Tag Archives: self-discovery

I Am What I Am

Author: Ceen, Punjab, Pakistan 

rickshawI am ceen, I am not a writer but I always feel when you have something to share, when there is pain in your thoughts, you can write what you feel. I belong to a typical landlord family where there is very common practice by men to use female maids for the purposes of their own desires. I grew up in a joint family, living with around 35-40 people. My father was a rebel of the family in the sense that he always believed in girls’ education and freedom of expression. I grew up in an environment where I saw my parents always criticized by other family members as they were a totally loving couple whereas my tayas (father’s elder brothers) were busy with maids.

In my family, there were more boys than girls and I spent my childhood while playing with those cousins. Till the age of 14, I was not aware about of what my orientation is.

From my childhood, I always felt attracted towards beauty; if I saw someone, a boy or a girl, who was beautiful, I always praised their beauty. There was no feeling of shyness or hesitation. One day, I was in school in Class 4, I was sitting in my classroom and a woman (who was a teacher, and a friend of my teacher) came to our class. She was amazingly beautiful! I just saw her and I was not able to turn my eyes away. She was pretty and stylish. I have never seen such a pretty women before.

She was busy with my teacher and I was just gazing her silently. After a while, she said goodbye to my teacher and left. I was totally shocked at that time as I was not ready to not see her anymore. I stood up. Suddenly my teacher said, “Oh, Adeela left her file here.”

I snatched that file and ran from the class. She was not anywhere. I rushed to the gate.We were not allowed to leave school during school hours for any reason. The gate guard tried to stop me but I was totally out of control. My school road is one of the most busy roads. As I left the school grounds, I saw her get into a rikshaw and leave. The road was full of traffic and I was totally out of my senses. I just wanted to see that face again. I rushed behind the rikshaw and after running about a half kilometer, I caught up to it. It was still moving and to make it stop, I pulled it; its wheels ran over my feet and it stopped as she and the driver noticed me. At the time, I didn’t feel any pain in my feet. I was just happy to see her. I gave her the file and said, “You forgot it.”

She said, “Why did you try to come out to find me? Are you crazy?” I was just silently gazing at her face. She said, “Ok, thanks,” and the rikhsaw left again.

Suddenly I felt pain in my foot and when I looked down, I saw it is was crushed badly. I was not able to move anymore. I couldn’t figure out what was happening to me! Why was I behaving so crazily? I was not aware about the concept of lesbian or gays.

When I was in Class 10, I saw in the newspaper that, “do hum jins paraston ne shadi kar li. (Two homosexuals have gotten married.)” I read it many times as I realized that it is something related to myself. After that, I kept an eye out for such news and many times I felt afraid, when I noticed that there is  news like, “ham jins parast jorra pakrra gaya ya unko maar dia gaya. (A homosexual couple was caught, or killed.)” I always thought: maybe it’s a sin; but what can I do? I have no control. This is natural thing – I am more attracted towards women.

This situation has converted me to a very reserved and serious kind of person.

A Scribbling Phase

dance floorPooh from Peshawar, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

A hot summer evening, a party, 2012: I was with the girls I love most.  My four best friends and I were partying when suddenly a girl, an acquaintance, asked me for my permission to be kissed. I completely refused. She insisted again and told me that this will not be on my lips. She lied, and I moved away.

I was there, sitting on a couch. And I realized something different. It was not love; it was not some magical feeling in my gut. It was a point when they show you in the movies with a swirly effect that one has a flashback.


I was engaged in 2009 to the man who proposed me and wanted to marry me. I had known him for quite some time. We were perfect.

We went out on our first date. He tried to hold my hand. I shivered and let go. I never felt attracted, I never felt at ease. The thing kept on, I cried every time he came near, and eventually we broke up in 2011.

No, being with a male person was not new to me. And I had been to co-education schools in Pakistan.


I looked at all my friends, So many people on the dance floor. And I was trying to locate myself.

I tried being with men, but I do not understand. Why do I still remember a girl that I had met up and was with for 6 months in 2002 as much as I remember my ex-fiancé? Why was I more comfortable with her ? Why would her touch be more caring? I realized that although I had fun with male partners, I could not be very comfortable with them unless I was drunk. I did not want to see what was inside their pants. I do not know if that fear came from a sexually abused childhood or just that I was not in the mood.

