This week’s candidate is again one of our very own. The young lass needs not much of an introduction; between the two editors she chooses to gang up with the other. Writes fantastic erotica (and then runs for a cold shower), opinion pieces dipped in humor, official Gaysi’s twitter stalker…really do I need to go on…oh come on…you know…its…its…its Queer Coolie.
What do you identify as (gay, bi, transgendered, queer – use any terms you like here)?
When did you first start to define your identity as such?
My earliest recollection of my queer awesomeness was at Age 10. What was funny at that point was where I was growing up, there was nothing around me to indicate being Queer had a negative connotation. So for a few brief months – I was at my happiest knowing that I was Queer. It was great! …and then, everything went downhill.
Have you experienced first-hand trans/homophobia? If yes, how did you deal with it?
I have been lucky ( yes, lucky!) enough to never have experienced homophobia directed at me, specifically. I have had people around me make homophobic remarks or engage in similar behaviour but I was not the target of their ignorance.
That said, I have experienced a lot of confusion over gender and related awkwardness. Till age 15 my mother insisted that my hair be kept ridiculously short because she thought I wouldn’t fall sick if that be the case. Go figure! But for that reason, before I discovered that my hair curled at the ends ( an exciting discovery!) – I was mistaken for a boy plenty and then it was realised I was a girl and then folks imposed their notions of the gender binary on me. Being queer did not allow me to shrug that of so easily. I didn’t enjoy being mistaken for a boy because I was afraid I secretly wanted to be one and that is why I liked girls. However, I quickly grew out of that silly assumption, got very comfortable with my femininity but now I deliberately enjoy pushing gender boundaries.
When did you first out yourself?
My first self-outing was to my older sister early 2009.
Was it unplanned or was there careful planning involved?
I thought it was a carefully planned and deliberated outing. I had been in counseling for about 5 months at that point and decided that I was both ready for it and it was the right time in terms of the things happening in both our lives. But when I went down the evening I had chosen for my revelation and sat in her apartment, I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t. I felt nauseous and thought my gut was going to internally collapse under the stress I felt. I spent the night at her place and even the following morning, I couldn’t. I returned to my place that morning increasingly frustrated. That very same evening – I told her. I sent her a short e-mail.
Who did you come out to & why did you come out to that person?
My sister is my lone sibling, a good friend and I adore her. She is also the most important person in my life in nearest proximity since I live a couple of thousand miles away from my parents. I needed her to know, I needed her on-board and to be ok with it and I needed her support for me telling my mom who was the larger end goal of my coming out process.
How did that person react?
After my e-mail, she said we did need to talk. We had planned to meet for brunch 48 hours later. And we did. She asked me a bunch of questions. I won’t lie – During that meal, I wanted to reach over the table and my chocolate-banana french toast and smack her on the forehead for asking them thinking “How can you think that? or ask me such a silly Question? I thought you knew more than that! What is your excuse for being so ignorant?” But I kept my calm and answered as best as I could. Brunch ended, I asked her if she had any more questions and it was awkward. I was in a hurry to get away and she sensed that. Later that day, after I’d gotten home I received an email from her. It was sweet and just what I needed to hear.
Did your coming out change anything about your relationship with them?
Yes and No.
No because my sister and I are good friends along with being related to each other – we don’t talk much about feelings and reveal too many a personal detail to each other. But that is just how we are as people
and not a reflection on the bond between us.
Yes because I believe my sister understands me in a different light and I can see it in the way she interacts with me nowadays. Of course, there were and still are a few bumps. I had to make her see that only by acknowledging my queerness could we move along further.
Have you ever been outed without your consent? If yes, how did you deal with it?
Not that I know of.
Do you think being gaysi makes it harder to come out & that if you weren’t part of such a traditional & conservative culture you would have an easier time with your sexuality/identity?
I think being gaysi brings with it its own unique set of challenges that every other culture brings to the table.
I come from a fairly liberal minded family. But again, that is relative because thats what I thought till my queerness figured into the equation. Now I sometimes want to call out the hypocrisy that people near and dear to me like my mom (a closet liberal as I like to call her) obviously demonstrate where they love me regardless and have said as much, but aren’t Ok with me being queer in the way I’d like them to be. Is that a cultural hurdle? Maybe. But it could just as much be unique to her as an individual.
Would you recommend that people stay in the closet or come out?
I don’t believe in the closet in the traditional sense. I think its important to tell people who you think need to be told whatsoever your reasons may be – It provides you a sense of freedom and comfort around those you love. On a daily basis , for everyday interactions – you decided your own private boundaries. If you wish to tell people – fabulous. If you don’t – fabulous. As long as you are comfortable with your own self and are willing to share your stories with those who need to hear it.
Have you come out to any family member?
Sister and Mom
One Bollywood actor/actress you would love to see coming out as gaysi?
If you could magically go back to being non-queer, would you do it? Why or Why not?
No. I believe I am a better person for it.
Your favourite queer-themed movie?
A 2001 Italian movie called ‘Le Fate Ignoranti’ ( His Secret Life)
Your favourite queer-themed book?
Bent by Martin Sherman. Thorougly depressing but fascinating. There is a movie made out of it as well. Which is just as depressing but fascinating.