It can be speculated that your deepest desires tend to configure your perceptual experience at any given point in time. In this state of being and becoming, you encounter things that take you closer to your object of desire or experience dissonance of varying intensities at encountering objects that don’t fit your views. I believe that every person who has felt differently about their sexuality or gender role has gone through this. We are all aware at some level. I was too. I always knew I was into girls and boys. But I could never come to terms with it.
Growing up in the 2000s when India was way more conservative, it wasn’t what I should think is what I understood from the people and society at large at the time. It was relatively easy to conform and adopt the role of a Cishet boy so that’s what I did. But I just couldn’t keep away my attraction to boys. I kept running into these situations and one fine day I fell in love with a boy at 14. On one fine occasion of just wrestling with each other, we kissed and I felt a range of feelings from bliss to shame all at the same time. The only way I knew was to bury these thoughts and act cool about them. Both of us never said a word about it. There was a tacit agreement that it was just boys in their homoerotic tendencies experimenting and we were meant to pursue girls.
In the following years, I went about living the heteronormative lie. No one could point a finger that I was queer. I could hide it well. So well, that I hid it from myself too. Looking back, this was gnawing at me endlessly. I could never feel at ease with myself. I started to go into my shell, I wilted like a shy plant. I became a recluse. I was seeing other people falling in love, other boys getting with girls and all I could do was just watch at the time.
Amidst these feelings of confusion, alienation, and self-loathing, I realized I had to do something about it so I started to force myself to ask people out. I put myself out there. I joined every dating app imaginable. It was at this point that all my repressed memories came to the fore and that’s when I realized and came to terms with who I was. It was liberating. I met people who were further along the way in terms of acceptance. I realized how suffocated I was by being asked to be a certain way.
I got permission to express myself the way I want it. It did wonders for my confidence. I felt integrated - like disjointed parts of me finally fusing. I fell in love with my much-shamed skinny body. Explored all sorts of clothing. Not too long after, I met this nonbinary angel and fell in love instantly. I went through a second puberty. I had to navigate complex feelings and figure out who I am – not for the world but for myself.
I also decided to come out to the world at large. The decision to be completely open about my sexuality was a conscious one. The mere act of being open about your sexuality is activism in itself in a country like India. I was intent on being an accessible reference point for anyone struggling. Not too long after, I had a close family member confide in me and come out to me which vindicated it after all.
I felt the concept of pride month was entirely arbitrary to me. Being proud of the way you are all through the year is what I think. But I realize that I speak from a lot of privilege of being a straight passing dude from a metro city. And I do get how Pride serves a very useful function of bringing the whole LGBTQIA+ movement in front of the uninitiated. That’s when corporations and news media bring these issues to light. Therefore it is the best time to change views and give a chance for reluctant, repressed souls to find their much-needed solace and feel it’s possible to feel a sense of acceptance and live their truth.
I just want to say to whoever is reading this to tune out stop taking erroneous arbitrary rules at face value, show courage, reach out to the right people and it shall get infinitely better.
This is Narendra signing off.
I’m non-binary and pansexual.
My pronouns are he/him.
We are so glad to have had the opportunity to hear the voice of an individual not only from the community but one who is also a very close friend. Thank you Narendra for sharing your story with us and we hope that this story helps and is maybe able to connect with some of you out there still finding yourselves!