“My Father Called Me Sick”: From Coming Out to Marriage Equality
A fashion designer recounts his journey through life and his experience of same-sex marriage.
Growing up was not very easy for me as I was different from the other kids in my family. I liked many things that were usually preferred by girls. I was taunted and called names by family members, and sometimes strangers on the streets, which was, and still is, very hurtful. All those years, I chose to never speak about it and always smiled in public, but cried alone in the bathroom.
I decided to come out to my parents when I was 18. My father called me sick and my mother remained quiet. My parents never meant any harm for me but I believe they were not able to connect to who I was.
I moved to a different city for my higher studies and fell in love with a man. After a few years of being together I found out he was cheating on me. I decided to move out. During those years, I was emotionally very weak and I feel no shame in accepting that I slipped into painful depression. It was the darkest phase of my life.
I went back to my parents and explained everything to them. By then, they seemed to have understood my sexual orientation. My mother offered me help and I underwent treatment to come out of my depression. I returned to the normalcy of life with lots of courage, strength and determination.
Around that time I was preparing to move to the USA for further education. I met Mikel, the man who is now my husband, online through another friend on a social networking site. We bonded and took time to get to know each other, even though being thousands of miles away from each other was certainly difficult. But the space and the distance worked in our favor. Our relationship grew stronger every day.
It was hard for me to fall in love again though like anyone else I wanted to love and be loved. But I guess my hope and faith worked in my favour. He travelled all the way to India to meet me and in a few months, I moved to the USA for my education and we started to live together.
We were living a life just like any other married couple and we decided to actually get married. We believe in marriage. It makes me feel so good and proud to say that I am married to the person I fell in love with. It is something that I always wanted but never thought would be possible. Today, my family accepts my husband and I for everything we are. My mother expresses her gratitude for my courage and feels sorry for her ignorance in the past.
India is my country and USA is my adopted nation and I could not be prouder to say that I live in a country where every part of my life is accepted and respected. Everyone deserves to be treated equally, regardless of age, race, caste, creed and religion.
Being human is about treating others with humanity. I am so grateful for everything in my life.
(The author is a fashion designer based in New York)
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