Being Gay in India is Hard but Not Impossible

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Among the many topics that are considered taboo to be spoken about one of my favourite is the idea of being gay. One of my juniors from recently came out to me and spoke about his fears and the internal battle he had to fight to be absolutely sure about his sexuality. Many people all over the world fight this battle. So I decided to speak to a friend of mine who is a 20 year old Punjabi boy from Delhi studying journalism and communication at Jai Hind College, Mumbai, Taksh Sharma.

When one begins to question their own sexuality there are two aspects
one looks at, how do I feel about my sexuality and what will my family or the society think? I believe to answer this question one has to ask themselves a preliminary question; what matters more? Who I am  or the consequences I may face from the society?

Taksh was lucky enough to be in a family environment where he could freely express himself, question and explore himself. Unfortunately everyone is not this lucky. We (Taksh and I) suggest that who they believe they are and just let society deal with it themselves. Your sexual orientation is none of anyone’s business.

After one’s learned to embrace themselves the next question is legality and social acceptance. Contrary to what some believe legality and social acceptance have no connection. Taksh says “I’ve seen homosexuality when it was criminalised then when it got decriminalised and now criminalised again. There is no difference, sex and discrimination have always been rampant in our society, irrespective of the sexual orientation. ”

“People today are as ignorant when it comes to the LGBT community as they were in the 40s. One would believe that the educated sections of our society would make themselves aware and sensitised when it comes to the LGBT community then again people think it’s okay to travel in the Mumbai locals without using a deodorant and doctors, landlords and employers think it’s okay to deny a gay boy services because I’m somehow an abomination ” said Taksh when asked about the basic battles he may have had to fight on a daily basis.

Living,surviving and thriving in any community comes with its own set of trials and tribulations. Having to hide your sexuality or the battle to discover your own unique identity within the community or the elder men in the community who try and take advantage of younger, clueless, lost young boys. There is not much clarity when it comes to the concept of consent when there is a large age gap between two people (Do not date old men, predators are abundant, gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual, doesn’t matter here)

Taksh was asked for some advice he’d like to give to straight people on how the homosexual community would like to be treated by straight people.

“Treat us normally! Treat us on the basis of our personality. Our sexuality shouldn’t have anything to do with the way we are treated. Gay people on the other hand need to realise. That they are not on an ice stage encrusted with diamonds and if they are being called out for being eggheads then the entire community ain’t gonna rally behind them. Just cause you’re homosexual doesn’t give you a warrant to be a pain in the backside.”

I also asked Taksh to give a few words of advice for young boys who are struggling to come to terms with their homosexuality. Here’s what he had to say:

Its not as bad as you think it is. You’re young and the world seems like a scary place and don’t get me wrong, it is. Then again you also have the tools to navigate through this scary place. Use those tools.

Don’t let your sexuality define you. Focus on being your own person. Even if that person is a super villain, be a kick ass gay super villain. Just.Be.The.Real.You.

-Before you seek love; love yourself first.

-If you do not fit in a stereotype don’t feel pressured to fit into a box, you don’t want to be in. If you fit not a stereotype them that’s okay as well, don’t feel pressured into breaking out of the mould either. ( If you want to be a sports loving, beer chugging man who loves men it’s okay. If you happen to be a limp wrist end fashionista with a lip and an affinity for pop music, that’s fine too.)

You have a long way to go. This is just one of the many discoveries you will make about yourself in life. There’s a lot more to come, focus on what makes you happy. The thing about life is; no one makes it out alive, just have fun.

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