Mom, I Am Gay!

I was in a perplexed state, didn’t know which route to take. And when you don’t know which road to take, you tend to follow the one that everyone ambles on. I was no different. I thought it was normal to think about girls. So I spent a lot of time thinking about them. Rather forcing myself to think about them, sexually. But, I didn’t have any feeling of sexuality. So to develop one, I used to spend long hours in the bathroom. Forcing myself to think of girls. Every time. But I didn’t feel titillated by their breasts or their feminine charm. I thought I was abnormal. I thought that my abuse is making me asexual. I felt weak mentally. I couldn’t let someone walk on me and leave a negative impact on me for life. Terrible, it felt to reach climax without an orgasm. It was like fighting a battle with my inner self. Nature seemed to be against me.

Years passed and I fell in love with a girl 5 years younger than me.  I loved her and still do. Not all relations have a name. Ours didn’t. We were close to each other. But I never hit on with her as if we were boyfriend girlfriend. There were no kisses. No passionate hugs. Nothing. We were just too fond of each other. I thought that was love. And it was. But love of a different kind. She is someone whom I looked up to. Besides being enigmatic, saw her as someone who held her head firm on her shoulders. That was what I wanted my better half to be. I did dream of a life with her. And who wouldn’t, she is just 5 something in height. But had and has wisdom that is incomparable.

But as I said this is love of a different kind. I soon realized that I wasn’t feeling like what conventional lovers do. I didn’t want to get into something that I was so unsure of. I couldn’t take someone along with me when I don’t know where I was heading. We were very good friends. And we thought that it was best to leave it at that.

Then years passed, flings with the opposite sex happened. None with any sexual overtones. Meanwhile, I started acknowledging that I had a thing for men. I was attracted to them. I held myself back many times, thinking that this was because of my sex abuse. Almost every time failing to realize that I as truly asexual at that time. I never felt any thing for men or women then. But now, things were taking a different turn.

Like a small rivulet that connected an island river to the ocean, I flowed. I acknowledged that I was feeling sexual towards men. I started reading, surfing and updating myself. Somehow, even though I knew that I was gay, I thought that this is just a momentary feeling and that things will change in some time. I couldn’t visualize myself with a man. I loved kids, wanted to have mine too. Secondly, my family, I thought would never consent to my sexual orientation. I didn’t want to be ostracized.

It was a scary phase. Where on one end, I was emerging victorious (referring to sex abuse) and the other end I was battling to find my own identity. My sexual identity. I knew what I was. Just that I took time to acknowledge. I started attending gay Bombay meets. I started networking with people. I realized that gay relations were much beyond one night stands. There was much more to a conversation than just – how big are you, are you top bottom or versatile? Home alone? Have place? etc.

But still, I thought that I should be getting married to a woman. The guilt of the fact that I would not be giving her any sexual pleasure was eating me up. I thought I would be using her, faking emotions and lying to her… that was so unlike me. I couldn’t use her as a baby making machine. I had sex with a female commercial sex worker when I had been abroad. I couldn’t use a woman as a guinea pig for my sexpriments. And I did not want to do something like that in India, as I knew women were forced into flesh trade here. The place I had been to treated sex as a business. Where the sex workers had government licenses. It was sex with consent. After the act, I realized that when I had an orgasm, when I came, I thought of a man, and all through the act, I had to forget that I was with a woman and think that it was a man to maintain my erection.

We feel shy to accept that we masturbate. Someone proclaiming that he had sex with a csw would raise many eyebrows, I guess, I harbored guilt in my heart for having done that though the woman wasn’t forced into sex trade or anything like that. It truly was sex with consent. I could do it. But when I got an orgasm it was because I thought of a man.

I realized that I should give up the thought of marrying a woman. I couldn’t endanger her rights. She has the right to sexual pleasure and freedom as much as I did. I can’t deprive of that pleasure because of my sexual orientation.

I came home. The next step was to confess this to my mom… the first day that I told her, she explained to me that homosexuality was unnatural. When I tried to put my viewpoint across, she told me that I need to leave the house if I didn’t ‘mend’ my ways. As night approached she came to my room and explained that I might be feeling so as I am a survivor of child sex abuse. I told mom, that I can’t do this to a women, I couldn’t get married to a woman when I was actually gay. Mom said that it’s all in the mind. She insisted that I see a shrink. This was on a Wednesday and I got an appointment with a psychologist on Friday.

I didn’t sleep the whole night on Wednesday, Thursday morning I bunked work and sat all alone in the sea face at marine drive. Admiring the waves that lashed to the shore with vengeance…empathizing with the waves that wanted to reach out further but were constricted by the sea face… I spent 10 hours in solitude.

I walked down from Marine Lines to Sion… all the way hearing my inner voices, trying to reason with myself… I didn’t know what future had in store for me. It was all so mysterious.

When I reached home mom noticed the much obvious question mark on my face. She took me to the dining table. Sat across and said… “Say, you want to tell me something, don’t you?” I told her, “Mom, I will get married to a woman, accept the world view and make babies, have a ‘complete’ family. But mom, what about the women I get married to, wouldn’t she understand that I am faking an orgasm, wouldn’t she want to be loved and caressed wholesomely, physically, emotionally and sexually… mom, how can I stop her if she seeks pleasure elsewhere because I can’t satisfy her… mom, if you were the woman in question, will you get married to me… mom, would my children be happy with straying parents… mom… these are the questions that are raging in my mind. I know and understand mom that I am gay, but still mom, I love you, I trust you immensely. Should you feel I should get married to women…? I will do so. But I request you to find answers for the questions I asked you before you advise me.”

My mom looked at me, caressed my hair, and whispered… “I know. I understand. I understand that you are gay. But I wanted to know if you are sure of it yourself or it’s just a passing phase. Now that you have given it a thought. And have thought so deeply. I am proud of you. I am proud that you thought of all of these factors, thought so deeply about the plight of women. Gay or straight… you are my son. I am proud of you”.

I cried, cried and cried… shed tears of joy.
Yes, I am gay. I’d rather prefer to call myself as a person who loves people of his own gender rather than someone who has sex with people of his own gender.

As far as the law issue goes, having anal or oral sex is illegal under section 377 in India. Loving a person from my own gender isn’t illegal. I am gay by thoughts. I am a survivor of child sex abuse. Many felt that I turned gay because of sex abuse. I was gay. Because I am this way, not because I had no other way. There’s a difference between innate sexual orientation and imbibed sexual habits. And, I understand the difference well.

If sex is only for procreation, then man and woman should be mating only when they decide to have a baby. When they have it for recreation, its unnatural, isn’t it? Sexuality is beyond just sex. It’s a state of being.

I’m happy and gay. Or simply ‘a happy gay’

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Harish Iyer is an active voice for a number of social causes. He is mad and whacky, intelligent and stupid at the same time. Maybe that's what got him a listing in the World's pride powerlist as one of the 100 most influential LGBT persons in the world.

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