THE WORDS ARE MINE, BUT I AM SURE EMOTIONS WILL BE OF MANY OTHERS. THOUGH THIS MAY BE FICTIONAL, I AM SURE IT MUST HAVE HAPPENED WITH MANY.
It’s been a year since I discovered my sexuality. I am a lesbian. Yes, a lesbian.
I am not ashamed of it. Never was, never will be.
There were times I questioned God about it. There were times I was tired of fighting alone, but as the days passed by, I discovered I was never alone. There are many others fighting like me. They were always there, supporting me and appreciating my courage to accept that I am a lesbian, secretly. There always will be two types of people: people who support us and people who are against us. It is up to us. Whether to rise above the haters with the support of others, or to hide ourselves deep under the haters and not speak up, ignoring the supporters on the way. It is all up to us. They could either get to us, make us weak or they cannot get to us, as we would be blocking all the negativity from these people and only let the positivity flow through and around us.
Everybody has a story, and let me tell you mine. I hope this inspires and helps you in some way.
I was born into a normal Indian family. Let me add ‘typical’ before ‘Indian family’. I am the only child to my parents. They wanted a son, but I, a ‘girl’ was born. They were not that happy, but they learnt to accept the truth eventually. I was a tomboy and was bullied for it at school. I always thought. What is wrong with being a tomboy and not a girly girl? I did not like makeup or dressing up with skirts and tops. I always liked sports, dressing up with jeans and shirts (or T-shirts). I always tried to change my choices and preferences. But how could I? One simply cannot change what they like or dislike. If they like it, they like it. If they don’t like it, they can’t just force themselves to like it. These people always made me feel bad about myself throughout Middle School.
But things have to change. This is the law of nature.
Two years ago, I found a perfect best friend. She is my saviour. She came into my life when I needed her the most. She came into my life when I needed someone’s love, the encouragement, and support. She came into my life when I was helpless. She came into my life when people started bullying me more. I realised that she was missing in my life. She taught me how to be strong and not face the bullies all by myself. She taught me not to be ashamed of myself. She taught me how to be myself. She taught me how to ignore what others think about me, and only focus on what I think about myself. She taught me how to love myself. She is the perfect best friend everyone wants.
A year ago, I discovered that I had feelings for her. Not just any feelings, but romantic feelings. I was mature enough to understand all this. I searched up things on the internet and started noticing things about myself. I got answers to some questions that I asked myself. In my whole life, I was never really attracted to any guys. I don’t know if I was attracted to girls because I never really noticed it. In some situations, I did feel attracted to girls, but I reasoned myself that it was just normal between friends. But that time, the attraction was really more. I couldn’t help but notice that I really was attracted to my best friend. After I confirmed that I was a lesbian, the first person I told to was my best friend, in a hope that she would understand me, and she did. As always, she understood me.
I had seen the reactions of people when someone talks about sexuality. People are not given sex education and remain unaware of the different ways humans experience attraction. They act in such a way as if it is a taboo to talk about it. It really isn’t. People should be educated and made aware of this.
Even though my best friend got to know about my sexual orientation, she didn’t act weird at all. She acted normally. Just like she used to. She didn’t maintain a distance. She continued being the same best friend she was before. She acted as if nothing happened. She made me feel good. She is the best. But I still didn’t have the courage to reveal my identity to anyone. Because I knew that people judge. I knew they would start maintaining distances with me. I knew that they would make me feel left out. I didn’t have the courage to speak up. I was just a scared 14-year old teenager. People never made me believe that they would accept that I was lesbian. I was forced to believe that they would never understand me. From the time I started understanding things, I have been seeing the LGBTQ community being deprived of basic rights, not given rights, being looked down upon, called ‘chakkas’ and laughed at.
After all this time, how could I trust them? How could I trust them with the matter of my sexuality? How could I tell them without being laughed at or looked down upon? How could I reveal this? How would I have the courage to tell all this?
My fear was natural. I did not have any courage to tell all this, not even to my parents. I was worried about what people would think about me.
I was wrong, extremely wrong. I shouldn’t care what others thought. What I should care about is what I think about myself; how I feel about myself. I am not ashamed about it and my sexuality does not define my character. Why should I care about others when I am happy and content with myself? I shouldn’t care. But at that point, I did care. I did fear. I was scared of everything that I shouldn’t have to be afraid of. I didn’t reveal my sexuality to anyone else.
And I never wanted to. I wanted to keep all this as a secret.
Then, a few days back, the Supreme Court passed a verdict. That was the trigger that spurred me into doing what I’d long been wishing to do. I realised that there are many people out there who would support me and many others who would be against me. I just need to focus on the supporters and never lose hope.
I decided to reveal the truth regarding my sexuality. In the near future, I am going to reveal this to everybody. I don’t care about the consequences. At least, this will reduce the burden from my heart.
~ Purvaa Shah, New Baldwin International School, Bangalore
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