I am just the way he made me

 

My name is Ankit. I am a gay man, 25 years old living in Mumbai. I work for an educational institute “VIDYA” which works for under privileged children in urban slum communities.

I realized I was attracted to the same gender in my early teens but did not know what it actually meant or that it is actually a sexual orientation or that there is a community of LGBT people. As a fact I did not even know the difference between the male and female anatomy until I was in my 10th Grade.

During my summer holidays post 10th grade a few of my cousins were visiting us and one fine evening we were hanging out and I noticed a girl child peeing. I was confused and I questioned my cousin, why is it that she is squatting while peeing? We boys do it differently. Laughing out loud my cousins remarked that you are so silly and explained the difference to me. They also teased me that now that I know I would be more inclined to know a girl better perhaps start having attraction towards them.

The very next day I went back to my cousin and said whatever you explained to me yesterday is so true but somehow am not attracted to girls. I find myself attracted to boys. My cousins failed to understand me and mocked that I would always be a kid. I guess that was my very first coming out.

Years passed and it was in college when internet came to my rescue and gave me access to the information I needed. I googled about being gay and that there are others like me. I started searching for ways to find other people like me and chanced upon gaydia.com and it was such an overwhelming discovery. All this while I was caught up with various emotions and found it challenging to come to terms with my sexuality. I was even suicidal under depression as I kept worrying that there is something wrong with me that may be I am a eunuch (Hijra) and what a stigma this news would be to my parents and they may not accept me.

When I found gaydia.com my life changed. I came across so many other queer folks and through them I learnt a lot about LGBT community, our community! I got to know about Pride March in our country, through an organization named GayBombay.

In 2008 I attended my first GayBombay event which was a parent’s meet. The experience of this event was quite liberating. I got to know and meet parents/family of other queer folks and it gave me hope and confidence. The Pride March also liberated me in many ways, most importantly self-acceptance and that there is nothing wrong in being gay and that Pride March is a way we come out and celebrate being Queer. It has been quite a journey since then and today I am one of the organizers of Mumbai Gay Pride. I continued my journey with queer groups like GayBombay, Humsafar Trust etc. and actively engaged into activism and so far it’s been a great journey.

While at home my family knows about me being queer but I have never had the chance to sit down with them and come out to them in person. For my parents ignorance is bliss for now.

In 2013 when Supreme Court re-criminalized homosexuality as per section 377, I was interviewed by Zee news and was part of a debate. I guess that was my official coming out to the whole world through the medium of a television interview.

Later that evening I was in a discussion with Mr. Pallav Patankar (Program Head – Humsafar Trust) about how can we bring in the change in society. He said the interviews that you gave throughout the day is one way but is not the absolute or accurate way. If we want to bring change in the society we need to reach out to masses directly.

This triggered a new emotion in my and when I was returning home with a friend of mine that evening I felt the urge to at least take one step in the direction to bring that change. I stood up in a local train coach full of every day commuters and started a dialogue in Hindi – “Main ek samalaingik hu! Aaj Supreme court ne mere adhikar cheen liye hai” (I am a homosexual man and today my rights have been taken away from me). I got mixed responses, some people ignored me, some argued and questioned and some nodded in acceptance. While I realized it was a risk taken the greater learning was that when a group of people notice/experience something they talk/share the news. I realized that within that moment I was spreading the information to people from different walks of life, I was indirectly educating them that homosexuality is not an American concept and that even in that very coach in which so many Indians commute every day, anybody could a homosexual. That evening I mustered the courage to speak publicly and learnt that people need to learn more about us before they accept us.

I had found my inner calling and my purpose. I resigned from my job and visited Valsad in the state of Gujrat and held my very first public talk about homosexuality and LGBT people and my journey continues till today with over 500 public talks.

To talk more about my experience giving these talks I learnt tier 3 cities/smaller towns are more receptive to such talks/discussions than tier 2 & 1. I have had both good and bad experiences. I was also jailed when I boarded a passenger train from Jhunagargh to Somnath to hold one such talk. I was released with a warning to not repeat the act in passenger trains without permissions; that too speaking against Supreme Court. Being bullied was also part of this journey and one such incident to recall was when I was visiting a small town a little further from Bikaner and was staying in a budget guesthouse. I was bullied by a few men there who somehow noticed that I am gay and was eve teased by a group of men. The came down to the guesthouse & started making vulgar comments “aajao teri pyaas bujhata hun, mard chahiye tujhe” [You like men, come let us quench your thirst]. I was scared to death, I sat in the farthest corner of the room praying for this to pass away.  I was petrified to even move & somehow dozed off sitting there. This incident did scare me but I never gave up, I believed in my role as an activist and that people in India must be educated about our community and rights.

