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.

Are you okay with me being with a guy?

Anonymous

Delhi

I’m 19-years-old and I’m pansexual. I’ve known this for quite some years now, even though I didn’t know the proper term for it then. I’ve had my internal battles, still do sometimes, but I’ve come to accept myself for the most part. For me, gender doesn’t matter. If I like someone, then all that matters is how they are as a person and this is something I came to terms with pretty early.

It was when I was in 12th grade, about three years ago, that I decided to broach the topic with my mother. We are pretty tight, sharing almost everything with each other. So knowing her, I wasn’t expecting her reaction to be very extreme, but there was a little part of me that was uncertain about the outcome. I told her about a particular video I came across that day about parents disowning their child because he came out to them. I casually asked her right after, “What if your child was gay? What if I liked a girl? Would you be okay with it?” As casual as I tried to be, my palms were sweaty and my heart was beating a thousand miles an hour. She just looked at me for a couple of seemingly ever-lasting seconds and said, “Well, are you okay with me being with a guy? You shouldn’t have to ask if I am okay with it. As long as you are happy, be with whoever you want to be with. You are my baby girl. I love you for who you are, not for who you choose as your life partner.” I couldn’t have been more grateful.

As for my best friend, when I told her, all she said was, “I kinda knew it. More people for you to love, babe.

Even though I’m all about the drama, my coming out went through pretty drama-free.

 

 

If we don’t fight, then who will?

Avinash Kohli

Hyderabad

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

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

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

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

Sexual assault : Image representational

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

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

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

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

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

Homelessness: Image representational

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

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

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

Tears of exasperation by an effeminate are crushed

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

Her mantra:

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

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

Kinnaras of the Dark World

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– SHILOK MUKKATI

Something isn’t right

Anonymous

Today I am a very content woman; even though I am a single mother. It isn’t a stigma for me. It is my strength, because I am able to be me; it feels right.  It took me 25 years to find me but today on wards is what matters.

I was 22 then. I had fallen in love. This young man who had nothing but would do anything to make me happy. The man who rode his cycle like a maniac behind a jeep past midnight only to ensure that my boss is doing what he assured my parents; that he’d drop me back home safely. The man who showed I had the strength to do what I wanted to do in a city, in a time, where women who wanted to have a career other than a teacher wasn’t considered respectable. The love of my life, who had become the son my parents never had, was suddenly the most favorite enemy of their life because he dared to fall in love with their precious and only daughter; me.

“You will never see him again. If you do..” was followed by an endless stream of ifs and thens.  And so I did. I said good bye to him. Not just to him, but to a part of me died that day.

It was a prick in my hand that woke me up briefly. I turned my head and saw her, the nurse. She was standing at my bedside putting a needle through my veins trying to connect mzzgwdyrme2-2e to a bottle of glucose hanging on the stand right next to my head. I looked up at it groggily wondering, what is that going to change for me?  I see my mother sitting in the corner in this dim lit, pale blue walled room in the hospital. My eyes shut again. My body couldn’t stay awake any longer and I fell asleep.

I don’t remember how many days and nights and days and nights had passed I hadn’t eaten or drank water but was force-fed through the gut wrenching nausea. There were curses in the back ground being thrown at where once all I heard was only blessings. How could it have gone so wrong? What was my mistake? Why don’t you understand? Can you even hear what I am saying? All in vain.

I was begged at. I was threatened by cries of sympathy. I was asked. I was told. But I wasn’t heard.

8 months later. Lights are flickering all around. Laughter and chatter everywhere. A house brimming with relatives. A decorated car awaits at the gate. My best friend sits in the car with me. We reach the venue. I am escorted out, being guided up the passage. I can only see my shoes, those shiny gold shoes. I tried to look up but the veil is too thick. “Keep your head down”, I hear this sharp whisper, ‘you’re the bride today”. ‘Qabool hay?’ the clergyman asks. The screams in me are aching to throw themselves out of my throat to say no, no….NOOOO. …. I squeeze my friend’s hand as if she could speak for me. ‘Qabool hay?’ I gulp a lump down my parched throat and utter the word that began a chapter that was already written out for me. “haan qabool hay”.

The morning after, as I packed my bag for the journey into the unknown life with my husband and his family, he lay there and said, “oh, don’t pack your jeans. You’ll never get to wear them in my house.”

2 years have gone by. Hands adorned by bangles, toes clamped with toe-rings, a mangal sootra hanging around my neck, I have learnt the art of cooking curries to roasts to desserts right out of the recipe book as if I grew up doing only this and nothing at all. Wah wah bahu…bohot achha hay. Thank you Pappa, thoda aur lijiye na?!

I was running on a program. A program installed by family, by society. This is how a wife should be.  No one though happened to ever mention how a husband should be. Something just didn’t seem right. I visited my father to seek his advice, to seek solace, “Baba, something isn’t right”. “Don’t worry beta, once you have a child, everything will be alright” he answered. Yet another program was uploaded and I restarted.

My daughter is now 2 years. Something isn’t right. It just isn’t right. And you know what? I don’t care to know what it is. All I know is my daughter is not going to grow up in this environment. I left with my daughter and never looked back.

My days were filled climbing the corporate ladder and evenings with my daughter and parents. They took me back. A failed marriage – they dared not to put that on me. I was not going to take that anymore and they knew it this time.

