I have decided to write about something personal, something I haven’t really acknowledged to myself yet. It’s about 6th September 2018 and how I remember that day.
I remember a close friend asking me a few days before the day of the verdict, “do you think that they will actually do it?”, I answered, “I don’t think that they will, but I think that we will still move a step closer to making it happen”.
I am essentially one of those borderline pessimistic realists, who never get their hopes up in the fear of having their hearts broken. I remember telling myself on the night before the day that I will not let the verdict affect me, that no matter what I will not be disappointed and that I will not let myself feel defeated.
I remember waking up for work in the morning and telling myself that this verdict will not make any difference in my life, that freedom from 377 will not mean personal freedom for me, that while I am happy for the countless people whose lives this day would irrevocably alter and though this day would be one of the most important days of my life it would personally not make any change in my status quo.
As the time of the decision drew closer, fellow lawyers put up live updates from the courthouse, I remember regretting not being able to witness the historic day in person. I remember hating my area of practice.
I remember regretting that to stop myself from feeling too much, I had decided to come to work. I remember regretting that I let myself realise the value of the day only minutes before they were to pronounce the verdict. I remember hating having chosen to come to work so that I could hide from the day and all that it symbolised. I had foolishly anticipated that the verdict wouldn’t undo me, that it wouldn’t shake my soul, that it wouldn’t make me want to weep and jump with joy at the same time. How could I ever have thought that I could keep myself from feeling anything when the moment that up until a few hours back I was sure could never happen, was finally happening? I remember not showing any emotion and keeping it all in because I was at work. I remember not allowing tears to fall even though I could feel my eyes getting wet.
I remember hating that while the televisions in my workplace were announcing the fact that I wasn’t a criminal anymore, I was listening to homophobic jokes and comments made by colleagues sitting nearby. I remember hating not getting up and asking them to shut the fuck up.
I also remember immediately calling up a colleague who knew how much the day meant to me and asking her if we could go out for a celebratory lunch, I will never forget how she agreed in a heartbeat and how happy my relatively new friends were for me on my big day. I remember having a beer in the middle of the workday to celebrate, it was my own tiny act of rebellion. I remember wishing I had rebelled in bigger, more prominent ways.
I remember being questioned by my manager on why we were celebrating the judgment and I remember regretting not being able to tell her what I should have and instead saying “because we are too big on human rights”. That was really lame.
I remember not having the courage to go to the post-judgment, freedom party because I wasn’t sure if I was really a part of that freedom. I remember watching videos of people coming out to their parents and feeling upset instead of happy. I remember feeling selfish and undeserving of 6th September 2018. I remember feeling like a criminal still.
I wish I could go back in time and live that day differently.
I let myself down on 6th September 2018 and 11th May 2020 is the day that I let myself acknowledge it.
P.S.: 6th September 2018 and numerous other future small personal days of freedom, I promise that will live up to you.