I am so gay today (literally and figuratively) as I am no longer a criminal. While I pen down my message, it’s my sincere request to share this message hoping it reaches folks who are struggling and also their families. Please do not hesitate in sharing this. If you hesitate, I lose. We lose!
Sexuality is a part of your identity and not your identity. Everyone takes their own time to accept themselves, thereafter it’s a journey of self-awareness and owning your personality traits. Two years ago I lived a life which was not letting me live like a free bird. The duality in my mind was strong enough to make me unsure of who I am.
Then started my journey of self-exploration – through socialising with folks from the community and discussing their life values and experiences I learnt to deal with this battle in my head. I came out to my dearest friend Nikhil on his birthday and felt that I gained his honest trust by telling my true story. My life changed at that very moment. It felt as if a butterfly was finally coming out of a cocoon.
Soon after, I started coming out to the brothers I had gained in college, and their responsees were heart melting. My parents live in a conservative surrounding and didn’t want them to get hurt/taunted by others because of my sexuality. It was hurting me to keep this part of myself from them but I didn’t want to be selfish, and so I took my time. Then when the time was right I found the courage to let them know about my lifestyle. The reaction was not negative, and I feel privileged for that. But the doubts were real and all along the lines of biological problems – impotency, erectile dysfunction and other things which society claims make men less manly. They needed time and so I decided not to come out in public yet to protect them.
Today as I entered my home, mom and dad gave me a tight hug and said, in their happiest voices, “Congratulations son! Now it’s legal.” And I couldn’t help but cry tears of joy (I’m tearing up even while writing this). I learnt that my mother had started sensitising the folks around her. My dad is a government employee and Section 377 was holding him back from fighting because of the fear it instilled in my parents’ minds. Today, on this historic day 6/9 (what a day, brings back the college nostalgia of my obsession with the number 069 – starting from the ID number which I got in college) my parents are so happy that my mother told me: “Now go broadcast it.” She even added, “Achcha hai abhi koi ladhki ka rishta leke nahi aayega” (Good, now that we won’t get marriage proposals from girls for you). My mother is my gem. From not knowing anything about the LGBT community to becoming a person who sensitises other people, I am proud of the journey she’s made .
Now, the next step is awareness – so that we live in harmony along with our fellow Indians. We still have a very long way to go to reach a place where we see same-sex marriage legalised in India. I hope to see a time when queer folks stop trying to fit into heteronormativity, and cherish what they really are. We are not asking for sympathy, but a safe and friendly place to live in harmony.
Our lack of awareness, our assumptions, ignorance and phobias are killing our closeted friends. Let’s get to know about the LGBTQ community so that we are not unintentionally insensitive to our dear friends.
I never wanted to spread gossip about my sexuality, rather I want to use it to sensitise folks I come across during the course of my life – and I am really really grateful to you. I cannot tell you how lucky I am for all my brothers from other mothers. They elevated my spirit when I came out to them, and made me realise that I am so much more than their ‘Gay friend’. To my community and family – hugs and kisses to you all, we have come a long way.
I’ve been thinking about this quote from Sense 8 a lot during this process of coming out: “What you are trying to seek is a well-defined answer which is already what you are expecting to hear. But the answer is not that simple.”
Who am I?
Now, this is my quote: “Truth gives you power.”
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 (+91-9561414873) or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org), 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.
Arnab Nandy is a graduate of BITS Goa.
Featured image credit: Arnab Nandy