Personally, I am quite rooted to my culture and my religion. I believe in Hinduism and especially in Vaishnavism. I also read a lot but somehow I could never find any story speak of homosexuality but what I noticed is Hinduism never discriminated against anything or anybody in particularly. I find my strength is Krishna, I am just the way he made me!

 

I gradually accepted myself

“Chaaka hai Kya.”?

“Third Gender hai Tu to”

“Muh Meh LeLe”

“Tere  Boobs Hai.”

These words assassinated athwart me deep into my heart . That group in washroom from who I was always afraid because they were somehow responsible for my abasement.  My chest become a reason for the their fun and jokes. Those jokes have left contravening remarks.

Hello it’s Abhinav here, I belong from a small town where people have narrow mind thinking. I don’t know how to express my views on my sexuality in words, but now it’s high time I don’t want to hide my identity anymore just want to express my views on the sexuality to whole world. The urgency for coming out are those Sleepless Nights,Horrifying threats ,Painful lesions which left his marks.

At age of 13 to 16 which is the most crucial time in a life of a teenagers. At at this age other kids are engaged in playing games , studying ,and creating memories,  God kept me confused in exploring my own identity. And when I finally got to know that I am Gay.! (You read that correct ) .Thanks to my classmate who looks so hot that I got attracted towards him and got to know the truth.

After knowing of this uniqueness was not enough that my fear of being alone and seeking acceptance started hitting me hard. All childhood evenings went crying because of the reason that I m the only person who is suffering from it.

I was stuck in middle of nowhere and was losing my mind, but thanks to my Smartphone from which I explored people ,those people were a ray of hope for me.

I gradually accepted myself as who I am.

My sexual desire was getting  higher day by day. With a lot of courage I visited an unknown person for a hook up. It was something new for me. Gradually I got addicted to the pleasure. One day while sitting I realized that at that age my friends were engaged with bats and ball whereas I was getting into bed with strangers.  That day I pledged to myself that I won’t go with anyone and never cheat any girl in my life .

This is a half coming out hope that God gives me courage for the full one that I can even tell to whole word.

Born Gay Proud to be what I m.!

#abvian

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/

It did sanctify which team I played for

Koel Chakraborty

I believe coming out is a lifelong process. You may come out to your friends and family once, but you are never quite done with coming out to the rest of the world (N.B. I speak for people who’d rather come out than be oddly mistaken for ‘the straight girl that hasn’t found the right guy’). I believe that is one hefty price to pay for occasionally choosing to network outside your known boundaries.

For me, fortunately, the process of self-discovery was very organic. I guess I always knew. I do not have any conscious memory of ever having sexual feelings for any men. On the other hand, I could recall obsessing over countless women (both reel and real) throughout my entire adolescent life. The first mortal kiss was at 13 (to be honest I was surprised it took me that long); albeit unforthcoming, it did sanctify which team I played for ☺

School was definitely the highlight of my teenage years, for good reasons and bad. I am alluding to the bevy of beauties when I say ‘good’. The bad part was – most of our teachers were bullies and it wasn’t really a safe space for anyone who’s questioning their sexuality. Aside from getting a lot of attention from girls, I invited some teachers’ wrath as well. I remember vividly, someone from senior class vehemently crafted a dodgy story about how some of us tomboys (an overtly popular term back in the day) were always running after girls, thereby corrupting the moral of the school. What followed was an unscrupulous profiling and witch hunt for days together. I was identified as one of the miscreants and therefore asked to ‘behave’. Instead of broaching the critical issues of gender and sexual orientation tactfully, they chose to ignore the big elephant in the room. The school principal took it up a notch; she called the entire school and took us all through a morbidly long lecture about how ‘science’ denounces the idea of ‘homosexuality’ and homosexual people are nothing but ‘an unnatural order’ – the usual trope. A lot of these girls who experienced this backlash went back to pursuing the ‘lesser evil’ – that of a full-fledged hetero-normative life.  

