I very clearly remember this one time my father, my sister and I were watching ‘Gladrags Supermodel Hunt’ on television way back in 2003-04 or probably before that and they had a swimwear round. So they had all the men and women parading down the ramp in thongs and under-wears and there was suddenly a strange awkwardness in the room. My sister and I looked at each other and my father quickly changed the channel. And I guarantee you this is the story of every middle-class Indian’s household. We never spoke about sex. In fact till the time I was fourteen I still thought sex was a bad word and should be never brought up in a conversation. So now you know I grew up real slow!
When I came out to my parents before my nineteenth birthday, I remember my father smiling at me. But it was his usual nervous smile. He didn’t know how to react. My mother on the other hand was very vocal about her disbelief in her son’s sexuality, condemning it at once and went all berserk saying, “This is all the result of those English films you watch all the time. It’s the Western culture getting into your system.” Then followed those months of crying and cribbing over how God had been so unkind to her and unjust with her and no willingness to accept any logical explanation to her crazy list of questions. Their denial was the toughest part. It was frustrating and I couldn’t believe the fact that it was happening to me? An openly gay guy at his college who’s never let anyone bully him and has strongly asserted his sexuality with pride? But interestingly for the first time in years, my father wanted to talk about sex with me. We had a very long conversation where he brought up topics I would’ve never in my wildest dreams thought of him to be talking about with me. It was insane! We spoke about sex, sexuality, attraction, masturbation to pornography. And I’m so glad he did! But he wished for only one thing from me- to never write about my sexuality openly on a social networking platform, which was impossible for me to do but I totally appreciated the fact that he was only being a protective father. But I also got a very genuine advice from a teacher who asked me to never give up on my parents no matter how politically incorrect their arguments were.
I really wouldn’t have ever expected how wonderfully my father stood beside me every time I was in a fix during the entire phase of me preparing for Mr. Gay World. He held my hand and walked me through the toughest times, gave me a hug when I needed it the most, helped me emotionally and financially without even questioning me twice. Neither of my parents ever questioned me when they saw my pictures in a swimwear, which honestly is a big deal given how we grew up. Coming Out is difficult anywhere in the world and more so for our parents who have grown up in a hetero-normative society. Be real patient with your parents, respect them for who they are because the only people who will stand beside you when you’re in a fix are your parents with their undying support and belief in you. Words fail to express how grateful I am to my parents. They truly are the real support-system in my life and I’m so very blessed to have them.
Back in 2011, I chose to be a part of a dance routine at my school’s Annual day that turned out to be the beginning of a new me. It was a semi classical dance routine and had ninety girls with me being the only guy.
One of the girls came up to me and condescendingly asked me, “Are you too a part of the group?” I said yes. She gave me a look and walked off. That upset me and this particular episode stayed with me for a while and I kept thinking of how difficult it was for me to fit in. Then Steven Retchless in his high heels happened to me and I realised how I did not have to be sorry for being who I am.
I didn’t have to fit in anymore. I’d rather be #FittingOut. Because you’re original and you were meant to stand out. I was also there at the Annual Delhi Pride Parade with my campaign and I’ll be sharing all the interesting Fitting Out stories I came across in the future posts.
And now for the bigger news I had been waiting to share with all you guys. I made it through the first round for Mr Gay World India 2016 and I am also done shooting the pictures for the same. I have been working very hard for the competition and it has been a dream since 2012. I am currently waiting for the results for the next set of rounds. MGW would be a huge platform for me to voice my opinion and belief and do my bit in bringing a positive change in the world. Let’s hope for the best and #Fingerscrossed.
It also makes me super happy to finally share the #FittingOut campaign video. This would not have been possible without Rahul from Artists at Work Productions backing this video since the beginning. This man is the boss. I can’t thank all my friends enough for being a constant support. Let’s make this world a place where being queer isn’t looked down upon. We all deserve to live a life filled with happiness and respect. Let’s all put a little of our efforts into making that dream come true.
