A letter to all ‘well meaning’ people who think we don’t need Pride Marches or to talk about homosexuality at all!

​”I am all for LGBT rights but why do you people have to be so loud and flamboyant?”

“I think 377 should be removed but Pride marches should be banned.”

“I understand it’s not a choice but really who cares what you do in bedrooms. Why shout about it on the streets?”

“377 is not even enforced. Just don’t talk about gay sex, no one is checking your bedrooms.”

“People like you are the reason why no one supports LGBT rights. You make everyone uncomfortable with your parades and vulgar talks about sex.”

You know what? Just fuck off. If you think by just saying ‘i don’t mind gay people’ you are being supportive, you are not. You are just saying you are indifferent and it doesn’t matter. Which is fine, which is great, which is quite preferable. But don’t pretend that you care.

Indifference is not the same as actually caring. And when the biggest issue about standing for our cause to you is the ‘inconvenience’ of having to hear us talk about sexuality,watch us openly asking for our rights, see us celebrating our existence and being counted as a part of the society, then fuck you and your ‘pity’.

You don’t get to demand and dictate how we ask for our rights, as if you would have cared or advocated for us if we chose to sit quietly. We are not fighting to convince you anything, we are not asking for your ‘pity’ or ‘sympathy’. We are fighting to be left alone, to have the shackles of regressive laws removed from the private parts of our lives, to reclaim our own space in our society and country.

You don’t have to look at us if you don’t want to, you don’t have to hear us if you don’t want to. You can go on pretending we don’t exist as you have for ages. But don’t dare to ask us to quiet down our voice or tone down our visibility because it makes you ‘uncomfortable’ or ‘inconvenient’.

You know what is uncomfortable and inconvenient? To have to explain and justify your personal lives, your intimate relationships, your sexual choices or lack thereof to each and everyone. To have to lie and hide integral parts of your identity, your personality from your closest friends and family because you could be humiliated, mocked, isolated, locked up, beaten up or even killed. To feel that you owe an explanation to everyone as to why you are the way you are

So if you think your discomfort and inconvenience you feel from us coming out and talking about ourselves and celebrating our existence is excuse enough for us to shut up.

Just fuck off.

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Pride: Pune, The second Chapter

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Its almost been a year (10 months to be more precise) since I attended my first Pride march, here in Pune. Last Sunday again I got the chance to be a part of Pune’s 5th pride march. The last time I was there, I was a lonely guy who didn’t know anyone out there and just showed up out of the blue because I wanted to feel the sense of belonging, ironically, from all strangers. And I was right, all the people there were a part of a giant family, which so readily welcomed me and made me feel at ease. The feeling of pride and acceptance from the fellow members of the community and the allies really lit the fire of passion for freedom and self acceptance in me. The shy, nerdy, silent, awkward and introverted boy found it in himself to shout out loud on the streets filled with strangers alongside a newly adopted family. An hour at most, the pride lasted, an hour where I shouted loud enough for all the years I had spent silent. For all the other guys who were still silent. I wanted my voice to reassure me and them….that change is possible …that it is possible to be able to love and respect yourself for who you are and to be loved and respected for who you are. 10 months in Pune have gone so soon…it is hard to believe. I have hardly began exploring the city. And already have a love hate relationship with my job. But the friends I made here. The very first members of my newly adopted queer family in Pune, they have kept me anchored to this city and given me memories so fond that I will cherish them as some of the best moments of my life.

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In the last pride I met Manoj, we had a spark instantly, and he has been my guide, mentor and friend in the Queer culture of this city. We spent time together, got close, even worked together. Though I am sure at times I might have been a pain in the ass (No…not the kind you are imagining. Just Stop!). He still put up with me and introduced me to a lot of wonderful people. I would like to take this chance to thank him for being who he is. He really is a darling gem of a human being. And the night before the pride was an absolute riot as was the night of the pride (we won’t be talking about the latter).

