Queer Self-Reflections - Hari
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When I look into the past sometimes I feel very happy, sometimes I feel very angry and also feel hopeless/disinterested.
But I cannot tell in one word the feeling.
If I think about my life from the past 15-20 years some incidents still are very troublesome and brings back anger, and hopelessness in me but it is very important to leave them and go further.
That is why I always remind myself about good incidents in my life; good moments with my parents, their good feeling and care, good moments from my childhood.
How do I feel now about that…. That feeling keeps changing every day for me. It is not like what I feel today will be there tomorrow also, it keeps changing.
When I was 18-19 years there was a boy who was studying MA in my college.
He was a very good friend to me.
It was not just friendship. I had attraction on him and he had attraction on me.
But during those days I did not know much about homosexuals.
I did not know whether that boy knew about this or not.
Though we were studying in the same college and travel in the same bus we would write letters to each other.
Physically we were not close to each other but travelling in the bus we would rest our heads on shoulders. That was our maximum physical closeness.
But in letters we would be very romantic to each other.
Those letters one day my mother saw.
She was very angry and it was like an earth quake in my life.
She could not control her anger, so she went to that boy’s house and reprimanded his mother and him.
I did not expect that it would take a turn like this.
Later our relationship became very weak and he went abroad for higher education.
Later we would keep in touch only once in two three years.
That was a sad moment for me.
Later marriage pressure was dumped on me.
I am the only boy to my parents and I have no siblings so the marriage pressure became too much on me.
If any boy comes home or if I get calls I would be under surveillance.
My mother would over hear my conversations and cross examine me.
I was just 20 years then.
My parents got married late and because they got married late they wanted to me to get married early.
If my marriage is also delayed everything would be delayed.
When they were pressurising me like that I did not know how to respond to it.
One time my mother and I fought about this very badly.
When she came back home I did not open the house door to her.
I made her stay in burning sun for some 5-6 hours.
She also did not know how to handle this situation.
She would always speak about homosexuals in a vulgar manner. One day I could not bear this so I also spoke to her in vulgar manner.
I had never spoken to her like this.
She could not understand what I was saying so they took me to mental hospital.
In that asylum money monger psychiatrists did experiments on me for 8-9 months.
It was most horrible experience in my life. I was subjected to electro convulsive therapy, anti-psychotic drugs almost 12 drugs in the morning and 12 drugs in the evening.
I was lean before after this I gained lot of weight.
Children in their childhood and adolescent age are quite rebellious.
With such heavy drugs any kind of rebellious child will be sedated.
Such fraudulent psychiatrists while selling their work to parents would show other kids saying ‘see how rebellious they were and see how we have sobered them’.
They show the difference and give huge hopes.
That incident was very horrible.
That lunatic asylum was like high walled prison expanding over 2-3 acres of land with barbed wires, electric wires and fenced walls. Almost about 7-8 german shepherd trained dogs to pounce and scare any inmate who is trying to escape.
I had to live in that kind of facilities for 8-9 months.
It took 8-9 months for my parents to realise that therapy is ineffective.
Money is being spent but no results out of it.
After that they suddenly took me away from the hospital and drastically stopped my medicines.
I who had got used to those medicines had terrible withdrawal symptoms for two months.
Those two months was like two years for me.
I used feel that ceiling was turning, earth quake would happen, that I was falling inside a deep valley and it stopped after two months.
By then I had finished graduation.
I was lucky because by then the admission of mental hospital ended that is by March and April.
I started getting offers for jobs.
I got my first job in Mumbai in Wipro BPL in 2000.
With that I felt like I got freedom, liberation.
I went to Mumbai for my job from 2000 to 2003.
Later I got a better job in Bangalore with Accenture.
From 2003 to 2006 for four years I was there in Bangalore then I got another job.
These 12 years from 2000 to 2012 I lived very independently in Bangalore which I liked a lot.
I was not answerable to anyone. I was independent earning my own money and running my house.
It was like bird flying independently.
If I think about happy moments in sequence, to participate and volunteer in Bangalore pride, to volunteer Bangalore Queer Film Festival, conducting interviews and audience poll, all these were most happy moments of my life.
I met so many people, I could interview a lot of people, I could do audience poll in Bangalore Queer Film Festival for almost three years.
Even in pride I have volunteered, met so many people, I talked to them they were all to strangers and I was meeting them for the first time. I cracked jokes with them and laughed with them all. These were some of the happiest moments.
Apart from these, in my own family a distant cousin who is 9 years elder to me I met him through my aunts who are in Bangalore.
These aunts also came to pride in Bangalore. He lives in Canada.
Through them he came to know that I am open and out to people.
His proposal came to me through these aunts. I did not know he is gay.
When he came to India he came out to me.
He told me he is gay.
It came as a marriage proposal to me.
I was very happy. We started speaking to each other to know each other for 2-3 months.
He is poly amorous man. His priorities, his definition of relationships did not suit me and definitions.
When he spoke about marriage thought it will be monogamous relationship.
He is poly amorous he needs that space and his freedom.
Even if he would be in a wedded relationship he wanted to be poly amorous relationship with his 7-8 friends.
So I did not proceed because I had the big dream of living in a monogamous relationship.
He is a good man and I don’t have any negative thoughts about him.
It did not work out and I too did not proceed. That troubled me a little. This happened recently.
