I recently came out to a really close friend. She could not have been more supportive. Though this was unexpected, she said she was extremely proud of me. While this did make me feel really happy, it got me thinking. Is it so easy to come out? More than that, is it easy to accept who we are?
Accepting this fact about our orientation is a tough choice. For a long time, I had chosen not to. All along, I had been playing around sexually, but not once had I given serious thought to who I actually was. A choice that society almost always denies us. A choice we choose to ignore or deny to ourselves. We choose not to create an identity. Instead, we are content with what identity is handed over to us by default.
Accepting who I was was not easy. For a long time, I chose to ignore serious introspection, and led a happy double life. I was always attracted to men, but was equally flirtatious with women in college. I was very sure that I wanted to get married, just to please my parents, and, by extension, the society at large. I even had a girlfriend back in college and a supposedly serious relationship with a girl when I entered the workforce. This was last year. We even discussed the idea of getting married and settling down in a tier two city of Tamil Nadu. Yes, my self-denial was serious.
However, even when I was with her, something kept nagging me. A puny childish voice inside me kept whimpering; trying hard to speak up, to scream out. A voice that I had kept contained for such a long time that it had almost gone silent. I was content with that. Or so I thought. Every single day, I kept denying who I was. A few times, I have even prayed to God to “correct me”. Scores of times, I have deactivated my profile on a gay chatroom, only to re-activate it again. But not once did I delete it, knowing full well I could not.
And then came a chance. A dream to study abroad. It has been close to a year now since I moved out of India. A lot has changed in this year. I have put on some weight, lost some more. I have made some really good friends and visited two other countries. I broke up with my girlfriend from work, although we are still on talking terms. But more than anything, I have mustered up enough confidence – confidence to accept who I am; confident to say I am 100% gay, confident I will not get married to a girl and spoil another human’s life; confident to come out to a really close friend.
But this has not been easy. The past year has indeed been a learning lesson. I have learnt the value of being true to myself. And that has made me happy. More than anything, that has made me proud. True, the path ahead is going to be difficult. Coming out to my parents is going to be one tough job. But I don’t have to deny myself my reality.
My learning journey over this past year has, thankfully, not been a lonely one. I have gained a few good friends in the community who have transformed me; who have accepted me as one of their own. They have made me realize it is okay to be gay. Now, I am a content man.
True, I haven’t really told a lot of people who I am. True, I don’t have too many friends in the community (and I hope that changes). But atleast I am secure and proud in the knowledge of my sexuality. True, coming out to others may be a really wonderful feeling, but accepting who we are is a lot more satisfying. Atleast to me, for now.
I dedicate this post to all the wonderful people who have made my journey possible.