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Thanks to Manoj’s ‘mehendi ki rasam’ I got overexcited and managed to get my hands mehendid as well. But Sumit really did an excellent job and I have girls in my office requesting me to get him to mehendi their hands. I got to meet a lot of people from the community (whom I have been stalking) this year and really, really enjoyed my time with all. Sumit, Aditya, Mayuresh, Chandramohan, Anup, Partha, Krsna, Sagar, I really had a fun time with all of you guys.

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And Aniket, I am really glad that we finally met. You are one of the sweetest, most decent guy I know and you certainly have a lot of guts! Vishal….you too are one of the sweetest guys and so helpful, supportive and encouraging always. I am really lucky to have found you guys. Wish instead of being annual, Pride marches were monthly. It would give us all more excuse to keep gathering and enjoying that familial energy.
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Pride: The Guwahati Chapter [15/02/2015]

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I know the pride was over a week before I began writing this. But I have been very busy the past week as this Pride not only turned out to be the MOST happening amongst the three prides have been to but also as this pride bestowed me a gift of a special companionship, that which I thoroughly enjoyed the entire week, and which I hope to carry forward into the future. This week indeed has been the most magical week of my life.

The North-East Pride Walk might have not been as grand an affair as the Pune pride, nor it might have had the 5000 strong turnover as the Mumbai pride, but what set it apart was that it consisted of people who were not entirely strangers to each other. There was a familial feel to the entire crowd and conversation flowed easily and freely among all the participants. Also it was one of the few Prides in the country that had presented dance performances, and poetry recitation.

On a personal level this Pride meant a lot more to me than any other could. This was the first pride march in my hometown I was attending, this was the first time I was involved in a pride in a way more than just as a participant,it was the first time I was not going to a pride alone but with real friends. And most importantly, this was the pride in which I got clicked in a lot of photos! 😛

For me the Pride never ended on that day, it seemed to carry on the entire week. Each time we guys met it was like a mini-pride, we really enjoyed the company where we could be truly ourselves, where we didn’t give a shit to what would be thought of us, where we would cuss and talk of the dirtiest, grossest, weirdest things (especially some girls :P) and not bother who’s listening. It was pride each time I met you and walked about holding hands in SK, in the bus, near Brahmaputra and talked and enjoyed each others company. It was pride when the three of us shared those soothing moments sitting on a rock on the river-shore in Umananda. This entire week has been an unforgettable journey and it really makes me sad that right now I am miles away from u guys and will be many more miles away in a few hours. But I hope to live those moments again with you and until then I will just cherish them.

 

 

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Some friendships grow when u spend a lifetime together….but a moment spent with some special friends seems like an entire lifetime. Love you guys. And to someone special….I Love You….and I will make you mine. 🙂

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A Mother’s plea…

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“Son… I have never asked you for anything in your life. This is the only thing I ask for. Trust me…..you will not regret this.”

She said with confidence. She had full faith in her son, that he would do the right thing. She knew him better than anyone else. She saw him struggle through his life, she saw him overcome his own failures. She herself taught him to trust in himself and believe in himself. She had full faith in him, that he would overcome this hurdle too. All that he needed was a little guidance. He was the son any mother would be proud of, and even if he was going through a dark time, she knew he would eventually find the light.

He held the phone tightly. He could feel her unwavering faith in him, he could feel the love in her voice. He could feel the warmth of her hug, he longed for nothing more than to rest in her arms. He knew he could always confide his deepest and most personal feelings to her.

And yet, he couldn’t bring himself to say what he really wanted to. He couldn’t dare to imagine the pain and hurt in her voice if he really said what he wanted to.

“ok….i will…”

He whispered into the phone. He could feel the chains rattling around him, tightening their coils as he spoke the words. He felt like reading out his own death sentence.

 

She smiled in relief. “You will not regret this. Have I ever asked you to do anything wrong? You will realise in time that this is the right decision.”

 

He smiled, she was happy….for now. He knew what would be in store for him in his future. She didn’t know it yet. And he hoped she never would have to find out. But how long could he fake it? His happiness. Maybe long enough to start believing his own lie? Could he go back in denial? Back into the closet? Maybe if he could marry a girl who could be a good friend, maybe when he had kids?

