Excuse Me, Is My Sexuality In Your Face?
Chakka, hijra, Ombothu (9) - these were the slangs chucked casually at me while growing up. You ask why? Well, because of my sexuality. From a very young age, I knew I was different. I knew I was gay. And was it an easy ride? Well, no.
Growing up effeminate and expressive did no good to me, rather I was a subject of mockery amongst my peers. I was bullied for the person that I was, especially in high school because how else can a straight guy pretend to be cool, get attention and portray his masculinity? My innate need to be nice, fascination towards dance and drama rather than sports, good handwriting, and inclination towards prints rather than blocks and solids were associated with my sexuality. My question is why?
Our school had a confession page, where girls anonymously professed their love to their crushes, guys openly objectified girls, and I was mocked for paying a role in a drama where I happened to wear a saree. My photo was collaged and paired with an image of a transgender person because that’s what people thought I was. That being gay, effeminate and expressive was equal to being a transgender person. Again, why? Why was your masculinity so fragile that you had to mock your own peer for being himself?
And you might think only my peers mocked me. Well, no. I have also had a few teachers who mocked me for who I was, the way I walked and for carrying a handkerchief which had prints on it. Why did you have to do that? Why did you make the space where I spent most of my time hostile and unsafe for me? Why did you just stand there and look at the people mocking me when you could have taught them what they were doing was wrong?
But nonetheless, I’m here on the other side of the spectrum, evaluating all the things that happened to me and to be honest, I’m really happy that I had the ability to turn them around to my advances. It taught me how to brush things off my shoulder, which I deemed less important. It taught me how to be compassionate and kind. It taught me how to stand up for myself when the whole world, rather my world, mocked me for who I was. It taught me being different wasn’t a sin, but rather a blessing in disguise. It taught me how to be a better human.
As the German Philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche said, “that which does not kill us makes us stronger” because “he who has a why to live can bear almost any how”. While most people tried to put me into a box and teach me how to be a ‘man’, I decided to stay outside the box and watch them. Because a man should be inside the box only when he’s is dead and I’m still alive.