Growing Up Gay: A Shitty Experience
I remember my first homoerotic feelings were towards a front cover of Shahid Kapoor on a magazine which I can’t recollect. This was at the age of twelve. For the next five years of life in boarding school, up until I graduated, I had to deal with unrequited love towards boys who were straight. Despite the fact that I know that there could be no purpose to a love that is directed towards somebody who is not even interested in the same sex as you, I had no control over my feelings. All this while I had also dealt with being a closeted student in an environment filled completely with boys and hence teeming with masculinity and heteronormativity, as well as a general disdain for anything feminine or anyone effeminate. There was no student who was openly gay in my school, and I for sure didn’t have to the courage to be the first one.
Now, I am in my fifth year of studies at a well known Law School. I have once again fallen in love with a straight boy, and now deal with the added pain of seeing him in a happy relationship with a girl. I remain in the closet, ten years strong, with no light in sight. My lies about my identity feel so entrenched that it would feel like betrayal to come out to my friends now, and I fear the judgement I will receive. Naturally, this has given rise to anxiety, depression and almost crippling self esteem issues. I constantly lie about dating girls because at this age people have begun to wonder why I haven’t done so yet.
I realize that it is much easier for people to be openly gay now than it was earlier. Yet, I am unable to escape the metaphorical prison in which I have confined myself. I wonder how I will live my life without my friends and peers knowing that I have been gay all along, and sometimes the best solution involves my life conveniently ending (No, I’m not suicidal though). Other solutions involve moving to a small city in a foreign country where I finally am able to meet gay people so that I too can experience reciprocated love. Then I realize I imagine such drastic measures on the seemingly insignificant premise that I like men instead of women, and that I have never had the courage to tell anybody (I told my mother once but she never brought it up after that conversation).
Growing up gay, honestly, has been a shitty experience. Falling in love with straight boys and spending my formative years brooding over my sexuality have been detrimental to my growth as a person. I often imagine how much easier things would have been if I would have been straight. I don’t care that it is important for me to embrace my sexuality, even thought that is ultimately what make it possible for other people to not make the same choices as I have. Hence I am a victim and a perpetrator of certain societal attitudes towards homosexuality. For that, I am sorry.
Growing Up Gay is a series that chronicles the many experiences of growing up as an LGBT person in India. Share your stories of those tumultuous years- personal experiences, anecdotes and pictures- by writing to us at [email protected]