I was 17 years old when I fell in love for the first time.
I, a girl who didn’t know why there were so many obvious differences between my “boy” friends and my “girl” friends.
I, a daughter to a heterosexual couple who were my biological mother and father.
I, an “assumed to be” cisgender heterosexual individual.
When my classmate told me she liked me and wanted to date me, I didn’t know how to react. Truth be told, someone who was 17 years old and was always looking for more in this world (read: me) was flattered that someone of the same sex had a high school crush. But I took that crush very seriously, because it made me think of only one question time and again: “Am I attracted to her as well?”
Long story short, I didn’t quite respond with a “Jai Mata Di let’s rock!” to her proposal but I told myself that I might as well give this a shot because the John Green inside me knew that my mind and heart wanted to be with her. And poof! The next day I woke up to a new me, a new life, a new experience of exploring my sexuality with someone who loved me and made me feel safe around her. I woke up to a bisexual me, and I have never looked back.
When I was negotiating my way through life, asking myself a lot of questions about who I was, who I loved, who I was attracted to, I knew the answers to these curious doubts would go a long way in bringing clarity to a bisexual mind in a heterosexual world. It took me a while to accept who I was and to love myself regardless of what certain people said or did to me. I had a supportive group of friends (half of whom are also gay, hahaha!), an understanding partner and a lot of Internet resources at my disposal, all of which helped me establish an identity which then consequently also became the most important element of my self. I couldn’t just ignore or suppress who I was physically attracted to or who I wanted to form a romantic alliance with, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
All of this took three long years, and that is when I decided to take it ahead and be a part of the politics that surrounded me, and people like me. Fast forward to November 13, 2017, my first ever Delhi Queer Pride Parade. I was in attendance not because someone had asked me to come but because I wanted to be there. I wanted to be a part of a public gathering where there were no boundaries, no limits as to how you can express your love and to whom.
Delhi was the first Pride Parade I had gone to, and I still consider it to be one of the most genuine and precious memories I have. I didn’t go there with a partner, but I guess you don’t need to have someone to feel loved in a gathering of hundreds of people who are looking for love just like you are, and who are unapologetic about who they want and what their expression of love means to them.
Throughout the Parade, I danced, I sang songs, I blew the colourful plastic whistles that the DQP organisers were handing out to all of us, and I looked around to find nothing but happiness and solace on everyone’s beautiful faces, as if they were walking down a path of liberation. I don’t think that is something that should be a luxury for all of us, but rather a necessity that should be fulfilled by the society we live in. Instead of saying that the DQP is progress towards a more open, liberal view of individuals and their sexuality, I wish for a day when every walk that I take with my partner in the public eye is celebrated with a humble smile, if not flags of love and celebration.
I was never the kind of person who would engage in politics. Even with my parents often discussing it while we were at the dinner table, I didn’t think of it as something that affects my life because, well, I think I just wanted to stay away from the Congress or the BJP. With the realization that personal is political and my life choices are in fact directly affected and often curbed by the people who are in power around me (not necessarily only the government), I took the help of friends who are close to me who know more about the political as well as historical significance of the LGBTQIA+ community, the gay rights movement(s), and the legal as well as psychosocial implications of living a life as someone who does not identify merely as a heterosexual individual.
I wouldn’t ask for you to jump into something as complex and pertinent as the politics of who we are and where we are as a community or even as individuals, because it took me years to reach a point in my life where I am personally invested in the movement, but I would urge everyone, from straight allies to LGBTQIA+ individuals to be aware, engage in debates and discussion that affect your life choices, and to celebrate love for what it is: love. Pride for me would always mean pride in myself, of who I am as a person and how far I have come from the mists of confusion and uncertainty and anxiety when I didn’t know if what I was feeling was ‘okay’. Safe to say, I’ve never felt more happy and gay in my life!
Anonymous is a 21-year-old feminist who is negotiating her way through the politics of who she is and who she loves. She can fortunately love dogs and cats without any brows being raised. She writes, dances, reads and wishes to change the definition of love through her academic career in psychology.
In celebration of Pride Month, The YP Foundation is running an online campaign to spark conversations around issues specific to queer youth and their engagement in queer politics, through narrative pieces, articles, essays, comic strips, artworks, and personal interviews. Through these, the campaign seeks to explore the importance of the queer movement in India and the intricacies of queer organising. it also looks at the different ways in which the queer movement in India is forging alliances with other movements, through the active engagement and involvement of young queer people. This campaign is a part of a larger international campaign hosted by CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality.
To submit your stories, poems, articles and artwork, send them to email@example.com by June 20, 2018.