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But never found the courage to take away my life.

I have always been fascinated by makeup, sarees, and ethnic wear that my mum wore. And that always made me feel that I was different from others. I am from Punjab, where people know nothing about the queer community, all they seemed to know about were the Kinnars. They never made me feel like they could accept me as gay or genderfluid.

Boys would feel masculine, by bullying and degrading me. At that time, I wasn’t exposed to the queer community and had no one to counsel me either. There was just one friend who would talk to me in private, but not in public. Going to school became a struggle. I was bullied in classrooms and corridors, I was not allowed to play games, I was locked and badly touched in washrooms, I was abused in cabs, and boys would rub their dicks on me from behind in queues. I still avoid such gatherings now due to the trauma. Once I wanted to play basketball, so a guy hit me with a ball. Instead of taking me to a doctor, the teacher started laughing at me and asked me to change. This incident haunts me to this day.

I found it very hard to deal with everything that was happening to me. It became so bad that I planned to suicide. I would lock myself in my room, find my mom’s saree to hang myself and write a suicide note. I did this so many times, but never found the courage to take away my life. Till 10th, I was suffering so much that I went into depression because of no support and isolated myself. 

However, things started to change after 10th, when I chose Fashion Designing as my subject. It was not like the bullying stopped but I became confident and got friends who accepted me as who I was. I came out to them and they were never ashamed of me even in public. As my confidence grew in college, I started to take part in extracurricular activities, I started to dance, and be the head of so many activities. I even started to wear saree and nail paint. 

Growing up, the lack of support from teachers or counselors, and education about the queer community fueled my trauma, which still scars me. But, queer folks on social media and gender-neutral fashion helped me a lot. I feel that accepting the self is a big journey, that I am now proudly traveling.


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