By the time I was in high school, I knew I was a distinguished member of the minority. It’s easy to figure that out when everyone else in your class is gleefully talking about ‘boys’ and you are the only one reading Sara Waters or mulling over classics such as Sophie B Hawkins’ ‘Damn I wish I was your lover’, Linda Perry’s ‘What’s going on’, K. D. Lang’s ‘Constant Craving’ or contemplating refuge in the alternate universe of The L Word, or even Shakira’s hip snaps. Music was my sacred space and it got me through puberty, heartbreaks and college.

Upon finishing college, I decided to move out of my parent’s house and move in with my girlfriend at the time who was living in a different city. I wasn’t out to my family up until then. When I told them my plan, they were terribly upset; my father was infuriated and my mom just sat there and cried. I was at my wit’s end, I didn’t know if they were upset that I was leaving home or if it was the revelation that I was in a relationship with a woman. Or may be it was both. It’s been a few years; my parents have since accepted my reality. But ‘queer’ words are still off limits.  

‘Coming out as who we are’ is not just personal, it has political implications as well. It is an act of solidarity that helps us reclaim our space in the dominant hetero-patriarchal narrative, making sure our identities are acknowledged and validated across the board. By remaining silent, we’re indirectly perpetuating the delusion that ‘hiding’ is a far safer choice for our emotional well-being. We also have a fundamental obligation to all those who are less privileged, who cannot contemplate ‘coming out’ as a viable option as they do not see enough of queer folks around them. Twenty years from now, I would imagine kids would have an easier time at school, not feeling like they are a minority. Sounds largely optimistic. But what do we have to lose?

I’m not letting this guy take you away from me

Anonymous

Life had been easy otherwise except for this. Every LGBT person goes through it, called the self-acceptance phase. For me, it came too early, but I waited for very very long to decide if I’m ready to put this acceptance to test, with my close ones. Once I was done deciding, it became the easiest thing on Earth. Why? Because, I realized that what I want is impossible; come on! you can’t expect universal acceptance. Whatever you do, you cannot please everyone. Same goes for coming out. I knew not everyone will take it in a good way, but I was in for a surprise.

I knew I’m into guys since I started to have feelings. Still the first time I came out to someone was when I was 20 years old. The journey of a 1000 miles can be covered in one step if one realizes that it’s not unnatural to be attracted to the same sex and its Ok to be bisexual. Took me a lot of courage to come out to someone. It was this random conversation with my group of friends where I dropped a bomb by saying that “when I like someone, their gender isn’t important to me”. Naturally they were full of questions “this can be cured, try thinking ‘straight’ for sometime”, and “are you sure? you might be overthinking” it just tells there’s some explaining to do (of course you’ve to be sure first). I answered all their questions they came and that was how I came out to my friends.

 

 

Guess if someone loves you, it should be unconditional. Else coming out is a good friendship test 😉

 

 

 
This was easy. The difficult part was coming out to my sister (still not out to my parents). I was going out on a date with my boyfriend and my sister asked me how this guy I recently met had become so important to me. I told her that it’s not just some guy, it’s MY guy. She gave a look of utter shock, but then said, ‘I’m not letting this guy take you away from me’.🙈 She has been a great support since, and will help me when I am ready to come out to my parents.

 

 

When you try to ‘fit’ in, you will disappear.

Himanshu Singh

Mumbai

The one thing that I learned from Harry Potter saga is that nobody should ever live in a closet. Tetris taught me that when you try to ‘fit’ in, you will disappear.

I am much more than my sexuality. My close friends would know me as a writer. Childhood friends would know me as a painter. IIMK friends would know me as a pathetic actor and as an amateur photographer. I am an ambitious soul who yearn to learn. I aspire to become a great pianist someday. How does my sexuality define me as an individual? But it is certainly one of the most fundamental part of my being. My sexuality is not a phase, it never was. It is not a disease, it is not a mental disability, it is not a choice, and definitely not a disgrace. I was born this way. I realized it when I was 14. It is so saddening to say that I had to strive for normalcy to be in societal norms all these years. It smothered me for quite a long time. Why do people advice to tell it to only those who matter? Why it has to be hushed and shushed?

