This could be inexhaustible but I need to write this one down. Coming out is a long never ending process, for the assumption of heteronormativity dictates that every single time I meet a new person I declare my sexuality that every time I want to make friends I need to make it obvious I’m gay and well sometimes I wonder, what gave it away, was it the mascara, was it the stole, was it my walk, what was it? Sometimes you give it away and sometimes you need to declare but this process is never ending and that’s something one has to come to terms with if you’re not heterosexual; that the most private part of human existence, that something that happens in my bedroom needs to publicly declared and told and for due reason. The due reason is that we do not live in utopia and that I am scared and I would hate to befriend someone who does not respect my identity or someone who claims himself to be homophobic. In an unfair world it becomes imperative on my part to make this declaration in the interest of sharing information that forms the premise of social interactions.
Recently at a party, I met a few people and I was the first gay person they claimed to have ever met. I was the first gay person they knew, but I have been the first for several countless others. A boy had the audacity to tell me that well he does not like homosexual people, he does not like people in general and that he might have even punched me because my hugs are not the “straight-dude-45-degree-slant-hug” and are rather closer to natural platonic and loving hugs, and well he didn’t do it because he knew me. I never know what it means. “I used to be homophobic but then I met you and I know you so now I’m cool” I’m glad that I could change and alter your life in a meaningful way but I am fairly frustrated at doing so time and again day in and day out with people I could not give a fuck about.
Tonight I do not want to rant about everything that is miserably wrong in and around us and tonight I am writing this to celebrate my identity albeit it is a continuum of a lifelong crisis but who doesn’t have an identity crisis. I want to overtly put it out there that I am so glad I am queer, that what I’ve learnt from being queer is so priceless that I can never thank my stars enough and that if I were to ever be born again I would much rather be queer, be vibrant.
At an awfully late introduction I would also include in my disclaimer the errors in this post, grammatical errors, errors of judgment, errors of optimism, errors of hope, errors of generalization, errors of utopia, errors of dystopia and errors that just make me more human. I do not wish to be critical tonight of everything that is wrong but much rather appreciate millions of individuals across the world who have stood through thick and thin true to their identities, true to defining and finding themselves true to the phrase “I don’t give a fuck about society” true to living and true to being. Thank you! You give me hope, you give me strength. And if you’re reading this and happen to be queer, I reach out to you and offer you a free hug; in an era of social media virtual hugs count and we should get used to them.
What have I learnt and observed as a queer person. My lessons so far.
- Coming out does not mean a public speech, not even a lecture, not an award not a book. Coming out is a long process and the premise of coming out is acceptance. Not the acceptance that we expect from society but the blissful acceptance that comes from within yourself because you have truly accepted the most vulnerable parts of being human, the most secret parts of being alive, you have stopped existing and started living, the light of the day, the darkness of the night, the coolness of the breeze, the smell of the rain, the quiet of the winters, it all feels real and you feel it, you are no longer suffocated. Millions of people in this world spend their lives underneath the burden of expectations. Expectations from society, from friends, from parents, partners, bosses but coming out is that moment of breaking free because you have set the bar. You have told yourself that you will be true to yourself and you will live your life the way you want to even if it is at the risk of losing people, losing opportunities, losing friends, losing a lot, and a lot of times unfortunately a lot is at stake, and well if you have come thus far, you should be proud because you have lived and known your purpose, you don’t spend your entire life trying to find yourself in monotonous mundane daily conundrums, you’ve found yourself, your voice amidst all the chaos and all the noise, and within there is peace.
- Some stereotypes might be true some stereotypes might be false but stereotypes are a bad thing. You do not need to fit in, you don’t need to defy either. You don’t have to conform and you don’t have to try being unique. You are you and that nobody can take it away from you, not even you can deny it to yourself. Wear a mascara, don’t wear it, be a drag, a queen, a lesbian, bisexual, a girl, a boy, agender, trans, classify yourself or don’t classiry yourself, label or un-label yourself, be a diva, be a fashionista, be someone, don’t be someone, be that person, that individual, be this or that, or be a hamster. But, remember to be. Don’t forget being.
- You will always be someone’s first gay boy, lesbian girl, trans person, or cis person or non hetero person, and unfortunately someone’s first person. Get used to it.
- Don’t believe them when they say, it’s easy being queer. No it’s not, they have not lost a childhood, they have not gone through silently through everything that we’ve gone through and they cannot remotely understand the plight.
- People will always try to empathize by drawing misplaced analogies. Oh, you know it’s the same as me not having the right to eat ice cream. They will speak in your favor but these analogies do more harm than good. It’s the same as Palestinians not getting rights. Please do not undermine my pain or the plight of Palestinians, or the sufferings of the victims of several other evils of the world. They’re all not the same.
- Get used to attention. Oh my god, you’re queer you’re this that- you’re so awesome, you’re so stupid and such a faggot. Either way, love or hate you, will receive both of it in extreme unwarranted amounts. Stand your ground. And no, just because I’m queer I will not be happy to receive that overtly friendly kiss from you. But well, it’s okay to bow wow sometimes for the pretty ones there. It’s your call and nobody else’s.
- Sex is easy they will say, remember to play it safe. Always. You don’t want to end up with something you never signed up for. Consent is as important as protection and sharing information about health and hygiene. Sex may be easy may, not be easy but I don’t ask someone I meet for the first time about the size of their assets and the toll they’re responsible for.
- Thank your community! It has taken the painstaking and lifelong contribution of several thousands who protested for us and stood up for our rights long back in time, and it has taken millions of silent sacrifices for us to rise from oblivion. Thank your context. I come from a country that currently stands on the brink of electing a homophobic political party into power. I belong to the world’s largest democracy where approximately 50 to 100 million people are “criminal” and “unnatural” just because they were born this way! Uganda and few other countries award death penalty for acts of homosexuality, Russia and several other places have state sponsored acts of homophobia, let’s stand in solidarity because if we don’t stand together, for each other no one else will
- Have a dream- It’s legit to dream of that day, no matter how far in times you might see it. That day of equality, justice, freedom, liberty and all things bright and beautiful. Someone dared to dream centuries back and we’ve come a long way since then. In our history of evolution as human beings we’re constantly struggling to uphold human rights and treat each other fairly and if we keep trying one day we shall overcome. Don’t believe them or give in when they say “india is not ready for it” “our society/culture does not accept it” “we’re far from it” “this is going to take years” Don’t keep waiting, start with yourself, people around you for if you don’t it will always be far from reality. They will try to hurt you where it hurts the most, but don’t let them enter this holy space, don’t let them steal your dreams away.
- Love and Respect- Since we’re hardly a “community” and just a bunch of non-conformists in our own rights we give in to societal labels. Upstate- trans river, south delhi, north delhi, west delhi, east delhi, rich, poor, western, European, middle eastern, Asian, American, Russian, Latin, geek, creepy, nerdy, trans, sissy, top, bottom, versatile, gay, not gay, queer, not queer, leftist, liberal capitalist, blah bluh bleh bah. The bottom line is you are a part of a movement that is fighting the shackles of society, all these boxes and aims at a better fairer world, where we’re able to love and respect each other outside of these boxes and labels. If you don’t want to be ‘box-ed’ don’t unfairly label someone else. Be true to the spirit of love and equality and freedom. We’re not truly equal if we cannot treat others with the same kind of love and respect we expect from them.