Posted by Brinda Sarma
Artwork by Charmi Singh
In all my life I’ve ever received three types of responses to me coming out: incredulity, acceptance and indifference. And I’ve to say, indifference has been by far the most welcoming.
Incredulity is the response I’m most afraid of being from a country when section 377 still hounds us. I can see prejudice staring back at me and familiar affection turning into mild revulsion and confusion. Those three words, “I’m a lesbian,” seem to change everything they’ve known about me. According to me, sexual orientation is the most minor aspect of one’s personality. To think that people get discriminated against or, to put it in the crudest terms, bullied and killed for being in love is something that I still find difficult to comprehend.
But to experience it on a personal level, it still haunts me. The tone of “Oh,” that emanates from their mouths deflates me and I know that the amount of selfies we take together will gradually decrease until they cease to be in my camera roll and I, in theirs.
But it’s okay
I’m slowly getting used to it.
Acceptance is a response that fills me with hope. It is accompanied with hugs and reassurance and joy. Joy of me opening up to them, joy of me not being afraid. I’m special, I’m precious and nothing or no one can harm me, that they’ll be my side.
But again those terms gets attached to me.
Special and precious, suddenly I’m given more importance, but my identity is condensed to my sexuality. I’m not known by name any longer but the fact that I’m a lesbian, that I’m sexually attracted to women. Suddenly, I’m available for experimentation. All my habits, my tendencies, all my likes and dislikes are reasoned by “Arey, obviously, cause you’re into girls.”
I’m no longer an individual, I’m my sexual orientation.
Other types of acceptances are also there. The prime being the ‘reluctant acceptance.’ The one where yes, the other person/people do “accept” you but questions or statements like, “Are you sure you’re not just confused?” “Maybe, you’ve just not found the right man!” “You might be attracted to girls now but you’re going to marry a man, right? You can’t afford being like that in India,unfortunately.”
If you don’t accept me than don’t give me faux comfort. I don’t need it from the likes of you. My sexuality is not a fashion that I just decided to adopt just for the fancy of it, it is something innate in me that I can’t change. And I’ve had to work hard to accept that because this queer phobic society had taught me something this natural, loving another person, is unnatural.
As good as acceptance is… it isn’t my favourite.
Indifference is perfect. Indifference too has two sides. One being the person doesn’t care enough about you to bother, the other being, the person cares a lot about you to let a thing like sexuality matter too much. Of course, it does matter. They are there for me, they accept me and it’s great. But at the same time, to them I am the same person I was before. My identity is not that I’m gay but my name, the fact that I write good poetry, my music taste, my preference for thrillers over romances and that the hue of late lilac sky is my favourite.
That’s all I want.
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