Q: Why do you like to be effeminate?
A: Wow. Diving right into it. Haha. Bro, that’s how we are. Some of us are very vibrantly out about it. Some of us are not that expressive. But that’s how we feel inside of us. Although some of us probably don’t feel that way inside. So, let us be.
Q: Don’t you feel less of a man that way? Like a sissy.
A: Well, no. You are the one calling us sissy. We are doing what makes us at happy. And no, we are no less than a man. Not all of us might be typically macho. But yea, not all straight men are ‘macho’ either.
Q: But at least they don’t act girly.
A: Now, try and understand this. Girls and boys should act in a particular way, is what is you are fixated on. That is why, when you see us, you call us names. But somehow, we do not like those unwritten rules. What good are rules, if they don’t let you prosper? We like to be fabulous.
Q: So, do you feel like a ‘woman trapped in a man’s body’ sometimes?
A: No re, we like the way we are. Some of us do like cross-dressing at times, but we pretty much like being ourselves. Some of us are just a little bit more expressive about ourselves. It makes us happy. Just like you do when you do what you like. Same feeling bro.
Q: Hmm. So, have you told your parents yet? How did they respond?
A: Well, some of us have told them, and some are planning to soon. Some of us are too scared. Some of us are figuring themselves out. We have a lot of things on our minds, you see. And for our parents too, it’s not that easy. You can understand. They are in a whole different head space themselves. But yea, they love us. Some parents are angry, but they’ll love us eventually.
Q: Just checking, you guys are not hijras, right?
A: No. They are transgender individuals. They are the ones who do not identify with the sex they were born with. ‘A woman trapped in a man’s body’, that you said. And vice versa as well. It is a broad term basically. But gays are not them. Gays are guys who like guys.
Q: Okay. I knew that. Was just confirming. So. What do you do? Like I mean in bed?
A: We do what we do. Some of us give, some take. Sometimes we do both. Sometimes, we don’t even do it. We make love. Everyone needs someone to lean on, no?
Q: Hehe, yea. But, I don’t know how to ask you this. Like, girls like it down there. Because it is an active sexual organ. What about you guys? Does it feel good down there?
A: Well, yes. But, as I said, we do what we do. And we do what satisfies us and makes us feel good. And happy.
Q: Alright alright. What about God? Do you believe in God?
A: What does it have to do with this conversation?
Q: Well, this is forbidden in some religions, right?
A: In some religions, yes. But there is something above religion or God. God loves us all, you and me, equally. Some of us are God-loving. We very much believe in God, and pray and visit temples and churches and mosques. Some of us don’t. Some of us do not believe in God. God will never love someone selectively, right? God is kind. Besides, it is unfair to call on God to hate us.
Q: Okay. I heard a baba on the television saying that you guys are spreading evil. Polluting the sanctity of Indian culture. Not me. I’m just repeating what he said.
A: Yea, they say that. Some of them have said we need yoga therapies. Some have said we need psychiatric help. Let’s see. Polluting Indian traditions? I would just say look at the Khajurao temples, they’re a part of Indian tradition too! But since when did loving someone become un-Indian? Besides, do you think culture is a constant entity? It is ever-changing, depending on the people. What people do, how people live etc. So, some of you are just being stubborn with the culture argument.
Q: I kinda agree with it. But what about Western influence? Don’t you think this is gaining momentum here in India only because it has picked up in the west?
A: Umm. You will agree that, after independence, our country was not really in a good state. It took us so many years, to stabilize ourselves in so many areas. More Indians are now educated, earning and living a much better life than the time just after independence. So, it has taken so much time for us to really solve some basic issues in our society. It is not really the western influence. We, the LGBT were present then too. And even before, way before the West colonised us and imposed their strict ideas of sexuality upon us, we existed. And now that we have reached a better point in our society, our rights are coming into focus. We, the LGBTQ people, are now connected, together and stronger than ever before.
Q: What is LGBTQ, again?
A: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer.
Q: Right right, I knew that too. And you guys have a flag too, right?
A: Yea, the Rainbow flag.
Q: I’ve heard that you guys are super mean and sassy and all of that. Well, most of you. I don’t think that’s a good generalization, but just asking.
A: Love us, we will love you more. Don’t hate us. You were the ones who started calling us names in school and bullied us. We just built a defence mechanism to tackle it. But we’re pretty cool now.
Q: Well okay. So, final question. What do you want?
A: Okay. Let me ask you something. Don’t you have something in your mind about how you want your life? A legally wedded spouse? Some kids maybe? A house to live in? A good career? Respect? Well, guess what. We don’t want anything different. Just don’t discriminate against us – legally, politically or in person. So, we want same rules, regulations, laws and rights that you enjoy and exercise. Equality. Not much, right?