Author’a Note: In India, people from the LGBTQ spectrum are often bullied. Read on to find out how Kevin, a 21-year-old History student from Mangalore, used Facebook to react to a homophobic attack and come out to his mom at the same time.
The experience of coming out of the closet was liberating. It made me feel powerful and fearless. It made me realise that I was embracing a new identity, the one that I had chosen.
I was 18 when I decided to accept my sexuality with pride. Living most of my teen years in the closet was difficult. People called me “softie”, “sissy”, “homo”, and “girly”. I was naturally unhappy with all the name-calling and bullying by friends and family and often found myself lonely, crying myself to sleep.
My parents separated when I was 12 years old, so my mom practically raised me and my elder sister. She never treated us differently, but I vaguely remember my father being angry because I failed miserably at sports.
While I was growing up, mom looked after the finances and was away on business for long periods. I grew closer to my sister. I spent more time with her reading books, building doll houses, and pretending to cook with my toy kitchen set for imaginary guests.
I was unlike the other boys at school. Most of them were ‘tough’, fans of wrestling, and even performed a few stunts in class. But that never fascinated me. It created a rift between us. They would never sit with me at lunch, or on the school bus.
My sister, though, never treated me badly for who I was. She was understanding and instrumental in making me the thoughtful person that I am today. When I told her I was gay, her reaction surprised me. “I knew it before you,” she said, and gave me the tightest hug, saying that it didn’t change anything. It only gave me more courage to accept and love myself.
The more I interacted with people, the more unpleasant situations I found myself in. Strangers would pass snide remarks on the street about the way I walked. I felt terrible even leaving my house. I would lock myself in, skip college for weeks, and not speak to anyone out of fear or embarrassment. It started affecting my health and emotional balance.
Once when I was walking back from college, a group of guys from another class started following me. They started mocking me and laughing loudly at me. Some of them even took to assault by pelting small stones at me. I was deeply humiliated. I could neither fight back nor live with all the disgrace.
All these events impacted me badly. I decided to teach everyone a lesson on acceptance. The only way out of all the shame and disgrace was to accept who I was and be proud of it.
That night my mom was sleeping in the living room and I was struggling to come to terms with what had happened. I decided to let the world judge these events and stand firm on my thoughts and beliefs.
I wrote a descriptive Facebook post, addressing it to my mother, sharing how I was attracted to men, and how I have been teased for it. I clearly stated that I wasn’t ashamed of myself and would not be embarrassed anymore.
She woke up the next morning, read the post, and immediately left her comment there for the world to read. It read, “I love you my son and I am proud of who you are and how you are growing up.”
I couldn’t have been more motivated in life. I woke up and sprung out of my bed to hug her. Tears rolled down our eyes as we sat together for breakfast that new morning.
Would you like to share your coming out stories with us? Leave a comment below or via Facebook. Featured image for representation only.