Chocolate tart

Jabez Kelly

Chennai

Jabez (in center)

I am Jabez Kelly and I am gaaaaaaaaayyyy!!!! I am an eighteen year old gay dude who has no clue what he is doing in his life. Trust me, not everyone is sane and sorted. My life story is daunting and interesting at the same time. Put on your seat belts and get ready for this mysterious roller coaster hell of a ride.

From my childhood I knew I was different but, I did not know I was gay. I just knew I was different. I liked wearing my mother’s clothes, in fact I am way better than her in draping a saree. Born in a very orthodox Anglican family, doing anything that did not fit the norms was shunned. (ha ha ha, look at me !) I was a miracle baby right from my birth. Let me tell you why. My parents made me when they hit their mid-life crisis. That is a polished way of saying they made me when they were too old to be making babies. My mother had a bleeding when I was 5 months old and the doctors suggested aborting the fetus was the right thing to do and my mother still thought I had a great life ahead (poor mom) And by the eighth month she again had a bleeding and this time the doctors were not leaving my mother unless they cleaned me out. My mother still thought I would have a great future! oh ! My poor mother! And when she said no, the doctors warned that if she gave birth, the baby will either be physically or mentally challenged.

Two months later all they could hear was how fat,femme and dark I was (just kidding). I was  a healthy baby weighing 3.89 kgs (details people shouldn’t know). Growing up in Chennai was difficult. I was judged for everything I did. I was the one who was different in everything I did. I played video games when people were out playing cricket. I was the one who ate pasta alfredo when everyone ate biryani. I think I made my point. Me coming out as gay happened only a few years back. I was not sure if I was gay or a woman and started taking hormone injections. Then realized I wasn’t a woman and I was born a proud gay man (circle of life from lion king plays in the background) A very religious Christian gay dude, really hard to find. I came out to my friends. Some of them were really supportive and the others not so much*momma still loves you people!*
People made fun of me for wearing skirts, I call it jealousy. People made harsh comments on my makeup, thanks, I have improved myself.

“I came out to the whole world on facebook”, sounds familiar? Yeah, not a grand coming out per se but was really amused by the reaction of the people. Some of my favorites-“ You are my brother and I will still love you the same, “Jabez, you think I did not know all this time?”

“ Gurrrrl !!! Welcome to the club !

My relatives were really happy that I did too.  My mother got to know about this post after a really long time *thanks to those kinda relatives*. My mother being a very staunch Christian could not accept the fact that I was different in a different way. It took her some time to digest it. One day she came up to me and said “I understand if you are a transgender and I completely support you.” I broke to pieces as all those days of making her read about homosexuality, showing her clips about gay men and everything and this is what she had to say to me ?

But I am happy in a way that she understands what I am going through and how difficult it is for me to face this society. She has always stood by me and she’s my rock.

And then college happened.

School days were fun because all of us were weird in our own ways so the judgment was less. College was fun for the first few weeks; getting to know different people and drooling over really hot guys and after a few months things started getting serious. I had to quit college because of the homophobia that existed.  “Ah ! Why couldn’t you continue?”, “ Homophobic people are everywhere”, “Your life is ruined!”,” Why couldn’t you act straight?” – These were some of the questions people had for me. The only answer I had for them was, “why should I tolerate?” I fought for myself and my fellow LGBTQ+ mates but I failed. This does not mean I give up. This means homophobia won!

I recently participated in a Tamil TV show called Nijangal hosted by Mrs. Kushboo. We spoke about LGBTQ issues and the host asked if my parents knew about me and if they were supportive and I said my mother is okay with me being gay but my father doesn’t know. My father being technologically dumb took another two weeks for another relative to tell him about the show and he questioned me about how I identified myself to be gay and why I did not want to become straight and how he could help me with therapy. But he realized how futile it was suggesting something like that was. See, told ya, my coming ain’t that amusing!

January 14th 2017, the momentous day my drag persona Gabrielle Jasmine Marquez came into the lime light at the Chennai rainbow film festival. I was apprehensive about how people might take a drag performer in a society where everything is considered taboo. But the performance was a great success. Post film festival I was contacted by people to host their private events and parties and I started making a living out of it. Remember, when life gives you lemons, you make a chocolate tart and leave everyone wondering how on earth you did it.

I am not like other boys

Shivaji Bhattacharjee

Bangalore

Being a shy introvert boy it was not easy for me to deal with, or even understand my sexuality when I was a kid. But I always knew there is something different from my other school mates who used to have crushes on girls from the neighboring girls’ school. My mom was a working lady and I was a home boy, I always loved to do household work. Helping my mom arranging the house when she got back late from work, definitely made her happy. She used to hear from our neighbors that she was supposed to get a baby girl but by mistake it became a boy, but she never reacted to such comments.

