. I am proud of my sexuality, of being a 21 year old Bangalore based gay guy, and I am doing my graduation in well-known college of the city. Being a Muslim I never felt uncomfortable about my sexuality. We are 4 members cute family, my mom dad and my sister who is 7 years younger to me. Being queer even I faced sexual abuse, harassment and blackmail during my childhood. In my childhood I thought I was only person in this universe who is attracted to same gender. My first abusive experience was with my own cousin brother, I was in just 8th grade at that time. Later my school senior when I was in 9th grade who abused me couple of times.

My mom was from rural area, she was 37 year when I was 20 and she was suffering my major cardiac problem called as Dilated Right Atrium. Only one side of her heart was working, I took her to all major hospitals in Bangalore and cardiac surgeons.

I felt alone and depressed. To find company I went to dating sites to overcome the sadness, I was around 20 then. I met many guys through dating apps, it was going on well. In the other hand I was the only one taking care of my mom, my dad and my sister never bothered. At my age every one love to explore their life and express themselves, so I was bit open to social networks such as Facebook and Instagram about my sexuality. I had great followings. I was active in events and parties. Another truth is that girls love gays and I had many girls following from my college and my neighborhood too.

I don’t know why I was in depression. Was that due to my sexuality or my problems at home? I was not able to bare my mental trauma, all my days were filled with tears. Every night my pillow and bed knows how many emotions I was hiding inside me. I was not able to withstand it. I had questions “Should I come out to my mom?” But I was not able because she was not healthy and she may get heart attack if she hears about my life because I was the only son for them. But the day came it was January 17 /2017 night my mom expired leaving me alone. I can’t forget that day how it was, I can’t explain it in any words. At last even I was not even able to express my sexuality and reality to my mom. My aunty took my sister because she was young and needed attentions. I was alone at home. My father was working from early morning and coming back by night 10pm. I totally house arrested myself for a month, none of my neighbors or relatives came to meet me.

I myself want to meet a psychiatrist, I was not well. No sleep at night always crying and thoughts of suicide. My psychiatrist was very supportive to me, even though I went to a government hospital. She was the only doctor I meet until now, who was open to hear about my all problems

My neighbors and relatives were always speaking about my pictures on social media and many raised question if I am in gay. The rumor went into my father’s ears. I was studying for my final year exams, he came into my room just cried a lot, and I was today confused about what was happening.

All my relatives showed my picture & videos of my social media, which was bit girlish. My dad abused me so much with his words I was not able to bare them. But I thanked God because someone helped me to come out my dad. He house arrested me, morning from 9-4 college, at 4.40 evening I was to reach home. He was looking in my room, checking my phone; he was drunk and started abusing me and scolding as “hijra chakka ..gay” and all even my neighbors stared speaking that I am hi-tech gay. Not only neighbors, even my sister who is 7 years younger than me started scolding me. She acted like spy on me, she was carrying all information of mine to dad. My dad is blackmailing me if I go out or post any picture on social media he himself will commit suicide and write my name in letter.

I have hope that one day my family and neighboring society will understand me. I hope that day is very near, this typical Muslim family will understand me and bring my smile back on my face.

I know my mom’s soul have understand the emotional burden I am hiding in me, I know she has accepted me from heaven I can even feel her warm hug!

My mom expressed her desire to see a Pride walk

Rohit Bairagi

To Parents:

Hyderabad, 2013

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

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

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

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

Image representational

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

At Work:

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

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

 

If we don’t fight, then who will?

Avinash Kohli

Hyderabad

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

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

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

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

Sexual assault : Image representational

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

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

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

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

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

Homelessness: Image representational

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

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

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

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.

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+.

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.