When I was 16 or 17, just starting to realise that I was trans (though FAR from accepting it), I was also in the early stages of identifying as asexual. I always felt like my attraction to girls was different than people around me. Obviously, I later realised it’s partly because it was gay attraction and not straight attraction, but at that point I figured that the sexual component was missing for me.
I know I'm living a lie, but it's only because the truth is uglier. I cannot go a day without talking to you, I lose sleep even at the thought of fighting with you. The idea of you not being okay with something in my life makes me wonder if it really is worth it.
As cis women, trans and non-binary persons’ home with and without parents, physical environment, alone spaces are different and are dealt differently but what happens when sexuality never appears as a question out of fear. Is it a privilege that the question appeared much later in my life and I still do not have to bear the brunt of it because I look no different than a cis-heterosexual woman?
But if I’m being honest, I don’t know if I deserve to be deep about my experience as a bisexual, because that aspect of my has been the easiest to deal with. Sure, I’m not out to my family, so that’s a struggle waiting for me in the future.
The moment I saw my little cousin’s eyes droop lower, his face covered in deep grief when my aunt took away his barbie doll, which he was dearly attached to, I strolled down the memory lane when my aunt criticised me for smiling too much because it gave me wrinkles, or when my friend told me that I annoy them too much with my love.
We met when I was exhibiting Out Here and Now, a series of paintings that became my personal and professional coming out breakthrough. Only the week before I had ended a 13-year relationship, mostly hidden, with a younger man from my village. Our views of the future had diverged and began to conflict. I was coming out as a gay man and artist; he didn’t want to test the dangers of a more public life any further than we already had. I didn’t blame him.
This is for all the times that I’ve heard- be a lady, behave as a lady does, don’t go out at night, take somebody along to accompany you, don’t wear enticing clothes, do not show your bra strap, do not sit with your legs wide open, and many other statements that every single girl grows up listening to over and over again, from the moment they are born to their last breath.
Your stare accuses me of a crime
I know not, gone is your faith;
But this jewel has always been mine
And the truth can never be changed.
When the lockdown began, I was talking to random people on dating apps, familiar with the fact that I do not want to meet them. It was out of need that I keep talking to strangers not with an idea of dating them but to avoid the loneliness and over thinking that happens when mind wanders off.
My idiotic heart that clings to every false hope led me into believing that this change of place would mark a new beginning of acceptance, kindness and warmth. Little did I know that humanities can only teach such notions but cannot force you into practising it.
Living a bisexual life is to live in the shadows. To exist in the grey. You belong in the straight world, yet you don’t. You belong in the queer world, yet you don’t. Because our desires are both normative and deviant, we’re suspects everywhere.
I decided to get it all together, experiment and feel accepted by my own body in the form of Self Portraits.
I am gay. That’s it. There is nothing more and nothing less. It doesn’t change who I have been for the past 23 years, it doesn’t make me a bad person, it doesn’t make me any less capable to accomplish as anyone else.
I grew up with an all-consuming love for Bollywood movies. They supplied the canvas for my visions and the soundtrack to my life’s cadences. To go to the theatre to watch a movie was to touch magic. And nowhere was that magic more apparent than in the quintessential Bollywood romance.
I cannot see that much. So, when I need something, over visual aesthetics, I would choose comfort, softness, texture, design and style - aspects of any material creation that I can feel through my tactile abilities. Taking this metaphorically, one can discern my experience during dating expeditions.
The way you were there with Johnny, sometimes loudly, sometimes silently was a lesson to me. The way you taught Johnny to be responsible towards his family was like seeing an imprisoned bud confined by emotionless rituals getting bloomed in an impeccable sunny morning.
The society is broken and deplorable in the sense that it has such hard and orthodox stereotypes set up for all kinds of people, that these words, ideas and unsaid rules that control every aspect of a person’s lifestyle and choices.
Even before I learned how vast the LGBTQI+ spectrum was, I don’t think I was biased against someone because of their identity. However, due to the lack of conversation on the topic, I’m sure I’ve had my fair share of insensitive moments. I’m sure a lot of us have.
I was 14 years old the first time I came out. I was scared and dreading the fact that my then partner’s parents were going to ‘out’ me to my father. I came home prepared to end my life and wrote a letter to my father explaining how I had kissed a girl and her parents had made me feel fear for feeling what I felt!
To make my coming out easier, I told everyone I discovered I was gay in a moment of epiphany in my final year of college. I had had a real girlfriend until my second year. The story I put out was that we broke up because of relationship problems.