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.

Suicide is NOT an act of weakness

Following Pratyusha Banerjee’s suicide, Indian social media has gone wild with scrutiny of her affairs and actions. Some are calling medias obsession with the incident as an insult and invasion of her privacy and blaming them for blowing it out of proportions. Some are blaming her boyfriend and her closed ones for not paying enough attention to her. Some are blaming her for not being strong enough, calling her weak willed and fragile.

The truth is nobody knows exactly what she was going through and what circumstances led her to do it. It will make no difference to her anymore no matter how much we scrutiny her death. Remember Jiah Khan anyone? Right.

Can the Right to end one’s own life be a Fundamental Right?

This incident however sparked off some interesting discussions and debates about suicide and depression and how to deal with it. Some people have been actually bold enough to suggest that suicide should not be illegal or stigmatized. According to them, if we have full right (ideally) over our bodies and every aspect of our lives. Why should we not have control over how to end it? Why don’t we get to decide when enough is enough and that we are not ready to go on any further?

A person should have the right to end their life as and when they choose to. It is a personal choice. It makes sense to support the right to euthanasia for those terminally ill and living in extreme painful and pitiful conditions.

BUT.

How many of those that commit suicide, do it as a well thought-out, planned decision, after carefully considering both pros and cons, with a rational, unbiased and emotionally balanced mind?

More often than not, it is just a permanent solution to completely temporary problems. Problems that could have been avoided or dealt with just a little bit more patience and help.

Should these people also be allowed to end their lives and call it an exercise of ‘free will’? NO.

There is a difference between Euthanasia for a terminally ill patient who has only physical pain and sorrow to look forward to and that of taking one’s life because of mental stress and anguish. The latter is temporary, the former is inevitable.

Suicidal thoughts do not just manifest on their own. It’s like a tiny seed that starts from “I wish for this to end.” and goes through stages of “I wish the ground would just swallow me or the truck would just hit me and end my problems”. Ultimately, it reaches “I wish there were a painless way to end this” to “What is a little bit of momentary pain to be so afraid of?”

Is suicide an act of cowardice?

It actually takes a lot of guts to take the step. And once you make that decision, you actually feel free. Free of the fear and pain that holds you down. Free of the fear of death. Once you have made that decision you feel invincible because you have taken control of your life. The period between when the decision is made and the act is carried out, you become the most fearless and peaceful person in the world. Because you know nothing matters anymore. You know that whatever you do now, you no longer have to fear the consequences.

Once you accept death, you have nothing else to fear from life. What if you allow yourself just one day more to live? One more day to do just what you want without fearing about the consequences? Just go and bitch slap that asshole who ruined your life. Or go confess your feelings to that boy you loved. Or go apologize to that person whose life you may have ruined. Tell your friends how much you love them. Tell those who betrayed you how much they hurt you. Go and do everything you ever wanted to. Don’t worry about what happens next. Whatever happens will no longer matter once you are dead.

And why not spend each day of the rest of your life like that? Death is eventually gonna come for you. It will render all your worries, pains and sadness useless. Until then, why not live each day like it’s your last? Trust me, it is a wonderful feeling, to be free. If you are brave enough to have taken the decision consciously to end your life, then trust me, you are brave enough to live each day of your life like it is the last.

Depression is an ailment and it CAN be treated

Suicidal tendencies are a symptom of clinical depression. People suffering from severe depression often suffer from strong suicidal tendencies, if not treated, the consequences could be fatal. If you suspect yourself or someone you know to be suffering from depression, please don’t second guess yourself or try to deal with it on your own. Take an expert opinion and start treatment immediately if necessary. AASRA is an Indian organization which you can contact if you feel suicidal, they have experts who will listen to you and guide you through your hard time.
24×7 Helpline: 91-22-27546669

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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What Pride means to me…….[Pune Pride march 11/9/2014]

‘What does pride mean to you?’. That’s a question I have heard many people ask. I finally have an answer for it; to me Pride means to accept the things I dont need to change and be proud of how far I have come from being ashamed of myself to taking to the streets and shouting at the top of my voice that I am gay and that’s ok. To me Pride means freedom, self respect and hope that no other kid has ever have to feel ashamed of who they are.

I had languished for years in the closet so deep i had managed to fool even myself but 3 years ago i started breaking down the closet door one piece at a time. With each stroke i gained back my self respect and confidence. And today i finally managed to demolish the closet all at one go.

Pune Pride March of 9th November 2014, marks my first participation as an open and out gay person in a public event. And believe me it will not be the last. I will cherish all my memories of the experience; the euphoria, the strength, the power of unity and the burning hope. These feelings are burnt into my heart. And how I wish we could have this events every month. To feel so connected to a crowd of strangers that you feel more close to them than family, i will miss it.

I am glad I came to Pune and luck favored so that I could be a part of it. I regret having missed the first pride march in my home city Guwahati. But I will try my best to be part of all such events that take place in whichever part of the world I am in.

Thank you Sampathik Trust, thank you Pune city and thank you all the wonderful people that came and participated. Thank you all for these wonderful memories and feelings.

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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.