Maybe she is right? Could it be that once he married all his feelings would change? If it did….what would it mean about his feelings now? Was what he felt until now just a phase? An illusion? Did he really believe in a lie all these years, from his childhood? If it were so….then could he really ever trust his own feelings again? Could he ever believe in himself anymore?

Every fibre of his being told him it was not a phase. It is how he has always been, and it would never change. And if that is the case….what would happen then? Would he have to fake his happiness in front of her? How long could he keep up the charade? And what about their relation? Could he ever be truthful to her anymore? If he had to fake his happiness, there was no way he could share his feelings with her.

In addition to the chains he could see the bars of the cage holding him in, secluding him from his loved ones. This is what his life would be, forever…. He felt his heart sink. And realised, he would have to kill it completely to do what she asked him to do.

Taking a deep breath he let out a sigh.

“I am sorry, mom….I can’t.”

The other end was silent for a long time.

“Don’t say it son….please…don’t” she pleaded with him.

His heart broke to hear his mothers voice…..

“I’m sorry mom….but you have to trust me on this. I know you are hurting now. I could say yes just to stop you from hurting…. but I am hurting too. And what you are asking will hurt me and you both. You could be happy now thinking you have saved me. But when time will pass, you would realise my pain and I know it would pain you twice as much. You taught me to believe in myself, to trust my instincts. Now I am asking you to believe in me….trust in me, that I will find my own way to happiness. I have not forsaken you or all that you have taught me. I am merely using your guidance to forge my own path. I don’t want to fake my happiness for you. That would be an insult to you too. And I don’t want you to ever regret or feel guilty for the mistakes in my life. Let me make my own mistakes, I will atone for them. I don’t want to hide anything from you, Mom. So please don’t force me to make a decision that will force me to hide my feelings, force me to doubt myself. You taught me to be free, you of all people I expect to understand the most how I feel. So please forgive me Mom, but I can’t give you what you are asking for.”

Tears streaked his face, his heart ached to feel her hurt. But the chains were gone, and so was the cage. He told her what was in his heart. He couldn’t lie to her. And he would never lie to her.

She was silently sobbing on the other end. She knew there was nothing she could do for him, but trust that he find the right path by himself. She had tried….but it was all up to him now. She prayed that the Gods be with him.

“I trust you son. I hope you make the right choice….whichever it maybe. And I will not force you for anything ever again. And you should never have to fake your happiness dear, not for me and not for anyone. Take care and Good Night….”

 

A Successful Marriage…


He sat beside the window and watched the scenery blurring away, his brown eyes staring past the window but his mind elsewhere. He kept thinking about the same thing over and over again. A day before leaving home his parents called him to the drawing room to talk. It was odd, they usually were quite frank and straightforward with him so this need for a ‘counsel’ both mystified and scared him. He was dreading that he had perhaps overestimated his parents acceptance of his sexuality and this was some kind of ‘intervention’. Maybe they would ask him to consider therapy. He felt heartbroken and expecting the worst he had obliged to their ‘meeting’. What he learnt there did break his heart, but not in any way he had been expecting.

***

Two days ago in Alex’s drawing room….

“Son, we need to talk to you about something very important. Promise me that you will listen with an open mind.”
So they were actually thinking of some kind of therapy. Alex couldnt help feeling hurt and betrayed. Just days ago they both said they loved him for who he was and now they do this.
” I promise mom.”
He tried not to let any feelings seep into his words.
Pranita and Digvijay looked at each other and steeled themselves for the plunge.
” Alex, son, what we want to tell you is something about our marriage. We feel that you have a right to know and understand. I think you are old enough.”

