Story by: Rose
I was born in Kochi in India and moved to Australia when I was 6 and a half years old. Being born in a conservative Christian Malayali family, extremely orthodox, there was very less to nil education about sexuality. I grew up extremely homophobic and questioned my gender a lot of times from the age of 6 to 14. I kissed my cousin sister when I was 8. I absolutely hated myself, and it opened a new dimension of ‘sexuality and gender’. Between these two time frames, I felt really alone and devastated and no one to confide in. I got into a relationship with a girl when I was in the fifth grade, two weeks after my birthday and it lasted for 2 and a half years but it was an extremely abusive and toxic relationship. She sexually abused and almost raped me in my seventh grade. It was one of the most scarring relationships I had, but thankfully I got out of it.
I was the first person to come out of the closet, as a bisexual in my seventh grade. Everyone was supportive of me and others in my grade, told me they could come out to their families and friends because of me. It was an extremely emotional moment for me. I remember coming out to my mom and she told me that before you move out of the house at 18, make sure you murder all your family members because we don’t want to live with shame like this.
My dad was very calm and understanding, so I knew it was going to be easy to tell him. He wasn’t homophobic, and I respect him a lot for it. But my elder sister told me that “It was a phase and it will pass; I have had girl crushes too!” I told her I loved girls and if this was to be a phase then it’s going to be a lifelong one. She has now come to understand my sexuality better and become more aware of the terms she uses to describe the same. Last November I dated a guy who started pestering me to let another girl join and make it a threesome relationship. It hurts me to think that bisexuality to them is just a fetish.
I came out to my extended family in India in April last year via a Facebook post, I knew people back home aren’t very educated about sexualities, but I just couldn’t keep it a secret anymore. A few of my family members read it and the word just passed on from there. But I feel like I won’t be accepted if a portion of my extended family found out.
I started a page with a friend for NRI Indians called ‘An ambiguous collective’. The aim is to amplify our voices and spread awareness about coming out and accepting oneself. As an NRI, I was lucky to be surrounded by a society that was accepting of my sexuality. In the native Indian aspect, seeing what some of my friends in India go through, to own their sexuality, was heartbreaking, empowering, poetic, and beautiful. Indian society seems progressive now, but the core is still stigmatized and homophobic.
A farfetched dream of mine is to help legalize same-sex marriages in India. I want the youth to grow up and feel safe in the place they live in and not have the need to cry every night for being gay or queer.