In a societal construct particularly like India’s, identifying as LGBTQ+ is viewed as a “Western concept” by a chunky portion of the population. Whilst society has made remarkable – and laudable – progress in the recent years, there is often an accumulation of prejudices, stereotypes, and blatant misunderstandings that characterize an entire body of ignorance which painfully stands in the way of further progress. As a gay man myself, I have seen this ignorance accentuate itself through the varying kinds of questions gay guys are asked.
When did you know you were gay?
When did you know you were straight? Hasn’t a part of you always known? And acted on it? The only difference between you and most of us gay guys is that while we too have known about this part of us, we were not privileged with the unquestionable, natural acceptance and the absence of sourly prying eyes as you were. Being able to observe the collective societal behaviors from a merry age, most of us grasped an understanding that what we felt wasn’t looked upon as “normal”, so we refrained from publicly sharing our feelings. But yeah, most of us, like you, have known we were attracted to the same gender from an early age. Before puberty, possibly.
Have you ever tried being with a girl?
Firstly, what makes you think it’s okay to ask such an intruding question? Can’t you take our word for it? Don’t you think we’d be fairly familiar with our innate desires, romantic and sexual? It is important to understand that some gay guys would have had gotten into legit relationships with the opposite gender, however, many would have had not. But that doesn’t mean we don’t know our nature. Just take our word for it.
How do you know when you’ve never had sex with a girl?
Again, a painfully, despicably invading question. To want to have sex with another individual, one has to experience sexual attraction. Gay guys do not experience sexual attraction toward the opposite gender. That’s what makes them gay.
You don’t seem effeminate. Are you sure you’re gay?
You’re just effeminate. It doesn’t mean you have to be gay, does it?
Being effeminate or masculine is merely a behavioral expression that has very little, if not nothing, to do with one’s sexual orientation. There are gay guys who are penetratingly masculine (no pun intended), and there are straight guys who are clearly effeminate.
An individual’s familial upbringing may also act as a determinant of their behavior. For instance, someone with more present female figures in their life may be more likely to become effeminate in their behavioral expression. However, that written and done, being effeminate is not a synonym of homosexuality.
You’ve never been with a guy, so how do you know?
Just like there are innate reflexes embedded in our cognitions and physiologies, there are inborn preferences that drive us to tend to particular sexualities. It is really in the person’s nature. For instance, if you imagine yourself being in a life-or-death situation, your most natural preference would be to live. You can imagine yourself in an alternative situation, however, that would, most likely, be followed by multiple internal alarm-bells going off, in unison, signaling you to avoid it. Now just replace the “life” and “death” elements with two or multiple genders. A gay guy would, naturally, be attracted to another guy, and that, therefore, shouldn’t require “rationale” in the form of first “trying out with a guy and then arriving at a ‘conclusion’.”
Do your parents know?
Familial relations may or may not be given priority by an individual at a time of disclosing their sexual orientation, or gender identity. It is a touchy subject. It depends on the person’s relation with their parents or guardians, and immediate or extended families, plus the level of comfort they have with their own self. It is a subjective question that will meet a subjective answer.
What’re you going to do when your colleagues find out?
Firstly, it isn’t just for members of a particular professional setting to develop impressions of one-another based on each-other’s personal life. There’s a reason why there’s a dichotomy (which may not necessarily be adhered to, but that’s another subject) between a professional life and a personal life. On the same hand, it is justifiably inevitable for professional relationships to become personal; in that case, if one’s colleagues don’t accept them for who they are, they should be subjected to enlightenment, and in worst-case scenarios, if the individual’s professional environment becomes hostile, maybe it’s for the greater good they walk away.
I hope you understand not everyone is accepting. Do you?
Most of us have spent a great amount of our lives fighting our own selves, trying to prove our own natures wrong. Whether we like it or not, whether we appreciate it or not, we do know a thing or two about people not being accepting of us.
Come on, now.