I was in the second year of college when I finally told my best friend, “I think I like women, not men.” I was in her room for the weekly sleep-over, and we were in midst of our late-night conversations.
She laughed, “You are joking.”
“No, I’m not.”
“You mean, you are a LESBIAN? OMG!”
I changed the topic and we talked about a few more things before going to sleep. I cried myself to sleep, all the while making sure that she didn’t hear a sound.
In the morning when I was about to leave, she asked, “Woh raat me jo bol rahi thi tum, kisi aur ko bhi bola hai kya? Chii yaar, log sochenge ki humdono ke bich bhi waisa hi kuch hai. Chii chii (The thing you were saying at night – have you said that to others too? Shame, my friend – people will now think we share a relationship like that. Shame, shame)!”
We hugged for a fraction of a second with minimum contact, unlike our usual long panda hugs – and I left with tears welling up in my eyes.
A year has passed since that night. Most people who know me know of my sexual orientation. And I have had the ‘luxury’ of many similar experiences. Some of the remarks which were thrown at me are as follows:
“X (the name of my last boyfriend) tumhe khush nahi kar paya hoga. Ha ha (X must not have been able to keep you happy. Ha ha),” a guy once said.
“Mai to normal hu, tum apna chance kahin aur maaro (I am normal, try your luck elsewhere),” said a woman with whom I was working on a project. This was in reply to my “wow. I love you. This is great,” when I saw her work on our project.
“Don’t get me wrong, I support homosexuality. But I was wondering ki kya tumhare sath bachpan me kuch bura hua tha? Maine suna hai tabhi log aise ho jate hain (Don’t get me wrong, I support homosexuality. But I was wondering if something bad had happened to you in your childhood. I have heard that people become like this after such incidents).”
“Tumko abhi tak koi dhang ka ladka nahi mila re (You haven’t scored a guy of some worth, have you)… ”
“Jyada chipko mat, mai waisi ladki nahi hu. Ha ha (Don’t stick to me – I am not that type of girl. Ha ha).”
Most of these people are progressive – or at least, they claim to be. They go to the Pride – all dressed up, click selfies and put them on Facebook. They go “awww…” on seeing a cute white lesbian couple’s photo on the internet. They will like your post on queer love, and will probably type a long comment stating that they support homosexuality. They are ‘cool, liberal’ people.
One night, some of us were partying at a friend’s place. People were drinking and dancing downstairs – and I was there on the terrace, alone, looking at the moon, basking in its glory. Suddenly, someone came from behind, held me tightly and started rubbing his penis on my ass. Trying to force his hands into my panties, he whispered this in my ears, “Ashish (our mutual friend) kehta hai ki tu ladkiyon se chudwati hai! Ha ha!! Humlog marr gaye hain kya? Ek baar mujhse chudwa lo jaaneman, saaton janam mera hi naam leti rehogi (Ashish tells me that you get fucked by girls! Ha ha! Have all the men died? Why don’t you let me fuck you once, jaaneman, you’ll be screaming my name for 7 lives)!”
I somehow managed to escape his clutches that night – maybe because I was sober and he wasn’t. Or at least that is what I tell myself – because even today, I shudder at the thought of what more would have happened had I not escaped his grip. I frequently have nightmares where I hear the same words “ek baar mujhse chudwa lo jaaneman” and wake up trembling in the middle of the night.
And it is in those extremely lonely and disturbing moments that I wish I had never come out. I wish I were a ‘normal’ woman. I wish I could go back in time and change the events. Not because I’m ashamed of being queer, but because life as a queer person is so difficult in this society that I feel like giving up entirely.
Sorry – this is not a happy, gay story. Not sorry if you were looking for one!
What are your experiences of being queer, and tackling heteronormativity?
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