When someone asks me about my ‘coming out’ story, I wonder what and how to answer them. I have no specific method or way to narrate the experience. But, whenever I see someone’s story about coming out on Facebook or Instagram, my heart skips a beat.
I’ve always had a problem with the phrase, to be honest. I had never understood the need to disclose my sexuality to someone. I was a naive child. I was uncomfortable around heterosexuals. I didn’t see their story or read about them; I was very annoyed that there are so many of their kind.
Okay, I am bluffing.
Listen up; it’s a story not only of coming out but also of coming to terms.
It wouldn’t be very reasonable to say that I didn’t come out because I didn’t feel the need; I did come out. It was harrowing and tragic. I came out because I felt the need to express my love for my friend. I’d assumed that unless I spoke out loud to him about me liking boys, he wouldn’t understand my feelings.
I now feel weirded out that I chose him to be the first person to tell about my sexuality; I didn’t say it to my friends, regardless of their genders. But I told him! And the first thing that he could come up in response was: “There are ways to get yourself treated for this”.
How did I tell him?
Oh, such a sad night it was. I told him about my feelings for him over a phone call. I don’t remember now what I must have been feeling that evening or the whole day. I abruptly rang him while returning from work. I’d just given my HSC examination and was teaching secondary section students at a local tuition class. I vividly remember that night–it had been Holi on the 27th of March. And I’d only informed him about my sexuality a week earlier. After the call, I was sad and shattered and ended up blaming my existence. I wanted to get cured, but the thought of him never left me.
Some months passed, and somehow I landed up in the cabin of a psychiatrist. I’d gone there to find a solution but had returned with a prescription for anxiety and depression. I didn’t understand what medications I was on. I assumed they would help me as the doctor just told me that they would help me sleep better and eat on time. We were to talk again after ten days.
But oh boy, what did I become in the span of those ten days!
I was ultimately a new person, and I finally started seeing things clearly. I continued my medications for six more months, and at the same time, signed up for therapy to help with my self-acceptance. On the internet, I read about other people and their stories about dealing with mental health and their sexuality. I left no stone unturned to learn. It was as if I had found a source, a medium to channel my grief and connect with myself and my people!
When I began taking medication, I didn’t inform my mother, but soon after, I managed to take her to the psychiatrist so as to help her understand me.
It was then that I connected with Humsafar trust and started attending their Friday cultural programs. There, I met a lot of people and made some good friends…people who will stand by me till the end of time.
To sum up, I would say that even if I share this as my story of coming out, I know that I will likely need to keep coming out till the last breath of my life. We don’t live in a nation that understands alternative sexualities beyond heteronormativity despite amendments of laws or the scrapping of Sec 377. Everyone like me struggles to develop a coming out story to share with the people they meet along the way in their lives. And each time, it could take a different turn!