I’ve been out and proud for over eight years now. But let me tell you where and how it all started.
All through school, I felt attracted to a few boys in my class and was convinced that it was pretty much the right thing to feel. I even ridiculed other boys who hit on girls. It was only when I was 13 that my best friend of that time helped me understand what the term ‘gay’ meant. A few months later, I joined a theatre group, which helped me open my eyes to many possibilities around me. I walked my first gay pride in Bangalore in 2008, and though I was masked, I came on camera and my mom found out about it.
I decided to come out to her, and as much as I wanted the typical Indian drama that everyone else got, it didn’t work out that way. Instead, she accepted me wholeheartedly and also vowed to convince my dad. Dad was hesitant at first and for the next five years, hardly brought up the topic. But I continued being a gay rights activist nonetheless.
Eventually on 11.12.13 (December 11, 2013), when the Supreme Court of India re-criminalised homosexuality, my father sent me an SMS that read, “I’m sorry to hear about today’s judgement. But you must understand no matter what, I’m here with you and we shall fight this out together.” It made me the happiest gay boy in India, even while everyone else was sad.
Today, I look back on the amount of harassment I have overcome and realise that it has only made me stronger. I stand with pride as an example to stand up to what you feel is wrong. I’m happy, proud and gay, and I hope to spread my story to help inspire many more queer individuals to come out and join me in making a difference by standing up for what’s right.