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February 25, 2020 @Tonic, LGBTQA
Gender Equality - LGBTQ Community

Coming Out of the Closet: Breaking Gender Barriers

My life has always been a roller coaster ride starting from the school, college till my work place, every stage gave me some or the other learnings!

It was back in 2001 that I realized I am different from others…that I don’t feel the same as others do. His first glance towards me made me blush and his casual touch made me feel special. And that’s when I realized, ‘yes, I am attracted to men not women’.

I was scared, I was nervous, I was trembling with no idea what to do. I couldn’t share my feeling with anyone. All I could do is keep this confusing feeling to myself. Days passed, and people started making fun of me. I was never called by my name. I was called as Chaka or Hijra. People used several hand gestures to taunt me. My long-time best friend disowned me, saying that he can’t be friends with me because of my sexuality, as his religion considers it a sin.

I was traumatized, I was depressed, I was shattered. It was slowly but surely killing me from the inside. There was a stage where I never use to speak to my parents, I didn’t eat for days. My school life was almost a mess; but still I stood strong and didn’t let it affect my studies.

I became a bit more insecure when I entered my college. I was scared that I will lose people as I did in back in my school days. I used to lie to people that I am straight. I never realized the fact that people already knew that I am Gay. One fine day, I became so frustrated that I tried taking my own life. It was then, fortunately, this very good friend of mine came up to me and uttered 3 statements which literally changed the course of my life. She said:

Why don’t you live for your parents? 

Why don’t you live for those to whom you matter a lot? And lastly, 

Why don’t you live for yourself?

And that was a big turnaround point in my life, and made me take the big step towards change!

The next turning point in my life was when I shifted to Delhi, and got to work with an LGBTQ magazine called Gaylaxy, thanks to Sukhdeep Singh who introduced me to the community and made me understand the vitalities of gender.

So, what is Gender? 

Google says it’s a person’s perception of having a gender which may or may not correspond with their birth sex.

That’s where we all go wrong – it’s a perception which people have formed since the very beginning: Man OR Woman, He OR She.

Gender is just an external appearance of one’s gender identity, usually expressed through behavior, clothing, voice, body language, etc. It’s a heteronormative assumption that a boy will grow up and marry a woman. A woman will grow up and marry a man. We never took the time to realize the fact that homosexuality prevailed in India. We never tried to realize the fact that a man can marry a man, a woman can marry a woman. I mean what’s the harm in that – are they mass rapists? are they terrorists?

Being a Gender Fluid person, I always wonder why gender boundaries get in the way – Men can only wear black and dark colors; women can only wear pink and other light colors. Men can never use cosmetics – that’s a taboo. Men can only go to Gym, only men can be muscular.

Masculinity. Feminism. All these terms have literally got so many people confused about their gender identity. And last but not the least, they end up taking their own lives because of the pressures and expectations of society.

These are the things that helped me identify my real self, not because I tried copying someone else, but because I wanted to be a gender fluid person and be comfortable in my own skin. I wanted to tell people through my identity that it is completely normal if a boy dresses up as a girl. There is no harm in living the life the way you want to. There is no harm in being open to express your own true self.

So, be yourself. Listen to yourself. And most importantly, don’t hesitate to express your real self!

Today, I am so glad that I am involved in the coming out journey of many others. That my story has become a learning curve for many individuals in the LGBTQA+ community.

The one message which I always carry forward and want to share with everyone, no matter who or where you are:

Your genitals do not define your gender… Your spirit defines your gender!

 

Author Bio:

Balaji is a gender fluid, homosexual person, who believes in breaking gender stigma, by narrating their coming out journey. Being a child sexual abuse survivor, Balaji gave their first TEDx talk in 2018, where they came out to a larger audience and helped them realize their real self. Balaji has also been openly accepted by their parents, brother, and friends, who are their pillars of strength. 

For more inspiring updates from Balaji, follow @queeromania on Instagram

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