Of Coming Out As A Lesbian In Durgapur, West Bengal

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Even at a time when I wasn’t familiar with the word “lesbian”, I knew this is who I am.

Since my childhood I loved painting, and one fateful day, I saw a very distinctive painting of two women making love. After seeing that, there was no going back. My parents thoroughly bullied me, but a person’s basic instincts can’t be changed.

I was born and brought up in a little-known city called Durgapur, in West Bengal. Here, there was an atmosphere in which I didn’t get the opportunity to nurture my feelings like my elder sister did because she’s heterosexual. I am attracted only to girls. And being a lesbian, I felt no one would understand it.

The continuous discrimination I faced because of my sexual identity created a relentless surge in me to come out. First I came out to my parents and after that I realized the real rawness in every one of my relationships. My parents’ double standards were suddenly exposed. It was also a period in my life when my girlfriend left me, and I kept asking myself what the hell had I done. In those days, from morning to night, I did only one thing – struggle, struggle and endless struggle.

The question that haunted me the most – why do I hide? If I can’t accept myself, can’t embrace my identity, and if I’m uncomfortable with my own sexuality, how could I make others feel comfortable with my sexuality?

Image Credit: Suchismita Karmakar

This struggle has taught me many things. The most important lesson is “just keep quiet, my actions and achievements will be the answer“. My parents still don’t understand homosexuality and somehow I also don’t feel the need to convince them.

I don’t even fully understand why I hid my sexuality earlier. My sexuality does not need anybody’s approval. And someone’s sexuality can’t be made into a social issue just for the sake of discussion.

My message to my LGBTQ friends is NEVER GIVE UP. People will understand you, and if they don’t, that doesn’t matter. There is no respect and satisfaction in living life with a fake identity. Honesty has a great power.

Today, I work as an officer in a public sector bank in Durgapur, West Bengal, and many of my colleagues know my sexual identity. At first, many of my colleagues unfriended me when I came out, but now they make efforts to understand.

Durgapur is a city where awareness about sexuality barely matters. And this causes a problem. When someone is ill-learned or half-learned about anything, how can they understand a burning issue like homosexuality?

There are plenty of engineering colleges here where programs can be conducted to sensitise people. It requires continuous collaboration from both sides for fruitful results. The FM radio can play an important role in this regard, and local news channel can organize programmes on this issue.

I have a dream. A day will come when every homosexual couple in India will get the same spousal benefits as heterosexual people. And I will do my best to materialize it.

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