Story of X (via Good As You Bangalore, shared with X’s permission)
I am finally ready to share what happened to me last Wednesday… finally I am able to make sure nobody else goes through this kind of agony which I had to go through as a victim in this situation. Yes, I know it’s because article 377 still sits on us as homosexual individuals, who are trying really hard to make a respectable living after coming out of closet to our folks. There are times when we do get lonely and want to meet someone, with complete trust and hope of new possibilities of friendship, companionship, fun or a much serious relationship.
Last couple of weeks my gay profile on a popular gay dating site was followed up by this one guy, and I received numerous request for friendship and dating from him. But luckily I was a bit pre-occupied with a yearly house party planning and preparation, and of course, my work. But finally last Wednesday I was taking a day off after an amazing party and my work, when I again received a request to share my number for a fun date from him, the same afternoon. Without thinking much I invited him over at 4pm to my place in North Bangalore. Finally at 4:15pm he (Shyam) reached my door, after multiple phone calls to guide him with directions to my place. He seemed to be a bit unsettled and said he is from a small town and is new to all this. Just to make him comfortable I offered him a cup of coffee. While we were having coffee in my dining area, he was asking all sorts of weird questions like ( how many guys I have met so far… since when I have been using this dating site… how many dates in a week and all that…) he was talking to me, a bit strangely, as he was hiding his face behind the coffee mug… And I could only see his eyes… Still he seemed to be a bit unsettled and asked if he can smoke. Being a non smoker myself I asked him to move to my balcony while I cleaned up the coffee mug. I stay all alone in this beautiful house, and I try my level best to keep it clean and tidy… So he was complimenting me on the same… but suddenly I heard a knock on my front door. So I washed my hands and went to open the main house door.
To my complete shock, I see three men of roughly 25 to 30yrs age group, flashing their video cameras, and phone cameras at my face. They checked me with my real name and asked what I am doing in my house at that point of time. I felt an immediate surge of horror, of being caught doing something offensive. And as a response to that I thought I should close the house door at once on their face… but then the next very second I realized I don’t want to come across as someone shying away from the media cameras if this footage is ever gonna be telecasted any where… as I have not done any crime which I should be shying away from. So I allowed all these 3 guys to come inside and locked the door myself. Still their cameras where pointed at me and they were trying to make me feel as if I have done something really wrong. They, without my permission inspected both my bedrooms, restrooms and kitchen to finally go to my balcony and pull that date guy (Shyam) by his shirt sleeve. By that time I had already started thinking of worse possibilities.
Close to one year back, all of us users of this popular gay dating site where informed about the TV9 spy operation where they presented couple of gay guys’ profile openly on national television and naming us all as predators from whom the society needs to be at ALERT. So by now I was connecting the dots and it was very clear that they must be from some media bully or spy network, trying to create some content for themselves. I found myself engrossed in the panic attack and a fear that any gay person in this country has to face now, under the shadow of Article 377. If this content is released without my free will, I could imagine the scrutiny which I might have to face professionally or personally with my family and friends. Just in fraction of seconds I could sense that its gonna be a doomed life going forward. I could also imagine how much what really happened will be twisted, which will show me or any other gay guys as social sexual leeches who live undercover life. So I immediately to my defense asked them for their id card and warned them of calling the police. But they said that they have already informed the police and showed me their ID card, which stated that they were from some media content team called cyber square or something like that. I was fearing them so I quickly dialed the number of one of my friend whom I could call in an awkward situation like this one. But only to find that he is taking a short break in Udupi for that week. So I was feeling complete helpless and given to this situation and to these guys. I could also imagine them blackmailing me to pay them heavily for this footage which they have in their possession.
Finally one of the guys showed me a folder which had black and white printout of my profile images and my chat with Shyam, from that dating site. As they say, in situations like these only we can help ourselves, and to my shock, instead of fearing them, I accepted that I am gay and I do have profile on that site and also that Shyam was there to meet me for a date. I also openly said to them on their face that I know that Shyam is part of their team and they all were together trying to catch me helpless in this situation. “ I don’t fear you guys anymore as I am gay and am not ashamed of it. I am not afraid that you will show all this in television as, I am out to my parents and close family and friends. I don’t work for any corporate that I am need to fear losing my job if this video is released openly… So do whatever you want… But since you guys say that you are from some media content team, I am currently only dressed in my vest and my boxer… Why don’t you give me 2 minutes so that I can change into more appropriate clothes and come back to reshoot the entire footage with you all from the start… So that atleast I don’t look inappropriately dressed for a date.” By the time I said all this the smile had returned back on my face for being so strong and taking charge of what was happening.
Yes I did open up to all my close friends gradually in the last 2 yrs – to both my elder brothers in the last 1yr and my parents, just couple of months back. I could only feel happy at that moment for coming out of closet and sharing the real me with people for whom I really care or who matter to me in my life. But I think this all bravery talk like gladiator really turned the dice in my favour. I could see that their energy and tone in their voice had changed. And the smartest one, their leader immediately leaned forward that that they simply wanted to give me a media ALERT “I should not let unknown people inside my house like this”. And they all immediately wrapped up everything and left my house. It was all so quick that I could only see them leaving my main door. Yes they were finally gone and I could finally feel the cold sweat behind my ear.