I care for you a lot

Ajay Redij

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PC: All images linked to their original sources.

It was happy yet sad ending

Sozz Siddiqui

Things started with the daily pressure from my parents to tell them if I have a girlfriend or not(May be it was their way to do the detective work to get confirmation if their son is different not) but they never got a clear answer from me ever,  which lead to more question and more detective work.

My brother has always doubted me thinking that I am Bi(bisexual) could be because I had more girlfriends rather than boyfriend.

Part I
One fine day after finishing my job and gym I reached home (You will find my sister in the story too as she was visiting me or may be God has sent her to show her his other CREATION). My mom opened the door with a big smile like she is hiding something or was playing some kind of happiness trick on me. While having dinner my mom started questioning me the same thing but this time there was a twist she asked me if I have a boy friend, she consoled me or I must say took me in her confidence while asking that, where she spread the layer of her understanding telling me that she would be fine if I have a boyfriend too. No wonder we love our mom and when mom loves you , you forget all hide and seek games and with that I told her that yes her son is different, by the time I realized it was too late to understand that she just played it well and I lost the game, I could hear the silence the one which really kills you.

Part II

Her face went from white to red and then pale , the first tear started rolling out from her left or right I don’t know may be simultaneously form both the eyes . While she was crying I was just giggling , it was tough for me to decide what emotions I should show , should I cry as my mom was crying or should I smile as I was finally free but I was just smiling and smiling and smiling I couldn’t stop. It was a fantastic feeling to tell her that her son is not what she thinks but is what she was always afraid of(Don’t think that I am a cruel son or she is a cruel mom, she is the best and most loving mom it’s was just tough for her just like it was tough for me). On the other hand my sister started to command me not to speak THAT WORD yes the same word for which I am writing this, as per her understanding just by saying people become like one, yet again don’t hate her for that as there are certain things which even we don’t understand so she has all the rights to express her feeling.

That was the first and last discussion which happened between me and my mom, my father never got involved in this whole process and still he never tried to talk to me about this(May be that is the way all fathers behave.)

Part III

She still loves me and so my sister and my whole family, you might be thinking that it has one happy ending but I would say it was happy yet sad ending as they accepted me the way I am but they never accepted that their son can be different which of course hurts at time but I am fine. I feel like if they would have abandoned me, it would have been much easier for me to handle that but it really kills me to digest that they accepted me and love me but not my thing.

PS: My brother is the coolest brother as he is the only one who accepted me the way I am, he read the books and tried to understand things for me. We still go out together to a coffee shop to checkout(You know what I mean.) we also play game of identifying who is what 😉

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.

 

 

I am the same “Anish” that you know.

Anish Alex Mathew

From: Cochin, Kerala

Currently: Bangalore

alex

A letter to the parents.


Hi Appa and Amma,

Just wanted to let you know this letter is from my heart and I mean it a lot.

Earlier part of my life

During my childhood, I used to be very playful and wonder why I am not getting any “girlfriends”. I came to a conclusion that, I might have not reached the right stage. I used to remember Amma saying that this was the age to study and not wonder and about “girlfriends”. I realized that she is right; I should concentrate more studies which I did. But, I had these confused attractions. I used to feel attracted towards women as well as men (I have bolded it because you should realize what I am attracted to).

Being a good Christian boy, I used to keep saying it is a sin and keep repressing myself by saying that it’s just a phase. It continued all the way to college. I used to be attracted to both the sexes. But, I was still confused. I didn’t know who to talk to because it was such a taboo to talk about. I tried to get a girlfriend and vice versa happened. However, I failed miserably.

I was confused in Hyderabad also. I went after girls at my workplace. None of them were interested or they took me for a ride.

Bangalore days

When I came to Bangalore, I realized that I am a bisexual man. Yes, I love to be with men as well as women. I know it will come as a shock to you. Can you think for a moment? Why do I feel attracted to both sexes at same time? I realized that, I should educate you rather you being ignorant and plain stubborn to listen to my views. Please don’t think it has a disease or a sin. This is how I am and nothing is going to change it.

In Bangalore, I met various kinds of people who educated me about my sexuality. Did you know that bisexual people are not accepted in the community itself? Just because of the assumption that we might cheat upon our partners. Initially, I thought I was gay and that was the point of time, when you both had doubts about me. But, whenever, I was approached by a woman or a girl. I had this sense of attraction towards them. So, I came to conclusion that I am a bisexual man. Period!

The Bible, Marriage and Church

Now, you may say that, I have strayed away from God or say this is unnatural. But, this is who I am! Nothing is going to change me. You can get me married off to a random girl. Remember, you are putting that girl’s life at stake. If in case, it doesn’t turn out well, you guys will regret it and not me. This is because I have already foreseen the future.  I wanted to ask you a question – Why is there hatred in this world towards LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community? Even the church that preaches of love hates them. Why? It is because of the hypocrisy in this various churches and world that made me realize God lives in me and I pray to him only. He knows me. He made me. If he hated me, do you think I would be in this world? I pray for people who scream slogans saying “God hates fags” because they don’t know what God is thinking about His children. He has created them with His very own hands.

Facebook drama

All those drama regarding FB, where I was sharing stuff about LGBT rights. I was trying to fight for people like me. We deserve freedom as well.

Amma – I didn’t expect Ankita to tell you last time. I trusted her and shared with her about my sexuality. She broke my trust basically because of insecure feelings towards me. That’s the reason, why I don’t share anything with her now.  I expected you to be supportive instead of quoting from the Bible. I know the Bible and read it millions of times. You will still think that I am not doing prayers properly and etc. etc. When I am not in peace with myself, how can I have peace around me? I still pray. Please stop worrying about that. I still believe in God. Just don’t believe in churches anymore.

Appa – If you had any doubts about me, you should have directly raised your concern with me. Not push Amma to make calls to me and question me. Do you realize it is actually a mental torture?  I always realized why you don’t show me the extra warmth like how you show Ankita.

Mayamma

As a performer, I just tried her out because I wasn’t making it anywhere by being Alex Mathew.  When, I became her, people appreciated me and said I have guts to do it. I am doing drag because I feel I am doing different from others. I prefer to be a man on streets and be a woman on stage just to entertain people.  I have got many opportunities to be part of photoshoots, be part of plays and so many performances.

Amma? I am really sorry; I have lost trust in Ankita completely. I was beginning to share with her. But, she showed her true colors again. Last night, the way you called me up was just unnecessary.

Fabulous parents

You both haven’t failed miserably as parents. There hasn’t been a day I thank God that I have lovely parents.  You should try and understand my point of view. Why am I like this? Please learn more about my sexuality and not be ignorant about it. And, please don’t blame each other by raising fingers. I am the same “Anish” that you know. Just that, my sexual attraction is a bit different and I hope you understand that.

And, if you are wondering about what you say to others etc. Please! I don’t live for others anymore. They are just relatives to me and their opinions shouldn’t concern you either.

I had to say this to both of you because I can’t live in a world where everything is rosy and I feel like a caged bird.

On top of all, I am writing this as a letter because I couldn’t see an opportunity to talk to both of you. Maybe because you are facing issues with other family members and I didn’t want to burden you with this problem. But, you need to stop being ignorant and accept me the way I am. That’s all I am asking for.

I still love you as my parents. And, I hope you still do the same to me.

Love,

Anish

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.