“Wh…what is it dad? What are you talking about?”
Alex was scared. He had no idea what this was all about. They couldnt be getting a divorce. No way. They were the fucking best parents! They were the perfect couple! They NEVER got into fights. They loved each other!
Digvijay looked at Pranita, she understood and continued.
” You see Alex, when we were married our marriage was arranged by our parents. We did not meet each other until a month before our wedding. We did not have a romantic whirlwind love story with a happy ending. Our story started with our marriage.”
“So….are you guys saying that you want to go seperate ways to find someone else and fall in love?!!” The stupidity of the idea baffled Alex.
He looked at their faces, they both looked shocked.
” What the… We are not getting divorced! What gave you the idea!” Digvijay blustered.
Now Alex felt stupid ” Holding a counsel and talking about your marriage what am i supposed to think?”
Pranita pacified him ” No darling we are not getting divorced. We shall come to the point but we dont want to be blunt with you. You see, before we got married I was shown your fathers photo, he was handsome and I was young. I had been brought up to be a good daughter and housewife. My parents had chosen a good looking groom for me. I trusted their decision and was happy. One day your father came to our house and asked to meet me in private. He said he had something important to talk to me. You see, your father was already in love with someone else.”
Alex turned towards his dad, and raised an eyebrow.
Digvijay cleared his throat and cast his eyes down ” Yes i was. When I was a medical student, in college, I had fallen in love. We loved each other, and our relationship had grown very strong in these five years of college and I could not imagine my life without him by my side. So when my parents told me they had a bride for me…”
“Him?….Dad you are….were…are…” he couldnt bring himself to say it.
Digvijay looked at his son with a pained expression
“I am gay. I am sorry to put you through this painful conversation. But that is not the only thing we had to tell you. It would have been easier for all of us to not have this conversation, but it would not have been right.”
Pranita quickly picked up the conversation ” Your dad was in love with a man, and his parents had chosen a bride for him. Now focus on the story and listen carefully” she scolded Alex. He was glad to not have to look at his dad right now.
” There was no way he could bring himself to tell his family that he was in love with a boy. So he came to me to ask me to call off the wedding. I had never heard of such a thing before and i was as disgusted as i was shocked. I started crying and he tried to console me.”
” It was awkward as hell. She finally ran into her room crying and I was scolded for making her cry. But she did not call off the wedding.”
” I could not bring myself to tell my parents about this. And i could not think of any excuse to break the wedding. Moreover if the marriage did break, my family would have to bear the brunt. People would talk about us and it would be harder for me to find a suitable match.”
” When I realized that this wedding could not be stopped, I decided to run away with ‘him’. I was still in college then. We had planned to run away from the hostel but one day before our due day, ‘he’ left silently without even meeting me. He left a letter for me and wrote that I should get married to the girl and lead a normal life. That he loved me but it was an impossible dream to be together. I never heard from him since.”
Alex looked up at his dad. He could hear the pain in his voice and saw it in his eyes.
” After that I just didnt care anymore. I let things happen and just carried on. I tried to numb all my feelings.”
Pranita wiped away a tear and sniffed.
” After that, we were married and everybody celebrated, but of course not us. After the wedding, we went on living like a nornal couple in front of everyone. But when we were alone it was only awkward silences. I kept busy doing house chores and helping my mother-in-law. And your father buried himself in his studies. But I could see him broken inside. Though I couldnt understand his love for another man, I could see he was in pain and felt sorry for him. I even found the letter ‘he’ wrote to your dad. I cried to sleep that night and I realized how much they loved each other and how heart broken your father was. I tried to be nicer to him and take care of him. I could not be his lover but I tried to be his friend.”
They looked at each other and smiled. Alex looked at them and he realized that despite what their story was, they were in love at this moment.
” Your mother is the most selfless woman in the world. Here she was, a newly wedded bride of a gay man who wouldnt look at her. And she was still sympathising with me. I was sinking in my own sorrow but when I looked at her and realised just how strong and kind hearted she was. I felt guilty for putting her in this situation. I tried to make amends by bringing small gifts and helping her in house work. Slowly we got to be good friends, we talked about everything. From my bofyriend to her love for dance. Then I graduated and became a doctor and we shifted to the city. I started my practise and your mom took up dance classes. We stayed together, a married couple, though really we were just two live-in friends. We helped each other overcome our fears, face our demons and most importantly happiness. Divorce was discussed but we decided to stick together and give a shot at making our friendship a real marriage and you came into our lives.”
” With your arrival we became a real family, two parents and a child. We have been mostly celibate our whole married life and we have not cheated on each other ever. You meant everything to us and still do. We felt blessed to have you. And we will always be your parents and we shall always remain a family.” His mother clutched his hands and kissed his forehead.
His father looked at them and smiled
” Son, when you came out to us, truthfully I was scared. But your mother was glad and she took it as a second chance for us to make things right. By giving you freedom to choose your own life partner. And it was your courage that gave us the courage to tell you the truth. You need to realize that our marriage was succesful only because both of us are good people and sacrificed a lot to stay together. Marriages like ours have a one in a million chances of surviving. Your mother and I are good friends and she is a good mother. I hope i can call myself a good father. And we have a good and brave son. This is what makes us a family, son. So be very careful when choosing who you share your life with. And be a good man first.”

