By V. Angayarkanni:
I have spent much of my life trying to forget the woman I loved and abandoned in fear of myself. I spent much time sitting by the riverbed wishing we would hold hands again and wishing she would tell me one more time how she loved me. She took her own life. She did not want to be married to the man her family forced her to. She left me with one more person to see hung to death in my lifetime.
That is the queer flower of me. I am the queer. I love women and I love men and I love everyone within and without the labels for their bodies. I love their shapes and I love their colours and I love their shadows on their wall dancing in the dim light as we make love. I love their scars. I like that we sing and dance and cry and lose together.
But my queers, my friends, my lovers, my sisters – do not understand or care for the other-othered parts of me.
I am also Dalit. Unlike my queerness, I do not know well enough what this means. I know that I have seen my brothers fight the Vellalar boys and not come home, at least not with breath. I know that my ancestors were slaves, bought and sold between landlords. I know my grandmother couldn’t look herself in the face on even the good days. I know that my parents, my cousins, my sisters and brothers, they all show me their scars. I show them mine.
I also know I am not wanted as a queer in my Dalit family. I am not held, I am not heard in political spaces. I am told Ambedkar did not speak of queerness. But, I told myself, Ambedkar likely didn’t speak about coconut trees, or the platypus, or cancer, or predict global warming. I don’t know. Maybe he did.
I know only that among the people who I should call my own, the cishetmen laze in the spotlight and decline to confuse “the issue”.
So whoever I am, I am not proud. Not yet. It will be awhile. I will wait for my people to open their eyes a bit wider and see me. I will wait for the men to make themselves a little more scarce.
I also will wait for the queer community to unfurl and recognize that it was it was the work of oppressed caste people and oppressed caste trans women who have given them whatever pride they have today.
In the meantime, I continue to mourn my late lover. I continue to see her in my dreams and fear waking up to an empty bed. And I continue to exist.
What are your experiences of being queer, and tackling heteronormativity?
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