As I grew older, my parents started to notice that I am not like other boys, I didn’t go out and played cricket or football like other boys, instead stayed at home and played with cousin sisters and their dolls. My sisters used to love painting my nails, and I used to enjoy that, but dad used to get furious on them and me. I was my mom’s wardrobe manager (lol) used to decide what she will wear for office, help her to do saree, help her in shopping sarees; again all this never made my dad happy.

I remember I broke my hand once in class three, while trying to steal my
aunt’s lipstick kept in the upper cabin. It used to sadden them seeing me grow up differently, the same acts that used to make her smile when I was a kid, now angered her. And seeing my parents’ reaction I started to keep things more within me, I was scared to share how I felt. I still remember I had a crush on my cousin brother’s friend as a kid and then only once my closest cousin sister for the first time asked me are you Gay? I didn’t have a reply for her, I myself didn’t know then.

I am also a victim of abuse, forced sex when I was 14, and it lasted for three years till I was 16. It was my cousin brother, as I said before I was a shy and introvert kid, never knew whom to tell, how to tell. Few times my mom and grand mom saw marks on me they asked but I couldn’t open mouth in fear, I didn’t know then what was happening. At times I used to hate him and avoid him, other times I used to feel good and then hate myself for that. I was so confused in all those years, and being a kid of 90s things was not that open, no internet like now and didn’t know what really was going on. After few years I stopped talking to him, started avoiding him though we lived in same house.

Around age of 19 I left home for Bangalore for studies and from then I have always been in this city, and in these many years the connection between me and my family faded. I explored myself here more, became more independent in thoughts, understood my sexuality and was dealt with my first ever miserable relationship and break up. By this time my parents were thinking of my marriage. Up til now we never talked about my sexuality as I never felt that I needed to, as they were very far and we used to meet once or twice in a year, I never felt it was necessary.
By then I was already out to my closest college friends in Bangalore, that cousin sister who asked me long back if am I gay (I replied to her after so many years and she wasn’t surprise) and my few other cousin sisters whom I am close to. But it was not easy to tell things to my parents as I am the only child and I knew they had expectations from me. I was in huge mental pressure and took help from a counselor. When my parents were visiting me in Bangalore, I spoke to them about my sexuality and tried to explain to them about my attraction towards men.

I also explained the problems which we all will have to face, if I go for a forced marriage. They heard and were obviously disappointment, it was clear from their faces. Now they don’t talk about it anymore neither they force me for marriage (they never did even before). They keep reminding me that I’ll have to live alone in future, I guess that bothers them more than my sexuality.

 

The queer siblings

Rahul & Mohini

Bangalore

Excited he runs down to the first floor to meet her right next to the lift at the mall.

He: “third shelf, second row, dark grey hot pants”

She: “checked shirt on display in the men’s section”

They met at the billing counter, he asked showing the checked shirt “yehi wala na?”[This one right?]

She: “YES!”

She: “tere hot pants bill kara diye hain” [I have billed the hot pants for you]

 

Little did the world know that in a small town of Nagpur, growing up were two siblings much like any other brother & sister but with their own little secret!

They grew up as any other siblings yet their choices were very different. She hated her pleated hair & he hated his checked school trousers. She liked wearing jeans & shirt, while he was fascinated by his mother’s lipstick collection. When it came to toys, they were happy to exchange. It was a fair trade of a Barbie doll for the racing car.

 

Rahul:

I knew I was different & realized that I am gay but what thrilled me even more is, there is someone else in the family who is also different.

As we grew up we never talked about it with each other. We studied in a coed school and we made our own set of friends. If not studying I’d mostly spend time either sketching and playing with my GI Joe figures or dressing up my sisters Barbie dolls with dresses made out of crepe paper and glitter. By the 9th grade I fell in love with boy who I befriended and long before we knew, we were dating. I would sneak him into the house in the middle of the night & my sister knew about it but she kept my secret.

One fine afternoon I walked past her bedroom’s ajar door to find her embraced in a cozy hug with her girlfriend. That day I learnt her little secret which stayed a secret much like mine with her.

Then on started a journey of two siblings who knew they were different from the world & same as each other.

I would help pass her love letter to her girlfriend & she would cover up for me if I was out late spending time with my boyfriend.

Whenever I had a heartbreak she would be the only one knowing what I am going through, and when she had a break up I was there for her.

