Growing up in a society where homosexuality is considered a taboo subject, I was oblivious to it.I had heard words like ‘Gay’ and ‘Lesbian’ being used as insults and I was ignorant to what they really meant. Gay couples are a rarity in the Indian media and even when they are shown, it is purely for comedy.
I was about nine years old when I travelled to Scotland with my family.I was standing alone and saw two men, dressed up for a party, holding hands and kissing. I was taken aback but curiosity made me ask why they were doing that.They laughed and said that they love each other.I was thoroughly confused and after I returned to India, I told my friends about this incident and everyone laughed and made fun of them.
As time flew by, this incident hid in the archives of my mind.I was thirteen when I came across an LGBTQ+ activist called Rico Pride on social media. He had written a post saying, “Why is it wrong to be gay?Is it wrong to love someone regardless of their gender?”
I sat down, contemplated and questioned myself about my ignorance.The fact that I had biases without reason shocked me to the core. I was blinded by what society fed into me.
Since I was a young child, I had always noticed something different about myself. Growing up, I never felt comfortable around girls and boys at a close proximity. Every girl around me felt that way around boys but I felt it around girls too. I never understood that feeling and so I denied it.
It was in eighth grade that Project Khel organised a Teen Talk workshop in my school. Amongst other very important things, Angana didi discussed how it was okay to be queer. She explained what it meant. I was so nervous when she touched upon this subject that I was almost shaking in my seat. I went home and started reading about gender and sexuality. The word, “Bisexual”, hit me hard. I connected to it. I related to it. The whole time, all I could think about was how she had said that it was okay. That I’m normal. That is when I decided to finally come out as bisexual.
I went up to my mother and told her everything. I’m so blessed to have such an accepting mother. She understood and she hugged me. I told my friends, who also attended the workshop. Surprisingly, their views had changed and they accepted me too. Though it is still tough for me to be open about it considering it’s still a crime in India under Article 377, I am much more confident being myself. Since the workshop, I have tried helping people who reached out to me with questions regarding their gender and sexuality. Now, I realise that labels are not that important. Gender and sexuality is a spectrum and I lie somewhere on it. And that is OKAY. People say that we cannot fight old-age mentality but I believe change is always possible and I proved this by making numerous adults around me accept love for what it is. Thank you, Project Khel, for reminding me that I belong to this society just as much as anybody else does.