Q. What do you identify as (gay, bi, transgendered, queer – use any terms you like here)?
Q. When did you first start to define your identity as such?
Couple of years ago. Till then I just called myself queer or gay.
Q. Have you experienced first-hand homophobia? If yes, how did you deal with it?
Many times. When I was younger I used to get depressed and there were times I wanted to commit suicide. Now as I am out and proud, I am in a better position to deal with homophobia and even challenge people’s views and make them re-think.
Q. When did you first out yourself?
When I was 13 years old.
Q. Was it unplanned or was there careful planning involved?
An unplanned chain of events.
Q. Who did you come out to & why did you come out to that person?
The hostel warden caught me and my first girlfriend in the act. So it was an involuntary outing.
Q. Have you ever been outed without your consent? If yes, how did you deal with it?
When you are only partially out, the people who have the privilege to know about your sexuality mentioning it to someone who does not know about it can also can be considered as outing. So this has happened to me many times.
Q. How did the people you were outed to deal with it?
Some of them were proud of me for the courage I was displaying, some cut-off all ties, some were neutral and some wanted to pray for me.
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?
Even in country like America which is considered to be less conservative and where there is legal recognition, sometimes social acceptances is hard to come by and many find it difficult to come out. So not only in India, in almost 90% of the world it is very difficult to accept ones’ sexuality. It is a huge struggle that we have in front of us; for ourselves and the future generation.
Q. Would you recommend that people stay in the closet or come out?
If you can afford it, you have to come out. That is the only way that we can bring about visibility and acceptance.
Q. Have you come out to any family member?
Yes, almost all that matters in my family knows about my sexuality
Q. You have been very active in Bangalore’s LGBTQ initiatives. What are the key changes you have noticed since 2013 Section 377 verdict?
I think the 2013 section 377 verdict was a blessing in disguise as it brought many of us together to take part in the future struggle. Many came out of the closet. There was collective anger by the members of the community and the supporters towards the verdict. All these paved the way for social acceptance before the legal acceptance. What is the use of legal acceptance without social acceptance? If there is no social acceptance, people will still stay in the closet inspite of favorable laws.
Q. One Indian celebrity you would love to see coming out as gaysi?
Katrina Kaif, for selfish reasons. I am a big fan and want to go on a date with her.
Q. Your favourite queer-themed movie?
Film “Fire” by Deepa Mehta
Q. Your favorite queer-themed book?
I recently co-authored a book with 5 others the book is called, Broken Jars, A fistful of Dreams. I cant call it a queer-themed book. It is more of a psychology, self-help book dealing with social issues including homophobia and transphobia.