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The first time I tried stepping out of the closet and telling my parents that I am not straight, they called it an effect of westernisation, and blamed it on the media I consume.

Written by Bhavadharini Murali (She/Her)

Queerspeak 1.0

They say that ignorance is bliss, and I wholeheartedly agree. I sometimes wish that I was the

one who introduced my parents to the queer world. Maybe that way, I could have given them

a more unbiased introduction. Maybe that way, I would have been accepted by them for my

sexual identity.

I am what you would call privileged. Middle class upbringing in a nuclear family, educated

parents who have given me all comforts and loads of love, above average educational

opportunities, wider exposure to things that few others have. To an outsider, I have it all. A

golden cage looks pretty to an onlooker, but to the bird, a cage, no matter how gilded, is still

a prison.



My introduction to the queer community was through the insults that my classmates threw

out liberally. “அவளா நீ” or “அவனா நீ,” or worse, “அதுவா நீ” (are you him/her/it,

derogatory terms used for queer people) were commonplace. And when I understood what

those insults alluded to, and that I shared a lot of characteristics with those people belonging

to the community that my so-called friends were making fun of, I felt myself withdrawing from

my peer groups. Since everything that I know about being queer was that it was something

to be ashamed of, something that people can make fun of and get away with, it took me a

long time to even understand that my non-heterosexual feelings weren’t an abomination, and

that I wasn’t the only person who did not go through the teenage rite of passage of having

crushes. The guilt that I felt about being different, being weird, ate me alive from the inside.

It wasn’t until I could take it no more that I chose to look into the internet about my situation.

And I was in for a pleasant surprise when I realised that far from being the only person, there

were enough people in the world who also felt a lack of sexual attraction in varying stages,

that we could take on Denmark if we wanted to. I liked men and women, but I was attracted

to neither, and for the first time, I was feeling alright about it.

The first time I tried stepping out of the closet and telling my parents that I am not straight,

they called it an effect of westernisation, and blamed it on the media I consume. They were

also sure that it was just a phase. I went so far back into the closet that I was merely a few

steps away from Narnia. After that, any mention of anything “unnatural” was met with a

coldness that gave the Arctic a run for its money.

To date, the only person in my family who knows who I am, is my cousin. They have been

highly supportive of my journey in discovering myself, my safe space, and 100% of my

impulse control. We have both been there for each other, and are closer than even most

siblings. The trauma brought us together, we would joke.

I vividly remember a debate between the said cousin (a closeted bisexual) and my father. It

went on for what felt like hours. The crux of my father's argument was that while transgender

women are alright, but this whole concept of gay lesbian is just people being lazy and not

putting in the effort to get married and create a family. That relationships, marriage, and

sexual relations, are solely for the purpose of procreation and not personal gratification. No

matter the counter-argument that my cousin would put forth, my father was steadfast in his

views. Fun times that did not scar me for life at all, no.

I realise that I have it much better than a lot of people. I realise that people have been kicked

out of their houses or worse, lost their lives for being queer. I have very less to complain in

front of their lived experiences. But a chance conversation with someone made me realise

that there are so many people who live in this limbo. There are a lot of us who are living as

our unauthentic selves, for fear of losing out on parental love, and for fear of disappointing

them despite all that they have done for us. Your feelings are valid, and it is not your fault.

People will say ‘cut them off and move on,’ but life rarely is that easy. Despite all that is said

and done, they are just as much the product of their time and upbringing as we are of ours.

This is why I wish for ignorance, for the chance to discuss, rather than debate, who I am. To

understand, or at least acknowledge, that I deserve rights, peace, and happiness, no matter

who I choose to or choose not to love. I wish that one day, they see past their prejudice and

open their minds to the possibility that there may be more things out there that do not fall

under their definition of “normal.”




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