Mohini:

I was in my 7th standard, while playing a truth & dare game this girl in my class gave a peck on my cheeks, and that created a flutter in my stomach. A girl kissed me & I liked it.

In my 10th class my secret crush said that I have a really long nose and she would like to rub her nose against mine. “Mann mein laddu phuta” [butterflies in my stomach] but I said no to her. She bet that she would do that within a week & that secretly thrilled me. Then that fine morning in the class when it was just the two of us, she came close face to face and rubbed her nose against mine; I was on cloud nine.

These little incidents affirmed my interest and my attraction to girls and it felt the most natural to me.

PC: Maddy

We used to come cross each other while going to school and exchange smiles. One fine day I was introduced to her through a common friend. We bonded as we started talking and this was the first time I realized that our feelings were mutual. It was lethal attraction. She frequented my home and we would spend the summer afternoons together, lost in love 🙂

But soon I realized that I was not the only one love-struck under this roof, my brother also had a “special” friend. While my girlfriend came home during the day, my brother would sneak his boyfriend in the night.

I was happy to know my brother is just like me.

Years passed and with each passing year our bond grew stronger, we knew about each other but we never talked about it. We both made our career choices, she moved to Singapore with her girlfriend and I moved to Bangalore exploring new opportunities and of course love. This was the time when we both were happily in love with our partners.

Rahul: I would visit her as often as I could. She was and still is the closest to me in our family. During my visits, I would feel the urge to talk to her about both us siblings being queer. It was time we acknowledged that we are different from most of the other siblings. I wanted to re-define our bond as siblings and acknowledge new reasons to belong and am glad I did.

We introduced our partners to each other and it was a liberating and overwhelming experience. We grew closer and re-bonded at a different level as modern queer family.

PC: Maddy

Our parents knew about us being queer and are very understanding and accepting although they took some time to adjust to our world. We both came out individually at our own pace.

While our mom being a hopeless romantic she had always believed that love conquers all. For a woman who eloped to get married to the love of her life, for her love has no gender.  Our Dad on the other end accepts us the way we are but keeps reminding us to be ready for the future where they won’t be around to us.

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/

I will not marry

Suresh Ramdas

Bangalore

To Myself:

I figured out that I was different from the other boys during schooling days.  I was fighting these feelings that I had for guys. Scared that these feelings don’t come out in the open. This confusion continued all the way to college. But it was during my 2nd year of graduation I realized who I really was. I realized that my attraction towards boys was real, until then I thought it was a phase.

Thanks to internet, I was able to figure that I wasn’t the only one in this world who was having an attraction for guys. I met some guys from chat (17 years back it was called mirc chat). I explored my sexuality quite well during those years. I even tried dating girls to see if all this is a scam in my head. Even after all this, I was still not remotely thinking of saying that I AM GAY. Then one evening during my conversations with one of the guys over coffee is when I felt that I was gay. Later walking back to my hostel room, I said that to myself, “I AM GAY”. I felt good about myself. Never understood the impact of saying that then, but I so strongly feel that now and am glad that I said that to myself.

 

Coming Out to My Best Friends:

college friend

During my second year of college, I got introduced to a guy who was full of fun, loves bikes and a traveler. During the initial days, we used to hang around, chill out after college and have a good time. One day, something happened for which I was there when he needed someone to support him and ever since we have been best buddies.

After I got comfortable with myself, I wanted to let him know. I was not sure how he will react. I was scared of losing this amazing friendship. I battled this around a lot in my head and finally decided to come out to him. After our classes got over, we met at our regular hang out place and asked him to drop me to my hostel room. While we were on the way, my heartbeats never sped that fast.  I told him that I have very important and personal thing to say. He kept a straight face thinking that it’s a new crush of mine at college that I wanted to tell him. (I faked having crushes on girls during college so that my friends think I’m straight).

After a deep breath, I told him I was gay. He was indeed surprised as I could see that on his face and he didn’t speak. Then something in my head told me to tell him that it’s ok for him to not be my friend after this and I will respect that. I

Suresh with his bestie

also told him that it was really nice knowing you and please keep this with him. I rattled all of this and didn’t wait for him to respond. I just left for my room. The coming days I avoided to have a conversation with him. After classes I just went back to my room. After 3 days, I remember, he barged into my room. He then said which I still remember very clearly, I don’t care who you like, but never ever again say that we will not be friends. I was clearly taken aback. He seemed hurt and sad by the fact that I told him to end the friendship. He explained to me as well, that everyone have their choices, like some guys like skinny girls or girls who have more flesh or girls with long hair or big boobs and all. We don’t break friendships with people who like different things. What if you like a guy? I’m fine with that. Those last words just melted me and I fell in love with him for accepting me who I am. He later hugged me and held me for a while longer than usual. That hug was the hug of acceptance, love, respect and everlasting friendship.