People reading this post would ask – Does it matter to anyone? Why do I need to shout the truth aloud? Does it change anything? Probably! If I lose friends, family and my loved ones over this, it is important to me. If this post could give courage to others, this is important to them. I don’t expect support as much as I expect respect as a human being.
There are so many people out there who are still struggling to come out. I just want to give a message that you are not alone and I am with you. Somehow the below lines inspired me to come out –

“We don’t have to be ordinary, Make your best mistakes,
‘Cause we don’t have the time to be sorry, be the life of the party!
I’m telling you to take your shot it might be scary, Hearts are gonna break,
But we don’t have the time to be sorry, so baby be the life of the party!”

Right now my brain is going 2 million miles per hour. From internal turmoil to acceptance. Describing them in words is not easy. This is the strongest decision of my life. My hands are little cold but the heart is confident. A new man is born today. Life will never be the same from now on. And I am going to love it anyway.

Not everyone was privileged enough to be a Mathew’s (my Humanities teacher in IIMK) student. Do not make wrong assumptions, notions. Have an educated view. Ask honest questions. Respect Individuality.

REMEMBER – Your assumptions, lack of knowledge, ignorance and phobias are killing your closeted friends. Everyday!
I am so grateful to my parents, my brother, close friends and flatmates who supported me immensely on this.

Special Note: Dear LGBTQ fellows, if you are facing any kind of challenge or need any guidance, please feel free to reach out to me. Call me on (+91-8447798932) or email me (himanshu.singh087@gmail.com), if you think that I may be of some help. You have got only one life. Live it well. Play it well. Don’t be afraid of anything or anyone.

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 !!

I am not leaving you, but just wished you had a better life

Rajib Das,

Hyderabad

Finally did it!

There is nothing in this world that is impossible. Just a little courage and push from within to do the things just when you want them can get you where you want to be. So, this is how the conversation started while we were at the dinner table with half of the food left to be eaten in our plates:

Me: Mom, I have something to tell you…

Mom: কি বিষয় (with curiosity, what is it)?

Me: Mom, I do not want you to talk about me getting married to a girl to anyone.

Mom: কেন (with a weird look, Why)?

Me: mom, I am not attracted to girls and I like boys, আমি সমকামি…(I am Gay). (There it was, I said it as soon as we started talking so that I could answer her questions which obviously would follow after this blast.)

Mom: আমি জানতাম (I Knew), My heart signaled this a few weeks ago, and I was expecting something of this sort to come from you! So this is the way you want to destroy your life?

Me: Getting married to a girl will destroy not only my life, but the girl’s life as well. If you want to get me married forcefully, then that will end up nowhere but a depressed life and divorce.

Mom: If that is the case, then you don’t have to get married ever. If you cannot get married to a “নারী” (nari[women]) then you cannot marry a “পুরুষ” (purush [Man])- period. That’s it!! একা থাক (Live alone).

Me: But I don’t want to live without a marriage. I like boys and want to get married to a guy! (At this point I quoted a previous conversation where she said “You need to marry and have children, so that there is someone to look after you when you are old.”)

Mom: অসম্ভব (Impossible)! It cannot happen, how will two guys look after each other when both are old? How about our বংশ (family generation) – how will it grow with two guys?

Me: Just like how a man and woman looks after each other AND we can always adopt! 🙂

Mom: (with anger) No, this will simply not happen. You have to marry a girl; else, no marriage for you!!

Me: Not possible! If I fall in love with a boy, I would want to live and raise a family with him in the long run.

Mom: (emotionally) আমার সমস্ত জীবন একা (I lived my entire life almost alone ever since I was born), your father died at an early age, you were the only hope and now you are also doing these things… আমার সুখ নেই (I have no happiness).

Me: I am there for you and I need you to be there for me. You are my strength, and if you reject me, then I have nowhere to go…
Mom: I am not leaving you, but just wished you had a better life. So, who is this guy who calls you all the time?
Me: He is my friend and he likes talking to me 🙂

Mom: নাম কি (What’s his name)? What does he do? Where does he live? Did he ask you to speak to me about all this?

Me: His name is *********, and he is ****** by profession. He already has a boyfriend and he did not ask me to talk to you about this. I have been trying to talk to you about this for the last few weeks, but could not bring myself to have this conversation, as I was afraid…

Mom: Afraid of what? Why didn’t you tell me when I was trying to get you married last year? Why this sudden change now?

Me: I did not change. I was just scared to tell you as I was afraid I would lose you 😦

Mom: (with pride) আমি নারী, কিন্তু দুর্বল না | (I am woman, but not weak). I did everything on my own and raised you after your Dad. Why would you lose me?