Alex did not have any words to say. He just hugged them together and cried.

Criminal from India

A brief introduction of a Criminal fro. India…..
I am an engineering student from Assam, India. I grew up in a society 1where homosexuality was unheard of and so was homophobia. As a 8 year old kid I used to dress up in my mothers saree with her help and roam the entire colony during Saraswati Puja and never heard a mean word from anyone. It was just a little child’s innocent play and that is how everyone saw it.
I was an introverted kid with no interest in sports or any physical activities, I very much spent most of my school life buried in books and was hardly ever in any sort of trouble. I stayed to myself and had very few select friends to whom I opened up. I was well mannered, helpful and shy, this made me much liked by teachers and elders, even the burly boys of my class treated me nicely. I knew early in life that I was different from the rest of the boys, but I pretty much spent my entire school life in denial. Even after hitting puberty, when I used to get aroused by the male anatomy I chalked it up to ‘late growth’ or ‘hormonal imbalance’ and earnestly believed I would grow out of it. I never thought of myself as ‘Gay’, and though I am usually less judgmental of different people, I had a homophobic streak as I refused to believe that sexuality couldn’t be changed.
When I entered college I started to imagine my future life as a person dedicated to his work as I didn’t believe I could live a married life. It hurt to think I would never get to raise a son or a daughter. But then I fell head over heels for a guy in college, my first love. And after spending a few agonizing months in his presence, helplessly trying to convince myself that it was just ‘friendship’, I finally broke down and came out of denial. After facing reality I couldn’t bear the burden of a secret, I came out to my best friend from school, he had been a great friend and mentor to me in my school days and had helped me build my confidence and over come my shyness. None of that changed, and he told me that he was proud of me to choose to come out. Encouraged with my first confession, I decided to come out to the friend I crushed on. I told him everything, about my sexuality and my feelings for him. He was shocked, but he didn’t run away, didn’t shout at me, didn’t ask me to change. He supported me and stood by me when a few months later I came out to everyone on Facebook.
“Today on Janmashthami, birthday of the God of Love ‘Krishna’, i fasted and prayed to the Lord to give me the courage and the will to do the right thing. And right now sitting on my computer i think i need to share this with all and any who are concerned or care that i am Gay. I hope i’m doing the right thing, not by being gay but by coming out like this i mean. I do not choose to be gay, i just choose to live a life where i’m free to love….”
These were the exact words that i wrote on Facebook. This was a bold step and I was shit scared. I hadn’t asked anyone or discussed with anyone before doing it. But I was not going to live a secret life. I wanted people to see me as a gay guy and realise that i was normal. The following few weeks were hard as my friends all screamed at me, but they were angry with me for being public about it. I was pleasantly surprised as most of my classmates and college friends came to my support. I was never bullied and never a bad word said to me. Though most did not believe I was actually gay, or thought I would change, no one abandoned me or harassed me. Yes there were people who said things behind my back, but they wouldn’t dare to say it to my face because I would give back as much I got. And my friends always had my back.
I came out to my father after the Indian SC re-criminalized homosexuality, he believes its a perversion and that i can change if i try,but he would not stop loving me if I choose to settle with another man.