colleagues

My colleagues at work with whom I joined and we became friends. During my working days, I was pretty much gay during the weekends and in weekdays, I constantly made sure that I hid my gayness thinking it shouldn’t affect my career. I was living a dual life which was frustrating but was very much required. It so happened that even my colleagues who became my friends didn’t know about this. They used to crack gay jokes during dinner or over drinks and I couldn’t tell them anything, just had to laugh along outwards but inwards was feeling very bad. This hiding continued for a couple of years and then one day I decided that during the New Year’s Eve of 2006 I will let my friends know. When the day arrived, I was still thinking should I tell or not. But after a stiff drink of vodka, I got the courage to tell them. An hour after midnight, I broke the news to them letting them know that I was gay. In this group of friends, 2 were girls and when I told them they smiled, while the 2 guys were a bit surprised and upset. This kind of got me worried. The girls were all thrilled and very happy for me. They mentioned that they always knew that something was different about me which they were absolutely fine with that. They were also very proud that I took such a bold step to be who I am and live my life. When I spoke to the guys, one of them mentioned that he was very upset that I didn’t tell him who I really was. I was shocked. Then he went on to say that I didn’t consider anyone to be my best friend and that’s why I didn’t share this information all this while. All this time they considered me to be their best friend as they shared all their secrets (good, bad and ugly). They felt bad about it, but when I explained to them, they understood why I was quiet about it. After that we celebrated New Year’s again and this time it was for me. A lot of hugging and kissing on my cheeks happened. It was one of my best new year’s in a really long time.

Coming Out to My Parents:

This I think would be the most difficult but the most required stories to tell. By the time I came out to my parents, I was very comfortable with my sexuality, but didn’t have the heart to tell my parents that I was gay. Around 4 years before coming out, my parents had started seeing girls for me thinking it will take time to find the right match for me. During those days, I used to tell my mom that I don’t want to get married. They thought that I didn’t want to get married as I didn’t want to be a responsible guy. My close friends started getting married and this added more pressure to my parents to get me married sooner. But another interesting part during the match making was that my horoscope was not matching with the girls. Due to this I was even more convinced that I wouldn’t need to tell them as I won’t get married. Mentioned this to mom that even god didn’t want me to get married and hence all this is happening. They said that there is a girl in someplace in this earth who is born and waiting for you. I secretly hoping for it to be a guy. I was seeing my parents getting worried about this whole thing. I spoke to my girlfriends who were married, asking their opinion, if it will be right to get married to a girl for my parent’s sake just in case they find a girl. Those were some of the most interesting and heart to heart conversations I’ve had with a girl about everything about a marriage. I then made a very firm decision that I will never get married to a girl and spoil her life for the sake of parents or family or relatives or society.  I also asked my guy friends. They said if you can get married to a girl then go for it as you don’t need to make your parents feel sad and bad. What if something happens to them and you will feel guilty all your life. This also made sense. Making parents proud was one of the key elements that is being instilled in our lives from a very young age. So again I was going through a lot of turmoil which was affecting all aspects of my life. But the fact of cheating a girl is not the right thing to do was always in the back of my mind. Then finally the day that I dreaded came, when my parents told me that they have found a girl whose horoscope matched with mine. They were relieved that their second son’s marriage will happen soon. I was too stunned and shocked to hear that. Later that day I thought and thought of every possible situation that I could think of, the good, the bad and the ugliest.

Suresh with his parents

Then I made my choice and the next day, I called my parents into my room and told them I will not marry. When they asked me why, I said, I’m gay. My dad was like, what’s gay? My heart sank even more thinking how naive my parents are and it will take a long time for them to even understand who I truly and. The next couple of hours were really difficult, as I had to explain to them about many things. Emotions were all over. Parents were angry, sobbing, upset and shocked. All this while, I maintained my composure but at times cried as I couldn’t see my parents cry because of me. I had also decided not to give in to their emotional blackmail, instead tried reverse psychology. I told them, they taught me to be truthful and honest which I’m being honest now. I told them that I will not be happy if I get married to a girl as I can’t love a girl. I even said, if they want me to get married which will make them happy, I will get married. But I won’t be happy one bit in that. That shocked them even more as they said they wanted me to be happy. A lot of a conversations happened for which my parents didn’t have an answer as they were all valid and logical questions. During all this drama (that’s what I think of it as now), I felt relieved, and a heavy weight let off, unburdening of something. I felt light, very happy and proud that I could tell all of this to my parents. I was screaming inside with joy and happiness.