A year later my lost love walks back into my life like a knight in shining armor. Said he, “I still love you, will you marry me?” “Yes yes yes!” I jumped with excitement, “oh but wait. I have a daughter now”. And he said, “she is a part of you, and so, she is a part of me now.”

5 years later another daughter comes into our lives. Something isn’t right. That comes up again for me. And I tell myself, “no, no, not again. Not this time.  How can it be? This is the man I loved so much. And he loves me. No, I will not let this fall apart. I will make this work”.

5 more years pass. Something isn’t right. This time it was way too strong to ignore. And then it all unraveled. He was seeing someone else. My whole world collapsed in an instant. How could this happen? What went wrong? I must’ve done something wrong? I wasn’t there for him. I was too busy …….

“I am sorry sweetheart, I made a mistake. Can you forgive me please?” he said one day and I responded, “OK, jaan, let’s make this work”.

Another 5 years pass. It continued to go wrong. My attempts to make this go right just didn’t work. I could no longer live a life of lies. The question here is I didn’t even know anymore who was lying to whom. Was he lying to me or was I lying to him or was I lying to myself? Whatever it was, all I knew was that it was over. I took my girls and I left.

It’s been a year now. It was no one’s fault that neither of my marriages worked. Not my exes. Not the families. Not mine even. I didn’t even realize until 6 months after I left that for the first time I felt alive. Not because I was away from a man who cheated on me. Not because I was not in a marriage that wasn’t working. Not because now I was not answerable to anyone and could do anything. It was none of that.

You see, this goes all the way back to my childhood. Something that was going on in me that felt so right. It just came so naturally to me, but, only when I was alone. It wasn’t something I even thought could be spoken about to anyone. It was my secret fantasy about women. They would be damsels in distress and I would be their savior! It didn’t stop at saving them though. My fantasies went way more intense – feeling their body felt just right and I never felt the need to question it.  As time went by, years passed, my fantasies faded but never completely went and I got caught up in society’s norms.
Until that day, sitting in my new house, all by myself I finally realized what it was that I kept getting when it felt like “something isn’t right”. All that was required for me to feel alive was to be OK with myself having all these feelings for women that were locked up inside of me. I just had to acknowledge, no one else but Me.  The only one that had to really know the truth was me. And that’s when I said it to myself, “K, it’s time to step out of the closet.”

Now, everything is right! 

Image credit

I knew it since I was 14

Anonymous

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Image

A week had passed since I moved back to India after living in USA for about two years.

I am 30 and single so like all Indian parents mine too were looking for a suitable bride for me.

Unlike every other person who feels excited and elevated whenever their families discuss a prospect with them, it gave me cold feet. I never even looked at the pictures that my parents showed to me, I just told them “You better know”. This has been going on from 3 years and I used my stay in USA as an escape from all this.

My trip to USA made me comfortable about my sexuality. Being gay isn’t a taboo there, people discuss about it openly. Of course there is a prejudice in USA too but the best part is law protects homosexuals unlike India’s Draconian 377.

It was a Saturday 10 April 2016, my parents had arranged a meeting with a girl’s family. My mother was cleaning the house from morning. She had changed the bed sheets, sofa covers, dusted the entire house, a regular drill that we did whenever she invited someone over house to meet me. There was a storm in my mind, I was fighting with myself about telling them the truth but I wasn’t able to gather the courage to do so. It was 04:00 in the evening and we were expecting them at 05;00. I was sitting on my couch and was so depressed about it. My face was all pale and my mother asked me “Is everything alright?”.

I said “No”.

She asked me “What is bothering you?”

My parents were sitting in front of me and I looked at their faces, the dream every parent has about getting their children married and seeing them start their family, I was about to shatter it. But  decided that it is high time that I do it and it’s the right thing to do.

I told my mother, “Have you heard of a man marrying a man?”. She said “Yes, they are crazy people and I don’t know how do they do it.” I said ,”Mummy, I am one of those”. Both my parents were taken aback. There was a dead silence in the room. My father shouted at me, “Are you an idiot? Are you impotent? If you are having problem in having sex let’s take you to a doctor and get you treated. Those homos (fags) ruin their lives. They cannot be with one person and they die alone and in misery. I cannot let that happen to you”. My mother asked me “Did you marry someone in USA?”, I laughed and said “No”. My mother asked me “How do I know that I am gay?”. I told her “We all know that. I knew it since I was 14”. She asked me “Why didn’t you tell us this. We would have helped”. I said “Mummy, it isn’t easy to accept the fact that you are different from others, it is a journey that takes its own course”.

My father was screaming in the background “You are just confused and since you have been a virgin all this time you started having sex with men. It is just a phase, get married and have your family and forget about this part”.

He told me about his friend who told him that he was gay but then he got married because of family pressure and everything is alright, he has kids. I should get married too.

I told him I can show him so many married gay men desperate to have sex with a guy. They are frustrated in their lives and they aren’t happy with their wives as they always are on Grindr or PR looking for next guy. I told them, I can’t live like this and cheat on my wife or partner. But all in vain.

But he wasn’t ready to listen, my mother was worried and pale. My father was breathing heavy and I had to calm him down, I told him to relax and talk about it.

I tried to understand their concern, I explained to them that I am financially doing good, I don’t have any addiction or any bad habit so why do they think that just by not marrying a girl how would I ruin my life. But all my efforts were useless, I could see fear, disgust and anger on their faces.

My father still thinks that I am impotent and that’s the reason I like men, my mother she is worried rather than being judgmental.

They are still trying to get me married to a girl.