A Note From Abhijit, in Assam, India…

I am Abhijit, 22 year old gay male. Born on JAN 6, 1991. I am currently a student of Mechanical Engineering and shall graduate next year.

Homosexuality, in India, is not a topic that family discusses over dinner. It is something that doesn’t happen in normal life. You hear about it and comment on it but rarely do you need to face it. People have a black and white view on gender and sexuality issues, either you are a man or a woman, the rest is all messed up. The closest issue is the intersex community, the ‘Hijras’, that common public has to face in overcrowded trains, demanding money in exchange for blessings. Most people shell out their money not wanting to associate long with these ‘disgusting’ people. It is a sorry state for them that this is the means of earning for most of the intersex community. Being ostracised and ridiculed by public, they have mostly accepted this way of living and flaunt around their ‘abnormality’ and extort money in exchange of leaving you alone.

People don’t see the LGBT people in any different light, they all mean one thing, that the person has no moral sense and has given up on all things natural, he/she is a deviant who can not be part of any normal society. But thank God! This kind of mentality is diminishing gradually, and people are being more rational in dealing with such situations.

Being Gay in India, I had never come across another person like myself i.e gay. So it was a hard enough time trying to understand why I was different from other boys? When my friends were busy ogling girls, why I never felt the same way about them? Many a times I caught myself admiring boys and seniors…but shrugged it off. I had little concept that something as Homosexuality existed.

As I grew this attraction towards boys increased and I found myself getting off on fantasy scenarios involving guys. I was disgusted and crestfallen, and as much as i tried to ‘cure’ myself i just slipped into denial. I started researching on my condition and used the Net in it’s full scope. Finally after 8 years of struggle and denial I suddenly decided to one day just to accept it. The first person I came out to was my best friend, who initially was shocked. But then simply in his usual manner shrugged of my anxiety and started teasing me…just like that he accepted it without question and for the first time I felt so confident and free! After that I told my room mate, he was speechless and quite confused as how to react, but when i told my other friend in the Hostel he just ran away! My roommate talked to him and explained that I was not an idiot, that to say such a big thing would mean that there was something in it and that being friends they should support me. I realised that day I had really good friends who I underestimated. When I told my sister, she was totally shocked and tried to convince me that I was not. But after a few weeks of discussion she decided that I was not ‘confused’ and told me that she was always with me no matter what.

It took another year for me to work up the courage to come out in public, I had plans to Graduate, get a job, leave India and be someplace where I could be me. But I didn’t want to run away and hide like a coward. I didn’t want my sexuality to determine my future. I want a good job after graduation and whether or not I want to leave India is my personal decision. I won’t do it just to ‘be myself’. I love my country and my family. I have my responsibilities to them. I will not shrug them off just like that. Plus, people are ignorant about sexuality issues because they don’t come across any openly gay or lesbian people.

So one day I just decided to come out on Facebook, without consulting anyone. And living in a Boys hostel, doing that was complete social hara-kiri. My friends tried to convince me to remove my update. They were worried of its effect on my life and theirs. But I was adamant. There was an uproar for a few days, it strained my relation with my friends too. Because they too came under fire for associating with me. But many people came to tell me that they were happy for me and would be there if I needed any protection. My friends stood up for me and dealt with most of the questions and accusations but never let go of me. I was proud and happy for having such friends. Many started avoiding me and when I went out there were always stares, whispers and comments. The first few days was a great struggle to go to the classes too, but I was determined to keep things as normal as possible. Gradually people got over the shock and came to terms with it and treated me like any other day. No one was ‘homophobic’, just a little ignorant and misinformed. By coming out I gave permission to them to study me and judge me and to realise that I’m just any other normal guy, special because of my simplicity, not sexuality.

They now all know a gay guy, so if in the future any of them know a sibling or a child who comes out, they won’t have to face going through the shock, they will more or less understand that it is not what completely defines a person. They will be able to treat him/her with respect and love, not ignorant, hatred and despair. Now my sexuality hardly matters in my college. I have been tagged the ‘Gay guy’, but with the exception of a handful of people, no one treats me any differently because of it. I will forever be indebted to those people who stood by me and set the examples of tolerance and understanding.

I still haven’t come out to my Father. But I will, I don’t want to break his heart, but it is not something that should. The rest is upto him. I hope he will understand.

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