Growing up Gay: Not regretting my past
By Anwesh Kumar Sahoo
Contrary to the reaction that I often receive from people, being gay in our country isn’t in fact half as bad. While growing up gay didn’t make it any easier for me to deal with people around me, I can’t honestly complain for two crucial reasons. During my years of self-denial I learnt some very important lessons in life. I remember crying for nights, randomly scribbling on my desk and asking God- ‘Why me?’ That’s when I realized if we all start throwing away our problems into a heap; we’d want to take our heap back. The biggest reason why we constantly battle our insecurities is because we compare our behind-the-scenes real life with the happening reel-lives of others. Life is equally perfect and distorted for all of us and we have the ability to make the best of our situations.
There was also a part of me that regretted not having as many friends around and being constantly picked on at school. That’s exactly when I came across my second lesson- “God often uses the most foolish things in life to make us confront the wise.” Don’t regret your past, because you’re not going that way. You are stronger than you think you are and more often than not, your weakness could be your biggest strength. My sexuality taught me the most significant things in life that I couldn’t have learned otherwise. Coming out completely changed my life. I was finally able to love and respect myself for who I was. I was finally able to live my life and unapologetically be the way I wanted to be.
When I moved into college, the one thing that I was very apprehensive about was living with other guys. The first day gave me a flash back of all the names I was called as a kid and how alienated I felt throughout school. One week down the line and I knew I wasn’t going to let that happen again, because this time I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t scared of people calling me gay, bisexual, transsexual or any other fancy sexuality they wanted to associate me with. Because who gives a damn? We anyway didn’t fit into their societal norms; we defined it for ourselves. I now took pride in associating myself with the queer community. I started realizing how fun it could be to live in a same-sex hostel when you’re attracted to that very sex. I could laugh now at how silly I was to fall for a straight senior and cry in my friend’s arms. I realized how amazing I was at making friends and that I always had the ability to be a confident individual. Sometimes you are the only one you have to fight. If there are people who are curious (or ignorant?) enough to ask me if I have estrogen in my body, there are also people who treat me respect and dignity. If you don’t put what you think you deserve for yourself on the table, no one will think of offering it to you. And at the same time you can be the sweetest peach in the world, but there is still going to be someone who doesn’t like peaches. And that’s how life is for everyone- gay or straight.
One cannot deny that life is about the choices one makes. And I’ve made the choice to live my life as a dignified, independent and equal individual. I don’t want my life to be all about struggles. I want my life to be as much about happiness. I will fight for the rights I am entitled to. But I definitely don’t want to miss out on the joy of living through the milestones in life that one expects to live through- first kiss, graduation, birthdays, marriage or may be the addition of a new member into the family. God doesn’t make mistakes. And I will so not pity myself for the super-power I was born with. After all, when life gives you lemons, shouldn’t we make lemonade out of it?
(Anwesh is an Engineering student in Delhi. Besides writing, he’s a lover of old-school Indian art, music and fashion. He writes a blog named ‘The Effeminare’ which he considers his parallel universe filled with self-introspection, crazy ideas and miracles that he cannot stop believing in.)
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]