Interviewee : Sibi
What do you identify as (gay, bi, transgendered, queer – use any terms you like here)?
I am Gay
When did you first start to define your identity as such?
Well I think around my late teens, advent of internet surely helped.
Have you experienced first-hand homophobia? If yes, how did you deal with it?
Thankfully I have been fortune not to experience homophobia first hand. But have heard friend (not the ones I am out to) pass snide comments about LGBT community in general though.
When did you first out yourself?
The first time I came out was almost a year after college, I guess I was around 21 then.
Was it unplanned or was there careful planning involved?
Well, it was kind of planned out. After many failed attempts to come out, planned it on a Day with the GB film fest because I got a weird feeling she might want to go for one!
Who did you come out to & why did you come out to that person?
I came out to my best friend from College. She was the person I was closest to, and yet I left I was not sharing an important aspect of my life. Plus I suspected she was a lesbian!
How did that person react?
Well I didn’t quite come out per se. I beating around the bush for a while, and finally went around to say “You know, I am…” and she cut me and said, “I know, and I am one too” So I guess she reacted well. Later that day, we both came out to another college friend, and no he wasn’t gay!
Did your coming out change anything about your relationship with them?
We grown closer since then. We understand a lot more about each other since there are no secrets.
Have you ever been outed without your consent? If yes, how did you deal with it?
I have! But been lucky that most people have taken it well and continue respect me as they did before.
How did the people you were outed to deal with it?
Mostly well, but there has been a case where one of friend just refused to believe and asked umpteen questions, and kept saying that I didn’t look or act gay! Some even came and supported me at Mumbai’s Queer Azaadi March.
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?
Absolutely! We have been programmed to notion of “conventional” family, having kids who will take care of elders etc. We tend to define a person by his family and kids etc, and not as a individual, so its very difficult to accept a homosexual.
Would you recommend that people stay in the closet or come out?
People have to come out, that’s only way life will be easier not just of us but the future generation as well. Agreed its difficult, but then no pain no gain.
Have you come out to any family member?
Not yet, but probably sooner than later.
One Bollywood actor/actress you would love to see coming out as gaysi?
Rekha! Its going to kill every blue blooded Indian men from 70s to date, to know she bats for the other team!
If you could magically go back to being non-queer, would you do it? Why or Why not?
I guess not. I am happy the way I am. Its given me opportunities and helped me meet people whom I otherwise wouldn’t have. And life has been one big adventure and loving every part of it, the good, the bad and the Ugly.
Your favourite queer-themed movie?
My favorite at the moment is a one I saw at the Kashish Queer Film Fest 2011 called “You Should Meet My son!’. A total laugh riot. Left the cinema with a stomach ache…lol
Your favourite queer-themed book?
Maurice by E. M. Forster, which also got made into a feature film.