Q. What do you identify as (gay, bi, transgendered, queer – use any terms you like here)?
Yeah!!! I’m a Gay Gay (1st Gay stands for ‘Happy’ and 2nd for ‘Homosexual)
Q. When did you first start to define your identity as such?
Well, I discovered my sexuality as Gay (Homosexual) when I was around 15 but the additional Gay (Happy) was added after I attended my very first Gay Pride in 2010.
Q. Have you experienced first-hand homophobia? If yes, how did you deal with it?
Nope. It is surprising but I have never faced any Homophobia yet.
It was on the Black Day of Indian Judiciary, on 11-12-2013. The day when Indian Supreme Court gave the judgment on Section 377 of Indian penal code. I was at The Humsafar Trust that morning and as the Judgment came out, it became the hot topic to discuss and debate upon for media. There were many news channels who wanted queer people on their TV debates. I decided to face all homophobes talking against Homosexuality on the Hindi channels. I thought if I do not come out today and start fighting for my rights, how could I face; first my self and then Krishna (The God I love the most). So my first coming out was on Aaj Tak, one of the top Hindi News channel of India.
Q. Was it unplanned or was there careful planning involved?
Indeed it was unplanned. It happened just in flow of extreme emotions of anger, disappointment, rejection and sadness
Q. Who did you come out to & why did you come out to that person?
So my coming out was to the whole world. To the people who know me as well as to the people who have never heard of me. The reason is, I wanted to show the world that how unacceptable and ignorant the SC Judgment was, which says, We are just a Minuscule Minority.
Of course I don’t know how particular people reacted who have seen me on TV, but after such a huge media outrage, I have experience a lot of positivity and acceptance in Indian society on the subject. Yes, there are few incidences of people coming to me at public places like Railway stations after my Public talks on IPC 377.
Q. Did your coming out change anything about your relationship with them?
After I came out, my friends and office colleagues came more close. Mostly all of them accepted me with full respect.
Q. Have you ever been outed without your consent? If yes, how did you deal with it?
In my personal as well as professional life somehow people always know about my sexuality wherever I go and if they do not, I end up outing my self.
Q. How did the people you were outed to deal with it?
All have taken it well, and have been supportive.
Q. 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?
To be honest, I think it’s otherwise. Our old rich queer color of culture, stories, temple walls, scriptures and philosophy helped me to discover my sexuality and come out.
Q. Would you recommend that people stay in the closet or come out?
It is a personal choice. Hence I do not recommend either. However I believe that coming out of more and more people brings very positive change in society. With this, it does not limit to the subject of people participating in newsroom debates and yearly pride marches but also of the people living next to you, working with you or someone staying with you in your own house. I believe Visibility will bring acceptance in long run.
Q. Have you come out to any family member?
Not formally but of course they know.
Q. You have been an active member of GALVA for a while now. What has your experience been like so far?
Yes, The Gay And Lesbian Vaishnav Association () Mumbai is a platform I started few years back. So far it’s been great. ?We have monthly meets, meditation workshops, lectures by different people sharing their experiences and thoughts on the subject of connecting dots between Sexuality and Spirituality.
Q. One Bollywood Celebrity you would love to see coming out as gaysi?
Opps, Sorry I do not know much about Bollywood but if it is about politics then I will love to see Raghav Chadha of AAP coming out. He is so cute. Every time I see him on The Newshour, I want him to win.
Q. Your favourite queer-themed movie?
Prayers for Bobby. I just love, love, love to watch it again and again.
Q. Your favourite queer-themed book?
Does Indian Mythology counts? If yes, then ‘Shikhandi’ by Devdutt Pattnaik.