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?

You sure about being gay, right?

Introduction:
Mr Bildungsroman
30/Male/Gay/Single
While I’ve known that I’m gay for the longest time, I have, like many gay men in India,  gone through my fair share of  – self-doubt, fervent prayers that I wake up straight, self-loathing, self-conversion, having girl-friends, heart aches, trying to fit myself into the ‘Straight-acting’ macho-culture mode, been a ‘loner’, being in denial, avoiding, etc, of being ‘gay’.
Tintin – Best friend of over 20 years.. Came ‘Out’ to him a coupla weeks ago.. Listener / Reader /  Insightful / Car Lover / Perceptive.. He is happily married to Bangles, his wonderful wife..
——————————————————————————————————————
Backstory: A week after I came ‘OUT’ to Tintin, we had a conversation as follows.

Tintin: Did we really have that conversation or was I dreaming?
Mr Bildungsroman: What about?
Tintin: The conversation we had by the seashore..
Mr Bildungsroman: Yeah we did have the conversation,why would you be dreaming about it?

Tintin: Just checking
Mr Bildungsroman: HahaTintin:Being honest, its gonna take a bit to sink in
Mr Bildungsroman: Haha.. Don’t worry Tintin.. You have a gay best friend alright 🙂
Tintin: Have to ask this question as it seems mandatory. No more after that, and it becomes something that is just stated
Mr Bildungsroman: Go ahead
Tintin: You sure about being gay, right?
Mr Bildungsroman:  Absolutely sure.. This is not a passing phase..
Tintin: Ok Good.. That’s settled, then..
Tintin: I got a guy best friend
Tintin: I mean, I got a gay best friend.. This stupid auto-correct
Tintin: Hmmm.. Seems cool thing to say
Mr Bildungsroman: Haha.. Yeah, I am always happy to have dialogue.
Mr Bildungsroman: Its funny, many people when you first tell them, begin to freeze (despite knowing you for a long time); and  don’t know what to talk to you thereafter..
Tintin: Well, its a topic where people wouldn’t know what to say
Mr Bildungsroman: Like, death? 🙂
Tintin: That’s strong.. But, yes
Mr Bildungsroman:  True.. I understand that people want to show support discreetly, but don’t know how to..
Tintin: Sometimes, it’s fair enough.. cause, the person whose life we’re talking about might want to keep it discreet..
Mr Bildungsroman: True that.. But don’t act to the point that it doesn’t exist !!
Tintin: But I find it hard to figure out how one can support discreetly.. Either you support, or you don’t..
Tintin: and if someone’s trying to support, but not show support..  then probably, deep within they don’t/aren’t ready to support yet
Mr Bildungsroman: Many gay men are discreet about their sexuality, but they seek the support of their loved ones always
Tintin: Support should be given unconditionally and without a doubt.. Cause, if you’re family and close friends ain’t gonna give support, then who will?
Tintin: I agree you can’t ask your loved ones to fight for you.. But atleast, they shouldn’t be the ones you also have to fight with!!
Mr Bildungsroman: Hmmmm.. Very true

Tintin: You know, I was just having this conversation with Bangles this afternoon about what you were telling me the other day.. I was explaining to Bangles about the difference between gays, transgender, and other alternate sexualities..
Tintin: I realized how strongly I felt defensive about it.. Its probably when you have someone close to you that’s of alternate sexuality, that you begin to start feeling strongly about it..
Tintin: Although, I think, ‘gay’, is probably the limit that I could deal with (at the moment). Anything beyond will take a lot!!
Mr Bildungsroman: Yes, awareness is the need of the day.

_______________________________________________________________________

It was so refreshing to hear that from my oldest best friend.. Good to feel blessed.. Gratitude !!

Sorry Papa

sorry_quotes_pics_285276658

Sorry Papa.

I am really sorry papa for being a disappointment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your gay son

Love

Beta.

Coming out over coffee!

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

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

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

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

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

It was a perfect ‘Father-Son’ evening!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dad – “With whom?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dad – “Your mom, does she knows?”

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

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

Gay means swavargaanuragi

Nithin Raj

Bangalore


nitin

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

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

Image Credits

The conversation that ensued –

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

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

Me: Is it?

Mother: All parents love their children no matter what.

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

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

Me: *laughing cynically*

Mother: What?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conversation between them –

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

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

Mother: Chi. What are you telling.

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

Mother:  Hmmm

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

Mother: Okay.

*Hangs up and then comes to me*

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

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