Me: I know your anger and thought you would kill or disown me and harm or kill yourself after you get to know about it.

Mom: কখনত্ত নহে (Never), why would I kill the one I gave birth to and why on earth would I kill myself? I will die naturally, প্রভু ইচ্ছা (when God wills).

Me: I love you Mom. Thank you so much for accepting me for who I am!

Mom: Who said I accepted you??? I would still want you to get married to a girl.

Me: Again the same thing, mom? I cannot. There have been many instances of people getting married due to the pressure from their parents and society and these marriages ended nowhere but separation, depression, court cases and an unhappy life.

Mom: Ok, সুখী থাক জীবত্কাল (I wish for a happy life for you). Do whatever you want to…

And then I went on to explain many things to her about being queer. I also explained to her the meaning of ‘Wajood’ (name of the new LGBT group in Hyderabad, translates as ‘Identity’).

Rajib.jpg

Pic: Rajib & his mom

Now she is sleeping right beside me as she has been for the last few months and is speaking normally. I hope she will come around in the long run and accept me for who I am.

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.

Go within to come out

Jo, Mumbai

I always wondered all through my school and college that why was I so different. When boys laughed and spoke about girls, I was never interested. What was so interesting in it? And why did I never find it interesting?

It was when I got unusually attached to boys and their thoughts kept running in my mind. I realized, my inclinations were unique. But the acceptance did not come so easily. I had hundred questions about myself. There were times when I use to force myself to think about some girl, thinking maybe this is just a PHASE and I will come out of it. Read many articles online just to be sure if I am born correctly and nothing is wrong with me.

After months or may be years of self-doubt and questioning, I finally came to terms with myself. I wouldn’t say I had anyone that time to look upon to or talk to. It was just my own inner conversations happening. I believe self-acceptance is one major milestone to achieve. Because this gives you immense strength and peace within you.

I think coming out is more of a happening than doing. And finally it happened to me. First I came out to my brother. Having a twin is always different. Its different bond. when he use to freely discuss about his love life with his girlfriend. I was always quiet. Never having the courage to express what I felt for the person I loved. So there was a time when we both were dating (he was dating a girl and I was dating a guy). I knew what we felt and how we expressed were almost the same. So, he would understand my feelings. Eventually I came out to him in a coffee shop. The release of the humongous burden from inside me came out in form of tears. Ad he said, “I always knew it, I was waiting for you to tell me. Nothing changes for me”.

All through my experiences and people I met, I realised the issues I had were more emotional and mental. And all this was going within me. More storms were within me than outside me. I was sure, the solution also had to come out from the same place – WITHIN myself. Anything I tried externally would just make me feel good temporarily. Meditation helped me a lot. It gave me immense faith and self-trust. Nothing shook me easily. I was slowly emotionally and mentally strong. Fear of what people will think, their reactions, acceptance or non-acceptance, nothing really mattered or affected.

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After about 3 years of coming out to my brother – recently, I was out to my parents. When relatives in every wedding event keep saying, “ab tumhaaara number bhi lagao toh hum aayenge” (means get married, you are too old!!)I thought its high time I tell them before it’s too late.

It was a Sunday and I decided that I will tell them in the morning itself so that I have the whole day to answer or ease the situation if something went overboard. But with heartbeats running fast and the fear gripping within, it became 7.00 p.m.
I just spoke to one of my friends and he told me something good. He said, “Coming out is like pulling an old band-aid from your wound. You know it will pull your hair and hurt; but still you have to do it. You do it today or after 5 years, it will still feel the same that you are feeling this moment. So, JUST DO IT”. And my brother from the other room sends me a watsapp message – [when r you going to tell them just tell them]. Finally at 8.30p.m. I told them I want to tell you something. And I handed over a letter. There was silence for 15 minutes. So silent, that I thought I had stopped hearing anything around me. No one said anything. They just said, we will talk about it later.

We have never spoken after that day about this. Everything is as normal as it was. I am seeing that they show me more love in subtle ways. But they have never spoken about this.

Like it has been a journey for me, it is a journey for them too.

For me, the next morning was a new morning. I had never felt the closest to myself I had never seen myself so clearly within me. The sense of peace and lightness I felt was so empowering. 

Coming out is going to be difficult, but its WORTH it.