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Despite my mother's acceptance and permission to decorate my room with paintings and Barbie posters, I was confined to four walls, sheltered from the outside world.

Queerspeak 1.0

I love walking in the rain, listening to the music of droplets on my umbrella, amidst the chaos of the city around me. The earth, fresh from a shower, harmonizes with the chime of my bangles as I stroll through its streets; being myself is intoxicating. However, amidst this enchantment, I am reminded of the constant struggle that comes with being true to myself, and the spell shatters.

I grew up in different parts of India, encountering various people, cultures, ethnicities, and diversity across the country. Yet, my father's traditional beliefs always clashed with my own identity. Despite my mother's acceptance and permission to decorate my room with paintings and Barbie posters, I was confined to four walls, sheltered from the outside world. It reassured my mom that I wasn't getting spoiled. Am I spoiled, though? I often wonder. Is choosing happiness a justified choice? People who made this choice are often treated worse than a criminal, but in places where hopelessness and despair loom large, we are the heroes. Heroes who weren't afraid to live. I led the crusade against the tyrant rules of society, maybe when I first drew fairies as a little boy.

Since then, engaging in art has been a transformative journey for me, from the innocent joy of childhood doodles to makeup, where every stroke and hue unveils a chapter of self-discovery. There is no joy greater than being true to oneself. However, this wouldn't have happened if I hadn't joined college. I came to Delhi for college, and at that time, convincing everyone to let me choose humanities was like a battle. I succeeded, resulting in a high percentage that landed me in Delhi University. Alone now, in a city where no one knows me, I had the chance to know myself better, with no bounds to discovering my true identity. So, I figured out my style—you know, those curls doing their thing, brushing against my face and giving off this pinkish glow. My clothes, well, they don't play by the rules, and jewellery? Man, that just makes me feel even more amazing. So, I started doing and wearing whatever the hell I wanted.

But as I walk the street, the beauty fades away, and people stare, giggle, pass comments; the confinement of four walls feels safer. When people see me, they don't see who I am; they see what I am missing to be called a normal person. In their eyes, I am a clown; my joy gets them bereft of the fear of unabashedly being oneself. I think that’s what scares and amazes people.

One day, I mustered the courage to tell my mother about my identity; she was perplexed and brushed it off as just a phase. I want my story to be told with sheer joy, a story that brings happiness to others, but I am constantly reminded that it is not just my story alone. It is an amalgamation of myself and the world we live in.

Recently, I was attacked and robbed by a group of thieves, leaving me bruised and dejected. When I called home for comfort, instead, I received threats and shame along with ointment for my wounds and a pair of scissors to cut my hair. Looking into my mother's eyes, I saw the love for her child overshadowed by shame at what I had become in her eyes because of society's views. My dad has always opposed me, but he patiently listens to me nevertheless. I can see him wanting to accept his child for who they are, but societal pressures make him conform to traditional gender roles.

So here I stand, vulnerable and alone against the world's bigotry. As my parents drift away from me, even my joys remain incomplete without their laughter. I try to focus on studying for my upcoming history exam, hoping to get gold medals, and worrying about the pile of clothes waiting to be washed in my room; another thought constantly lingers: Will I ever be accepted as a non-binary individual by those around me, or will I too be erased from the lives of those who know me, like the authorities who erase my existence every day? "When will the day arrive when I can savor my ice cream like anyone else on the street? No lingering stares, no haunting fears."

Despite all the struggles and hardships, life still comes beautifully to me every day. I aspire to become an IAS officer or a professor. I have gained a family, a community that stands with me. And for that moment, while enjoying my ice cream, I am able to forget about everything else. Our lives unfold in the semblance of normalcy, yet society adamantly refuses to acknowledge our existence as such—a cruel irony juxtaposed against the mundane concerns of exams and laundry piles.

And in that jubilant embrace of my queer identity, I find liberation. For it is in the celebration of who I truly am that I discover the ultimate joy of existence, radiating brightly as being of love and love alone.

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Well done my dear friend 😊

I'm always with you don't worry keep growing and shine everyday

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