Being gay sucks. Growing up gay sucks more.
I’ve never really said it before. Because, for me, it doesn’t suck as much. So I try not to let my sexuality dictate my life. I thought if I don’t talk much about the sad gay parts of my existence, I’ll be more human than just gay. I thought if I don’t surround myself with gay friends or stay away from pride parades, I'd be the guy, who has better things to do in life than being gay – sitting all day on my sofa, 'social justice warrior-ing' being one of those things. So no, I did not let my sexuality define my life. I just let my ignorance do it instead.
Even though I haven't come out to my parents yet, I still have a wonderful support system. People who understand and accept me for who I am. Hookups made so much easier by dating apps. I just dived into this adulthood forgetting how I got there.
Pride parade. Image credit: amnestyusa.org
If you grew up with chronic depression, you’d know that it comes and goes as it pleases, regardless of how your life situations are. It could kick you in the nuts when you are already in pain or it could do it when everything is simply perfect and awesome. I always thought the reason for my depression was my sexuality. One of my most memorable moments of depression was when my life was going wonderfully well – new job, boyfriend, acceptance from my sister and close friends. Ever since then, whenever I see signs of depression taking my mind over, I keep telling myself ‘Oh come on! Stop acting like a miserable twat. You are the most privileged gay guy in all of South India! What do you have to whine about?’.
So today I’m going to stop pretending I forgot what it was like to be 15 now that I’m almost 25.
LGBTQ facts. Image credit: wikipedia.org
I remember the days when I realized it’s not the dancing-in-the-soaking-wet-saree Sridevi, it’s the fully clothed, appears-for-a-few-seconds-in-the-song Anil Kapoor, who caught my eye in ‘Kate Nahin Kat Te’.
I would go to bed thinking when I wake up these thoughts will be gone. But when I do and it hasn’t, I’d lie awake thinking ‘of all the people in the world, why me!’.
I spent days planning when and how to end my life. In the 7th standard, I thought I’ll just give it one more year and see what high school is all about. And when high school went well, I thought ‘Well, I studied my ass off. Might as well wait for the results’. When the results came in, I thought it’ll be stupid to end it before I could flaunt the good grades for a while. This went on and on for a few years. It was a funny dilemma of wanting to exist but scared to live.
I know so little about humanity but I don’t think that’s the kind of dilemma a 15-year-old should be in.
Then when the rain in my head went away and I realized this is how it is, it was a cycle of coming outs. First to myself, then to everyone I want in my life. This is an endless cycle. A hectic one when you are from a society that refuses to even acknowledge anything different, let alone accept it. Just a few days ago, I was with my cousins who I haven’t come out to. I laid the groundwork by watching Kapoor and Sons with them just to see how they’d react to the gay character in it. They weren’t shocked but I saw how difficult it was for them to digest the normalcy of it. One of these days I’ll have to tell them. I’ll have to ‘have the talk’, answer their questions, make them understand and hope they’ll accept. Then to my parents, I have no clue how. I have to do this. Every. Single. Time.
People ask me why it’s such a big deal. Why do gay people always have to create soapy drama and announce their sexual preferences to the world? Why they need to literally parade it around the streets? This is why. Until we live in that utopia where everyone is accepted for who they are, where labels are worthless, where no one gets a bullet through their head for who they choose to love, it will continue to be a big deal.
Yes, I am more than my sexuality, everyone is. But when we live in a world where a lot of people have a cavalier attitude towards bigotry and a world where people go out of their way, risk their life and even die, to express their disgust towards our mere existence, our sexuality becomes more important than we want it to be.
LGBT Pride. Image by: Impactnews.com
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By Arjun Raj
Cover photo credit: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/