Special Messages From LGBT Citizens of India This Pride Month
For many of the LGBTQ+ folk, friends from the community are like family.
Video Editor: Rahul Sanpui
What does it mean to be a part of a vast community of people who are still denied equal rights in their country of residence? When the state, the patriarchy and, more often than not, the heteronormative Indian family, rejects your identity and the person you choose to love, who do you turn to?
For Ashiesh, 28, who identifies himself as “a cisgender homosexual gay man”, it is his friends from the community who are like family:
My own family still hasn’t accepted me for who I am. My mother still hopes that I will marry a girl someday.
However, Ashiesh believes it’s okay to not have that acceptance immediately, as long as one is proud of “who” one is and “what” one is.
For me, personally, my friends are like my family. And I think it’s a great feeling to have that community – to know that you can connect to them sometimes more than you can connect to your own family members or loved ones. It’s amazing how a bunch of people have just come together from different sections of society to support each other and spread love.Ashiesh, 28
“I Think My Soul is That of a Woman”
Shyama, who hails from New Delhi and currently lives in London, considers herself “lucky” to have had a mother who was accepting of who she was and who she chose to love. She also firmly believes that it’s time that a community be made up not only of the people who identify as LGBTQ+, but also heterosexual men and women who can be staunch allies –
The real essence of being part of a community should be that you all espouse the idea of freedom of choosing who you want to be in love with – without necessarily having to identify yourself one way or the other.
Balaji, who professes to love cross-dressing (“I think my soul is that of a woman”) credits Sukhdeep Singh, the editor of an LGBTQ magazine (Gaylaxy) he writes for, with his understanding of gender fluidity –
He introduced me to the vast LGBT community in New Delhi and I began to understand the many nuances of gender and gender fluidity. Today, I love putting on make-up, I love wearing kajal, I love wearing nail paint.
Anwesh Kumar Sahoo, who was chosen as Mr Gay World India 2016, says that while he came out at the age of 16 to himself (“and that was a big deal to me”),
I had a very unidimensional view of what “being LGBTQIA+” in the country meant. Eventually, over time, I’ve learnt so much about myself, about life in general, about being a better version of myself – only because of these very resilient members of the community.
Rudrani Chhetri, a model, actor and social worker who identifies as a transwoman, hopes that people beyond the community, too, will spread the message of Pride beyond the Pride Month –
Love everybody. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, what your caste/religion/sexuality is, as long as you’re a nice human being and believe in peace and equality. Happy Pride, everyone!
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