Personal Stories

A Gay Man’s Daughter

This piece sheds light on how performing cis-het-ness for a queerphobic society, for one's safety, might end up causing distress to others in the long-term.

Before talking about the topic, I myself want to understand sexuality. Is it only sexual orientation? Growing up, we are conditioned to think that girls are only supposed to be in relationships with boys and vice versa. But a dilemma sprung up in my life when I saw a contradiction at home: I saw a very close relative of mine involved in sexual activity with a person of the ‘same sex’. I was in shock; it was traumatic for me.  Days passed, years passed, and I kept witnessing this. I could not share this with anyone, as the relative was none other than my father. I never saw him being intimate with my mother. My sister was too young to understand this. I was stuck between the real and the fake. My mother knew about my father and it affected their relationship. My mother sometimes told me, “I am in this relationship just because of you children.”

Was it my father’s fault? Initially, I thought it was, but then I started understanding that he was helpless in such a situation. How difficult it was to survive in a world where he had to fake a relationship with his wife, though he respected her a lot, and to fulfill his sexual desires elsewhere, at the same time.  He was a victim sometimes, when his male partners took huge amounts of money in return for satisfying his desire, and never turned up.

Growing up, I developed an interest in knowing more about this topic. Were there more people like my father?  Was it legal?  I read about the right to one’s sexuality ,  the LGBT community, and so on, and what the law says about them. Though the picture is not a completely happy one, a lot of work is going on in this area and there is still hope for the future.

My father is no more, but he is still the one who gives me the strength to cope with difficult situations, just as he had done throughout his life. He had always encouraged my mother’s freedom to make choices, as somewhere, he felt guilty about marrying her against his own wishes and succumbing to societal pressure. But one thing that I know, that cannot be denied, is that he loved her. For me, this was and will always be the most special thing to remember.

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I consider myself a mentor who empowers teachers, educators, and change-makers by leveraging storytelling. I work with children in any form of creative arts and learning method, which gives me a scope to learn from them while sharing my knowledge. I am passionate about writing and expressing my thoughts and ideas. In my opinion, sexuality is an area that needs to be talked about and addressed thoughtfully.
Shilpa Sachdeva

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