Our Voices The Orinam Blog

Coming Out Late, Coming Clean

To my parents, wife, brother, close relatives and friends:

This may be a shocking letter to anyone who thinks they know me well.  I think it is better to reveal the truth before it is too late and things get worse. You can hate me lifelong for this, unfriend me from your facebook list, delete my contact from your mobile or choose to abuse me through your emails and phone calls.

Yes, I am gay/homosexual.  I chose to tell you this now, as there is enough strain in the relationships around me. I chose to get married out of peer and family pressure to adopt a conventional life. This was a big mistake. I take the blame for ruining my wife’s mental and physical health by not being the ideal husband material that she and society would have expected of me. But I am also quite clear about not to wanting to live in this make-believe world, which I am sick and tired of.  I am pretty sure Maitri* is too. This marriage was dead long back, according to me. Everyone in the family and a few close friends around us know that there has been a strain in the relationship. I chose to stay away from my family during my higher studies in the middle of this strain, just to do justice to my academics, which was then the first priority. I dropped numerous hints about not being comfortable getting back with Maitri (without revealing my orientation) during counseling sessions, psychiatry consultations, meetings with family and friends when my family sought our reconciliation as a couple. I returned home to give Maitri the moral support that she then required, as I was told she was depressed and likely to inflict harm on herself. There was no love whatsoever and there will never be. All through this, there is terrible guilt and shame that I have jeopardized her life and mental health.

Many times I  thought of opening up about this sensitive issue but always stopped out of fear of being ostracized. I didn’t want to lose my parents, my brother and the few close relatives and friends who genuinely cared for me. My biggest mistake was that I chose to hide the truth and lead a supposedly normal life, just because I was not brave enough to confront my inner demons.

I have never had a good relationship with Maitri. I did not respect her dreams of wanting to be a mother. I was fearful of bringing a child into a family situation such as ours, as I did not want another new life to become the next casualty. Maitri, you were wonderfully patient and tolerant while I went about my domestic routines mechanically. I often wished you realized you deserved better, took legal action or nullified this broken relationship much earlier…but you chose to stay on for reasons best known to you.

Yes Maitri, I was cheating on you: meeting random people through social networks and roaming about like a nomad. Not all those dalliances were just for physical gratification: I was also seeking moments of mental peace where I could find it, as the atmosphere at home was depressing. I felt helpless, caught in a self-woven web of infidelity and deceit, including self-deceit. I felt unable to express myself and seek appropriate liberation, as I feared I would be misunderstood and rejected.

I know this news comes as a big blow to people who have always stood up for me and supported me in good and bad times. My relationship with my brother has strained so much over the last couple of months. He and my parents never liked my attitude towards my wife, and I lacked the courage even then to admit that I was gay. I didn’t want to continue living with my legally wedded spouse purely for a formality. Whenever I articulated these thoughts, it created more unpleasantness among my parents and brother.

There was also my fear of losing my professional standing and facing societal rejection. These are normal but important fears that any gay/queer person would have, considering the rigidities of our society.

There are certain things I want to be very vocal about:

  1. My parents did not ever know what was running through my mind. I seriously wish people don’t talk ill of them, as it is I who let them down, and this is no fault of theirs.
  1. I do not wish to continue my married life and Maitri does not wish to grant me a divorce through mutual consent as she has been wronged greatly. I accept that. She will be supported by my father as he strongly feels I have been indifferent to her.  Maitri, I would like you to know now that my ignoring you had nothing to do with your qualifications, looks, tolerance, or earnings. I take the blame for messing up your life.
  1. If my parents feel I have no more place in the home I share with them, I will move out and stay separately without being a nuisance to anyone back at home or to anyone in our close circle of family and friends. I would, however, need some time, may be a couple of months, to make suitable arrangements.
  1. If my relatives and friends choose to stay away from me and cut off all communication, that is their choice. I know it is very difficult for people to digest this.  I will patiently wait for people who can accept me as I am.
  1. I am not here for your sympathies or for advice that tries to convince me to continue my current existence. I just want to live my life with some mental peace and dignity, whatever little may be left of both. I am prepared to fight alone. I know the path ahead is going to be rocky. I am not contemplating suicide, as I want to live and breathe on my own, given a second chance.
  1. And the last word to my parents and my brother/relatives and friends: please don’t hate me. Allow me the option to repent for my mistakes and try to restore the chance at happiness for two lives without worrying about family honour and stuff like that. I have already fallen in the eyes of everybody and I don’t want to lose my near and dear ones at any cost.
  1. I never intended to hurt anyone voluntarily, but my conscience, fighting a bitter battle with me daily, made me realize that I had better come out in the open before the situation escalates. I feel disgusted with what I have done, but I guess, after years of introspection, I now have a clearer view and have chosen to come out and come clean, whether I am accepted or not.

From,

Purush*


* Names have been changed on request.
** This letter is part of the South Asian, Married, and Queer? resources collection. Read about this initiative in English and Tamil.

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