Funny incident means 95-98% per cent of my friends are all girls.
All my colleagues in office are very good friends of mine.
They have all come for pride and queer film festival. They have also come for Good As You Bangalore support group for discussion.
There is this girl called Linzy. I am now 32-33 of age. Linzy is some 10 years younger to me she is not even 22 years of age.
Once she insisted on coming to Good As You and came along with me.
She saw many homosexuals there and enjoyed the discussions there.
As soon as she came out she started calling many friends and said that she saw so many gays and that they are good looking and handsome.
That was very funny to me because she expected gay men to be aliens or there is so many stereo types like fashion designers and models.
She was so excited out of joy that was funny for me.
The other funny incident for me was my own boss.
She was my boss in Accenture and First Source.
Once she came to Good As You.
She is a Sardar lady. I don’t like to speak stereo typically.
She is a person with a golden heart but she likes to praise about herself.
She spoke in Hindi saying “this boy what did he know, he was so innocent. He came to me learnt so much from me.
I am very inclusive and progressive.
I have never discriminated against him.
I have always been supportive of him and that is why he has been able to progress so much”.
I felt it was very funny. Even people in Good As You felt it was comical.
When I look back and see the years that I have lived the way I realised was a homosexual. I did not know the word gay in my childhood but I knew I had homosexual attraction.
I did not know that was called gay.
When I was in hostel I had some physical incidents with seniors which I liked a lot.
It was an excitement, a feeling and happiness.
From the age 12 to around 20 whomever I met I would excited and also disappointed sometimes.
It was a complete feeling.
Now I am 33.
After 20 I did not keep much friendship with many gay people.
Yes there are some gay friends. I have more women friends.
In my view even when you meet some gay men for the first time or later they sexualise everything.
This view of mine could be biased but that is what I feel.
I do not feel like that when I speak to straight women and lesbian women.
I feel very comfortable with them. Even now there are some gay men whom I feel very comfortable with.
But generally when you see men who are gay I find it difficult to communicate with them around 85%.
Sometimes I get angry.
They sexualise everything and their humour is very sexual.
Sometimes l like it sometimes I get angry.
Even now my parents have not completely accepted me.
Earlier when I was young they would force me and beat me up.
When I was around 19 and so on they would beat me.
But now they still force me to get married even if you are gay.
They keep speaking like that and I get angry.
But I don’t do anything. When they do not like there is no point explaining, how much ever you explain they will not understand.
Even if you see the straight people also have differences with their parents.
Many say that gay men will not be close to their parents.
This is not true, not just gay men; we gay men and lesbian women like our parents and also get angry on them. So it is a holistic experience.
When I think about my gender identity I feel to a large extent I am gay.
Some people are clear that they are gay, they are bisexual or transgender or even lesbian.
I am clear I am not lesbian.
I am not even bisexual.
All my friends are ladies but I do not have any kind of sexual attraction.
I am not clear in my mind whether I am gay or transgender person.
I have seen many gay people and they physically very comfortable with each other.
They are comfortable with poly amorous physical proximity.
I am not physically comfortable with anyone.
When I speak to them I wonder if there are any strict definitions.
Majority gay community gay man has to be physically comfortable with all men or that particular group.
I just do not fit into that definition.
But because I am attracted to men I may be gay.
There are some questions within me. I saw a film called Trans America.
In that film Sabrina Lee, some gay friends who saw that film with me asked if she reminds of someone.
I did not feel anything.
But some friends said that she reminds them of me.
When I heard this I did not like it.
Some other lesbian friends, a girl who was in Good As You whose name I have forgotten, that woman I used to go out with her and were good friends.
She had never asked me if I was gay. After 2-3 months she suddenly asked me that if I ever thought about SRS (sex reassignment surgery).
I asked her why. She asked me if I did not like surgery.
It became a big confusion in my mind.
Is it a need that I have to become a woman?
Should I be a trans person?
Can be where I am without being there or here.
Right now I do not want to change my body.
At the same time I do not like to fit into gay stereo types.
So I am right now neither here nor there.
That is my gender identity.
Recently some 2-3 months there were some articles in Times of India about asexuals called ‘coming out of the asexual’.
When I read it I realised that they do not have any attractions with anyone for some there are attractions but they are not comfortable with that.
I sometimes feel I too could be that. I know I have attractions.
If I am left alone I feel comfortable.
When I am with other people I have discomfort to express it.
I could be asexual person. I do not know where I belong to.
When it comes to queer movement, I have participated and volunteered in prides and film festivals.
When I volunteered in all these events, I felt empowered, enthusiasm and inspiration.
Life did not change much but the perspective changed.
Instead of saying that the glass is half empty I started looking at the other perspective of saying that glass is half full.
Now I am not in Bangalore. I am in Hyderabad. We all came together to do pride in Hyderabad.
It was very difficult. We could not get police permissions. The police commissioner threw us out.
He just did not say get out buts asked us to leave the room.
We felt very discouraged.
Even in Hyderabad we should be able to have prides and film festivals and enjoy the same freedom.
Presently some art exhibitions and closed circuit meetings are taking place.
We should be able to have prides where people openly come out and participate, children, muslims, straight supporters, office goers, students, old people, all these people should be able to join and they should have that freedom.
Presently that is not there in Hyderabad and that is very sad.
It should come soon, I will come soon and it should not be missed that is my desire.