Interviewee : Sumit Pawar
Q. What do you identify as (gay, bi, transgendered, queer, non-binary. Use any terms you like here)?
Q. When did you first start to define your identity as such?
I was attracted to boys earlier but (I started defining my identity) at the age of 18. Before this, I was not aware about the LGBT community.
Q. Have you experienced first-hand trans/homophobia? If yes, how did you deal with it?
When I was in college, someone I considered a friend leaked my personal pictures and uploaded them to college computers. I am grateful to my best friend and a college professor who always supported me, and this gave me the guts to talk to them about my identity. From that day, I have never looked back.
Q. When did you first out yourself? Who did you come out to and why did you come out to that person?
It was not planned or pre-decided; it was very sudden, as I’ve mentioned above. I came out to my close friends and they really supported me. I also felt then that if I did not stand up for myself, the fear would always be there in my mind. So I feel that was important.
Q. Did your coming out change anything about your relationship with them?
Yes, in positive way. Now we are closer friends. Before I used to live a dual life and it was horrible. I was depressed, stressed and this was affecting my life. But coming out to my friends was very helpful to me.
Q. 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?
Yes, it makes it harder because I always fear that it will directly affect my family. I cannot just think about myself and not about my family.
Q. Have you come out to any family member?
Q. Okay, a few things fun things now. What are your turn-ons? And turn-offs?
Turn ons: a guy in formals, lean and curved body, licking or kissing near shoulder area, puffed chest.
Turn offs: someone who doesn’t know how to surprise his guy, is unromantic, non-creative, self-obsessed.
Q. Your favourite pick-up or pick-me up line?
It should be a spontaneous pick-up line.
Q. Share one moment/memory from your life that makes you most happy about being gaysi.
The response I get from friends, marchers, onlookers during pride walks, where I march in different attires. It gives me a boost, and makes me proud for being out and talking about it.
Q. One Indian celebrity you would love to see coming out as gaysi?
Hmm, I really don’t think about any celebrities.
Q. Your favourite queer-themed movie?
Memories in March, Chitrangada.
Q. Your favourite queer-themed book?
I don’t read much.
Q. Your all-time favourite quote?
“Let’s get rid of the tags”.