I racked my brain for my entire crush list. Why had I always fancied men like Will Young and Gareth Gates and not men like John Cena? I had my answer: I was surely not straight. And that I was sinning.  Being bisexual was not very difficult for my close friends to accept, because most of them were queer or friends of queer.

But the thought of my newly Islamized family finding out scares me of the consequences, and what I fear the most is losing my right to an education.

Scenes from My Life

kolkataAuthor: Kaustav M. from Kolkata, West Bengal, India

It all started in the summer of 2008 when I joined a computer-learning school. My classmates were of various age groups from as young as 14 to as old as 45. The first few days were peaceful and I liked going to my class. After first few weeks of peace a guy in his mid-20s joined us. He was short, used to wear spectacles and had great knowledge of computers which I found to be extremely attractive! We soon became friends and started hanging out.

Days passed by and one afternoon, I still remember, we were sitting in his room upstairs and no one was around. We started watching porn! It was male-female sex! For a boy who has just reached puberty, one can imagine how it was! Obviously nothing happened between the two of us. But it obviously got me thinking and reflecting on my past experiences.

There have been moments in the past when I have felt strong attraction towards humans of my own gender. I could never understand why I used to feel anxious around them, why there were butterflies and lilies in my stomach and liver. But the feeling was always there and always got ignored.

Watching and downloading and again watching straight porn lead me to another portal: gay porn. This was the first time I was watching ‘man-on-man action’ and I thought, “Really, so men can actually have sex with other men? Interesting!” For a long time I used to believe that men can have sex with other men only for money and it can never be anything more.

But this belief of mine changed as I started watching movies. My Own Private Idaho (1991) was my first movie where two men were in lead and something ‘funny’ was going on between the two, I thought. I was shocked and equally thrilled to find that ‘this’ can also be made into movies, like feature length movies. For a boy of 15 or 16 it is a lot. Then, Brokeback Mountain (2005)! This is when my belief was questioned. Unlike the previous movie in this one the two men were what we call ‘in love’ with each other and can do anything to be together!

The shock stayed for months.

Shelter (2007) was another pleasant shock because unlike Brokeback Mountain the two actually succeed in living together. This gave me hope. Hope in the sense that maybe someday the same might happen with me! Be it gay porn or queer mainstream cinema, it all has helped in forming my identity.

top bottom versatileLater, I came across a ‘dating’ website (hooking up is more like it) where my newly formed idea that two men can love each other was questioned! People in the website were more ‘advanced’ and spoke a language I didn’t know. They said, ‘T/B?’ and I didn’t know what to answer.

It took me some time to get it. Mostly people refused to ‘see me’ because I didn’t know what I was: a ‘Top’ or a ‘Bottom’ or a ‘Versatile’. I don’t know what I was expecting but I decided to stick around even after knowing that I’m committing a ‘sin’.

Though I’m a Hindu, I believe in Jesus. Christians believed that homosexuality is a sin. For a long time I thought maybe it is a sin, maybe I am doing wrong. The conflict continued for some time.

After  numerous virtual rejections and my chubbiness and thinning hair line, I managed to make a friend and decided to meet. This was going to be the first time I was going to meet a ‘sinner’ like me. We got along well. We talked about music and movies – Lady Gaga and Wong Kar Wai! He helped me a lot in coming to terms with myself. Because I had spent all this time in loneliness. I had no one to talk to or look to for answers for the numerous questions. Mostly it was me and the internet. By the time was eighteen I was happy with myself and had read enough to be sure that being gay was nothing ‘abnormal’ or a ‘sin’.

It was a winter night and I and my sister decided to watch a movie together. We often used to do that. I suggested, should we do something different tonight and played Prayers for Bobby (2009). The movie ended and my sister had tears in her eyes.

I looked at her and said, “Didi, I’m like him. I’m like Bobby. I’m gay”. I added, “Will you let me die like him?”

She hugged me and said, “No, never. You know that I love you, right?”

She has always loved me and has supported me ever since. Being gay probably is the best thing that has ever happened to me.