For the #BeYourself campaign we are reaching out to various people across the LGBT+ community and asking them to share their stories and hopefully encourage others to be themselves and grow into the person they want to be. David shares his brave story below about his journey finding himself.
Suppose you see a new species of butterfly fluttering through the woods. What do you do? Catch it and wring out it’s wings or appreciate it and gloat over the fact that you discovered another beauty of nature?
We gays, lesbians, trans and bisexuals are the same. We are not different from others as we belong to the same homo sapiens kingdom like the butterfly, and we have the RIGHT to be appreciated and loved too.
That brings us to my part of the story. Like the countless gays before, I have got hardships too. I had a tough and abusive childhood. Let me say that I come from a very closed Bengali community in India who thinks (some Bengalis won’t agree with me because they had been brought up in more open minded environment probably) drinking is the sign of immorality, sex should occur after arranged marriage and same sex interaction – a felony which should be pruned at birth. But I was always the odd one out of my society. Apart from my sexuality, I rebelled at most customs and norms.
We have four stages of discovering sexuality – reflection, rejection, realization and acceptance. I wasn’t really much into sports from my childhood because I was always teased and poked and mentally and physically tugged and hence kind of desisted playing in the sports class. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like playing. I reflected on myself when I was fourteen years old and had a huge crush on Christiano Ronaldo (Oh my god! He is so damn hot). I didn’t think of it much because I was under the impression there are many fans of him and I am one of them but slowly and steadily as I grew up I understood that something wasn’t right.
Suddenly in the class the girls and boys started having dates and I wasn’t interested at all in any of the girls. I was very frightened and at that time didn’t know what the term “homosexuality” meant, so I carried out an extensive research googling “boys liking boys” and for the first time I felt attraction towards the handsome faces and cute postures (Well this is a blog not a sleazy article hence refrain myself from details. Please use your imagination) and I “KNEW” it. I was a “HOMOSEXUAL” and I grossly rejected it. I tried thinking about girls, but all I did was put some bikinis on hot boys.
As the days pass by, I became more and more uncomfortable. I come from a middle class family and my family had lots of expectations from me, and I knew that they would be devastated by this news. Apart from that, because of my non-association with any girls in class, I had to endure a lot of abusive behaviors and taunts and sleazy innuendos which affected me physically and mentally, and I couldn’t share these with anybody as, because of my society, words get around like wildfire and this would intensify the treatment I am getting and my parents would be embarrassed to give birth to a “queer”.
The times were pretty dark for me. Every night I wet my pillows with tears and every day I woke dreading how my day is going to end. As a result I turned to studies and story books to keep myself happy and busy as they say “Books are one’s best friends”. I am pretty hardened and toughened by my experience and haven’t shed a tear for 4 years but while writing this blog I am not ashamed to say that my eyes are pretty tearful.
Eight years!!! Eight years I kept this secret to myself. I couldn’t look at girls like other boys neither could I stare at boys because that would induce remarks from others, hence I had to keep to myself pretty much all the time. One thing though is I had been given brains, so I used my intellectual skills to be ahead of others’ in the class. The treatment from others made me more and more determined and fiery to show them that, even after all the turmoil in my life, I beat them in studies and excelled in class. There were so many times I resorted to the thought of suicide but somehow the fear of death and the notion of my parents kept me alive.
Then when I was in college, I slowly started accepting it. My classmates still taunted and teased me a lot but the physical abuse was at least gone. Anyways by that time, I was hard as a shell so their comments didn’t hurt me a bit. My lacrimal gland has dried up pretty much by then. I started realizing fully my sexuality though I was fully unsure to accept it. That was the time I thought of studying abroad and leave my society and my dark past behind. New place, new beginning! And here I am millions of times happier now that I have fully accepted my sexuality and come to the final phase. I couldn’t hold the secret any longer and I didn’t need to.
I only started coming out from the month of January and I told my host family and my very good housemate friend. They didn’t bat an eyelid and on the contrary were very happy for me. Slowly my confidence grew and I told some of my classmates and other friends and then BAM!! I saw the post in the UCD LGBTQ+ Facebook page about writing a blog and I said that what is better way of coming out to the entire world than writing a blog not only to help others but to come to full acceptance and BE PROUD OF WHO I AM.
And here I am writing this blog while checking on Grindr sometimes (I personally hate it but there are a few nice people out there. Please others do not be offended). I also went out to The George for the first time in the month of February where the first day three complete strangers welcomed me warmly and thus began my journey of banishing fear and #beyourself.
I haven’t yet come out to my parents, but I intend to do that at the end of my course. I do not know yet what their reaction will be but I guess they will come to terms with my sexuality because they love me too much. Apart from that I have told just one friend (She is my best friend from India) and she was very cool about it too.
I guess pretty much there are and will be many gays like me and the only advice I can give to them is nowadays there are plenty of support groups and helplines available. Seek them out and explore all possibilities. Stand up to what’s wrong and be firm and proud about whatever you do and feel. Remember that “fools rush in where angels fear to tread”. And also as one of my gay friends said and I quote, “Sometimes it’s better that other people know about your sexuality. In this way you can remove the weed in your life and the friends that stay are the good ones who will always be there”. And above all #beyourself and do not bow down by the atrocities imposed by the ignorant people. Remember that YOU are the only one responsible for YOUR own happiness, YOUR opinion, YOUR feelings and YOUR everything.
Last but not the least to quote Robert Frost “I took the one less traveled by and that’s made all the difference.”
Thank you very much for giving me an opportunity to write. I poured my heart out and literally wrote a short autobiography. I hope it gives a slap to the homophobic people and soothes the hearts of the thousands of LGBT people from all across the world.
P.S – if anybody wants to follow my Instagram it’s instagram.com/sudipdavidhp