Tag Archives: coming out

The Gender Closet


Author: Anonymous from India

I was born in 1989. It was my first tryst with gender. I was my parents’ first-born. My father, unhappy with a girl child, refused to take my mother home. He came around eventually when I was about a year old, and never did he make me feel any less because of my gender. But years later, when I came to know of the agony and suffering my mother had to go through because of my father’s initial rejection of me (and of her), I was furious with him. I could never tell him that. My father passed away in 2002. I was thirteen then. As I have realized over the years, that was my second engagement with gender. Overnight, not only had I stopped being a child only concerned over report cards, sports, and being popular with friends, but I had also become the ‘son’ of the family. What that meant was that I had started making my own decisions and had an opinion of my own – qualities which, in an ideal world would be agendered – but in the world I inhabited, made me feel ‘like a man’. The artificiality and constructedness of gender roles would dawn upon me much later, thankfully not too late.

The Crush(es)

My first real crush was the neighbourhood ‘didi’. We had sleepovers, spoke into the night, exchanged stories of our everyday lives. Then there was this ‘best friend’ at school who I couldn’t stop talking to and thinking about. University changed my life in many ways. I fell in love with a friend who was (still is) heterosexual.  Another friend was in love with me as well. But the biggest change happened when a bunch of us opted for the Gender Studies course at University. New ideas were thrown up every day. Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble made a lot of sense. My life started to make sense as well. I could articulate my thoughts on how looking at that heterosexual friend made me feel happiest, even though I knew she had a boyfriend.

Time Flies and How?

I had completed my Masters in 2011, and had been teaching at a college. I had attended a seminar where an acclaimed playwright was there to inaugurate some gallery on Indian English literature and interact with students as well. As the dramatist took the stage, I asked my professor who was sitting next to me, “Is the lady sitting in the front row his wife?” Astonished, said Professor turned to me, “He’s gay!” I was mightily embarrassed. I knew the dramatist’s plays spoke of homosexuality but I had never linked his art to his sexuality. I do not know what had changed but when I reached home that day I called up my professor and came out to him.

What followed was a long process of coming out to myself, coming out to three of my friends, coming out but scrambling back in when it came to telling my mother. We live in different cities now and I want to keep it that way.

I met someone last year, and we’ve been together since. Life is still complicated but I know where I stand. I identify myself as queer.

Coming Out of the Closet

harvey-milkAuthor: Sukhdeep from Kolkata, West Bengal, now living in Bangalore, Karnataka, India. The following was first posted on his blog in 2009. Since his coming out, the author has been involved in LGBT work and successfully running a leading online gay magazine.

Watched Milk (Oscar-nominated movie) yesterday. Such a beautiful movie, and an inspirational one too. Yes, I have been inspired by it a lot, and the flow of emotions in me are currently running so high that I have finally decided to come out through this blog, lest I again revert back to my shell. Yes, you read it right. Come Out.

I had been deliberating over this matter for a long time. Each time I watch such a movie or go through someone’s coming out experience, I feel like breaking the veil myself. But, its never easy to come out and say, “I’m Gay”. But I partially broke this veil a year ago, when I came out to one of my best friends. That was also after much thought, and when I could no longer bear the fact that he “didn’t know me completely”. I always thought what if he says, “Don’t talk to me again!”. But I mustered enough courage to break the news to him. Though quite shocked (and I had to explain a lot of things to him), he finally said, “It doesn’t matter to me what your sexuality is. You are still the same friend to me.” That gave me some courage and then I came out to my second best friend in December, 2008. He too has been quite supportive. But still, I had asked them not to tell it to anyone and so I am still suffering from almost the same plight.

Now, let me just point out a few points why coming out is so difficult:

1) First of all, while growing up, it’s always confusing not to share the same feelings as others. You can’t talk to others, because you don’t know why or what is happening. Once you realise the fact that you are gay, you realise that it is not something that would be accepted.

2) The worst fear is that of being ostracized. You suddenly become untouchable for many homophobes or ignorant people. You would be the butt of each joke, looked down upon, teased and discriminated against. And for what?

3) Coming out to the family is the most difficult. More so because, in India, it is the duty of the son to carry the family blood ahead. Each mother wants to have her grandchildren. How are you to shatter the dreams of someone you love so dearly? And then, given the generation gap, you are never sure if your parents would be able to accept it and not force you to go against your will. This probably could explain why in India, there have been cases of lesbian girls eloping, but never any case of gays. I accept, men are cowards not to be able to break free of these social bondages.

I know that if this news spreads on campus, probably my life will become a living hell. Each of my actions will be scrutinised and misconstrued, but I can’t take it any more. It kills me each day to be someone I am not. I don’t know how I will face others, but I know I must. Thanks to Harvey Milk to give me enough courage. Thanks to the speech of the director of Milk in the Oscars. I am finally out to at least two more people (with the potential of this news spreading faster than wild fire). For the homophobes, I just have one question – Don’t you have left handed persons in the society, though majority of us are right handed? If you could accept them, why not Gays? Heterosexuality is not normal, it’s just common.

Dance Party Prayer

isloo-starsAuthor: Summer from Islamabad, Pakistan

It was when I was 14 and there was a dinner party at my house and I invited two of my friends from school and, as usual, we holed up in our room and danced to loud music while the grownups did their partying downstairs. And there was this moment: I was tired and out of breath, so I stood near the door watching the other two. And watching one of my best friends, I thought: Oh my God, she’s beautiful! She’s so amazingly beautiful and I love her so much.

And then I thought: Please don’t let me be gay please don’t let me gay please don’t let me be gay.

Twenty years later and I’m glad God didn’t answer that particular prayer.