I have started to share the stories of people who want to tell the world about their experiences with LGBTIQA community and to this series, Sushmita’s story is the first one. Here’s what she has to say:
I was in my 3rd semester of my engineering, I was not scoring good grades, and had a terrible love life, and wasn’t exactly doing anything remarkable in co-curricular or extracurricular activities. I felt like I was a big failure and was on the edge of drifting in and out of huge depression. I could never really figure out at that point of time why I was depressed. It felt like maybe it was because I didn’t have interest in my subjects and I was finding it very difficult to follow.
At that point of time I thought maybe I should try out things, and see in what I find happiness, I should keep trying, and find out what I am good at, what do I really enjoy. I always thought that I am a good listener, and can empathise and encourage well. Then I realised, I should try counselling mental health issues. Then I opened a page in facebook describing that it explored the human mind, it promises to hear out a person’s troubles, and deal with the anxiety and give some solution. I looked into professional mental health counselling pages and added issues I thought I could deal with, from child abuse to lgbt issues. I never really got any response from anyone in that page.
But, after a while, one day, when I opened the page, I was surprised and happy to see a message, that too from a senior of my college, whom I knew due to some previous interactions in a college club. He had just sent a message to promote his page; it was a page for the lgbt community in our college. I happily agreed, and sent him a message from my profile that I was the admin of Psyche Bee, my page in which he had sent me the message. I was not really very much aware of the situation of the lgbt communities in our country, though I had mentioned that I dealt with such issues in the page. I was just looking out for new people and their stories.
I was really curious, why he was promoting the lgbt community; generally no one really gives a damn unless they really faced any problems regarding that issue. Slowly I asked him, and he came out to me, that he was gay. What a surprise! I felt in the top of the world, because he told me, I was the first person he had really come out to. (Though technically he had came out to one or two persons earlier, still! 😀 )
We slowly started to talk, our interactions grew, and we used to chit chat in college, his classroom was right next to mine. His classmates became curious, and they used to tease him pairing him up with me. And we used to laugh behind them so much. After a while, we met outside college hours, and he told me, that he came to know that there is another community in our college and they wanted to meet him, so we were going to meet them that day. That was when him, and me met Vineeth and his brother. Both are gays and shit amazing!
I never really got even a single message in my Psyche bee page after my senior did, and i don’t regret it at all, I met such 3 amazing people in my life! Thankfully I had made that page, thankfully my grades were down, love life was terrible and i was sad! I thank everything that was bad at that time, because that’s why i met my senior, Vineeth and his bro! Vineeth’s bro and me are like Anna and tangechi (older brother and younger sister in Tamil), I really like him and respect him a lot. Vineeth me and my senior are the awesome picture perfect best friends, like they show in movies. This was a dialogue once my senior said it to me, because he was so happy with us. Vineeth and me are like Cheta and chechi (brother and sister in Malayalam). And my senior and I are best friends!
Its not like our friendship was a cake walk, my senior and i started meeting and talking a lot outside the virtual world of facebook, his friends started teasing very bad, once they had crossed there limits, they were always cracking pathetic lgbt jokes, and insulting our friendship. Most of the times the jokes were aimed at him, after sometime, I also became the target of their stupid jokes and assumptions. But we always had each other’s back, supporting each other, and have crossed the point that we don’t let such bullshit matter us anymore. People always talk, we should live our lives
But this was only what I had experienced with my friendship with him, but he had undergone more bullshit then i could have imagined! He was always bullied in school, not only by friends also teachers, and also his mom sometimes. He also had a really bad time in hostel in college. He was made to feel so insecure that he had to change some parts of his personality to adapt and not get bullied in college also. That’s another long story, then only I felt that if he can still be so strong after all this, then how can I just feel bad at such trivial issues his stupid classmates were making!? I love him a lot, and I wish that one day he is very happy and gets all the things he wants in life.
Vineeth is like my brother from another mother. (I know it sounds cliché, but he is ) he is out and awesome like hell, and sometimes equally impulsive in jumping from one to another relationships. (I hope he never reads this or he will kill me for sure) I feel very insecure that he might hurt himself like most times, when he jumps like this, but right now, he is in a stable relationship; well at least it seems so. He is a very free and open person; we discuss everything from bra straps to song meanings and everything. I came to know a lot of things from him about lgbtiq community and my acceptance for them grew more seeing his way of accepting himself. He is one lucky person, he is out and his parents love him the way he is, (though it was not a complete cakewalk).
His openness and my senior’s friendship , both their presence in my life gave me the courage to explore my sexuality which I had never even considered thinking, but felt something different is there. I have always been attracted to men, but I have a feeling that I am attracted to men and more maybe. I don’t really know, sometimes I feel attracted and sometimes I don’t, I am not sure, so I am not putting a label on my sexuality. No one should really, we are human beings and individuals it shouldn’t matter another person, what a person prefers or not. We don’t care when the next person buys a chocolate ice-cream or vanilla, do we? We only have our attention to our ice-cream. (Though in no way am I comparing our sexual preferences with an ice-cream, it’s just an example)
I have hope in our society, that one day things will change and people will have their freedom.
If you’d also like to share your story or experience with the world, as LGBTIQA person or a straight ally to the community, you can write it to firstname.lastname@example.org. This is an initiative to spread the stories of the community across the world, raise our voices and tell them “we exist and we are proud”.