Debjyoti Ghosh is a Human Rights Lawyer, who has been into Marginalized People’s Rights Activism for the last five years. He has just completed his LLM in Human Rights with an International Justice Specialization and is looking forward to plunging back into activism.
What do you identify as (gay, bi, transgendered, queer – use any terms you like here)?
I prefer referring to myself as queer, although technically I might be referred to as gay.
When did you first start to define your identity as such?
I never thought I needed defining per se till I realised that in order to fight for rights that are being kept away from you, you need to belong to a group- this was around the time I was 19.
Have you experienced first-hand trans/homophobia? If yes, how did you deal with it?
Frankly, I have not had to deal with any homophobia, so I guess I have been lucky on these grounds.
When did you first out yourself?
I first “outed” myself to my school friends when I was 16.
Was it unplanned or was there careful planning involved?
It was quite spontaneous- it all started with my (then) best friend asking me some probing questions about my sex life- and I decided to take the plunge!
Who did you come out to & why did you come out to that person?
I came out to my best friend first because I knew he would have no problem with knowing I was queer.
How did that person react?
He reacted very coolly- and I still remember his comment – ‘so that is why you keep telling me that you want to kiss my lips every time I pucker them!’
Did your coming out change anything about your relationship with them?
Not at the outset.
Have you ever been outed without your consent? If yes, how did you deal with it?
Yes, it has happened that people who have introduced me to other people have decided that my sexual orientation was as important as my professional qualifications, and thus introduced me as,’this is DJ, he is gay and a lawyer’. My first reaction was to laugh it off, and to comment that I did not know how important it was for gay and lawyer to go hand in hand.
How did the people you were outed to deal with it?
They were fine with it.
Do you think being gaysi makes it harder to come out and that if you weren’t part of such a traditional and conservative culture you would have an easier time with your sexuality/identity?
I did not actually have any trouble vis-à-vis tradition and culture. I hail from a family which has always been very cosmopolitan, and while being cultured they have never let society prevent them from doing what they thought was right.
Would you recommend that people stay in the closet or come out?
I personally think it is a private matter. Not everyone has the same family set-up or emotional strength to deal with it. The motive should be selfish though- will you gain something or lose everything with coming out (as it has often been seen)?
Have you come out to any family member?
I am out to my entire family-immediate and extended.
One Bollywood actor/actress you would love to see coming out as gaysi?
I would love to see Ranbir Kapoor coming out. Being a youth icon, he could actually help mainstream a lot of issues when it comes to queer rights.
If you could magically go back to being non-queer, would you do it? Why or Why not?
I would not- I have no regrets about being queer. However, if you gave me a choice to delete certain people from that setting, I would!
Your favourite queer-themed movie?
Your favourite queer-themed book?
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides