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Why It’s Not Easy To ‘Come Out’ In India

Posted by Humaira Ali
June 22, 2017

We are living in 2017. And today, homosexuality and queer identities are more acceptable to the youth. But the youth is never considered to be an integral part of Indian society. And hence, within the boundaries of family, home and school, acceptance of their sexuality and freedom to express their gender is still new for people belonging to the LGBTQ community.

In a developing India, social media is a great platform for increasing awareness of LGBTQ rights. The LGBTQ voices that are heard through several online and real world platforms are playing an important role in LGBT activism, but the other side of the coin is that these platforms expose only a small part of the challenges faced by the community.

Far away from the dream of an inclusive society, the heated discussions on social media, there exist families who have a different way of dealing with the individual who ‘comes out’. Who only asks for a simple life in terms with their own gender. And this could result in honour killings. So, the only way for many young trans men to live the life of their own choice is to run away in the cover of the night, to some city, with no money or social support.

The Consequences Of Coming Out

A recent incident which took place in my family is one of the major outcomes of how my parents viewed homosexuality. Most of the parents in our society accept their transgender offspring only if they agree to behave like a heterosexual.

What if a gay man is compelled to marry a girl? Will he be able to pretend that he has feelings? Will the girl accept him? For how many days will the marriage last?

It did not last for more than a month.

Such a rigid set of decisions and their forceful impositions could lead to a big blow to their self-esteem, lead to depression and mental disorder. Many of them prefer to move to another city, to stay away from the immense pressure to marry. And many of them try to survive the social and cultural norms and end up living their lives by hiding their identities.

Redefining Family And Its Role

In the absence of family support, the social media has formed alternatives to form a community outside the family. Platforms like Gaylaxy and Gaysi have given a new way for transgender people to interact and collaborate more. But these platforms prove to be futile when one of your own family members ‘come out’.

What really needs to be done is to change the ground reality. What really needs to be questioned are the stereotypes. The youth and its decisions are not considered an integral part even though it is the most integral organ of the society. Each and every youngster should know that it costs nothing to accept your best friend or your blood relation and to provide them with full freedom and dignity.

Image source: Sonu Mehta/ Getty Images