Contrary to what people often believe, I have always been scared to go to places with too many men around. Gym happens to be one of them. Growing up I could never connect with the thought processes of the other boys in my class. I would be scared of passing across streets or playgrounds where most boys often played football or cricket. I was scared that the ball would come to me and they’d ask me to kick or throw the ball for them. So I’d take a longer way to my tuition classes or while going to the nearby stationary so that I never had to come across them. So this summers I gathered all the courage within me and finally made up my mind to go and start working out. I still try going to the gym at times when there aren’t as many men around. It just makes me awkward and shy. In fact I’m as awkward in a lift with another guy around. It’s the funniest thing to me. But that’s how it is. I don’t really think that’s exactly how it is for all the other gay men and I can’t generalize. Maybe it’s because I have always seen guys as bullies or a group of people who look down upon me. That’s how school was for me even till the end. But we’ve moved on. So let’s hope for better things to happen.
Anyways, as you can see ‘The Effeminare Man’ loves working out and has a dream body to die for. He’s proud of being who he truly is and is happy to carry his pair of wings around. So have you got the balls to be a fairy as well?
Way back in December 2014. Location: Ramachandi Beach. Picture by my sis.
Every morning as I wake up, the first thing I do is thank God for what I have today. I am extremely grateful to him for every little thing I have in my life, because not all of us have been lucky enough to have had a happy childhood. As I went through Kevin Kantor’s powerful poem named “People you may know”, there was this one line that hit me the most. “No one comes running for young boys who cry rape.”
It is no doubt one of the most influential poems I’ve come across in a long-long time. He talks about how he found his abuser on Facebook in the ‘People you may know’ section and when he checked his profile, he had three mutual friends with the same man. Such men are no different and do not live in some parallel universe. They very much live with us. Lately I’ve been coming across a lot of stories, more importantly in India than abroad that talk about the horrific crime of child abuse and how no one really looks at it as something that needs to be talked about. Men get raped too. And we all need to be aware enough to stop this from ever happening to an individual again. A YouTube video shared by ScoopWhoop showed a guy narrating his experience as a little kid when one of his teachers took him to the staff-room, asked him to take his pants off and forced himself on him. Another guy told how he was held up at gun point and asked to give blow jobs to a group of men along with his partner. I was deeply shocked when I heard of all these stories that I had never heard of. We hardly got to know about it when Shia LaBeouf came out and told us about the time he was raped during his performance art project. Why had I not heard of them before?Because men can’t be raped? Or men raping men isn’t a story spicy enough to be written down a newspaper? Or is it because they never came out and spoke about it? There could be several reasons why I might not have heard about it. But currently what matters is that we speak about such issues like the way people like Kevin Kantor and Harrish Iyer have. Because it exists and it is high time that we fix this. When your child comes to you crying for help, listen to him. Children hardly lie about issues like these. Help them because you care about their well-being.
I’m pretty sure you must have heard about the doctor from AIIMS whose wife killed herself after she got to know that he was cheating on her with another man and was constantly torturing her for perhaps dowry. I have been very vocal about how important it is to come out and not be weighed down by how the society perceives you even in my previous posts. (A Seven on pH-> https://theeffeminare.wordpress.com/2014/05/22/a-seven-on-ph/)
For god’s sake, talk to people. You have an Internet connection. Google stuff. You can never fake things till the end. There’s a threshold level. Once it breaks off, you’ll never be able to keep it all in. I very well understand how difficult it might be for you to come out. Many parents tend to live in denial for years. But they will finally understand. I personally don’t give a shit about what my peers think about myself. I’ve made some very close friends after I came out and have as well lost many. But the friends I have now mean so much to me than the ones who left. People will judge you. I have met men who on getting to know about my sexuality sort of back off. I have as well met men who on knowing that I have come out, have stood beside me and have fought for me. Stand by your true self proudly and the rest will be taken care of. If you still think you need time to come out, for heaven’s sake don’t let another individual’s life be adversely affected by it.
Last year I was seeing a guy who when we first started talking seemed like the perfect guy. He had told me about a guy at his workplace who was never able to rise above being a judgmental chauvinistic pig. He was picked on every day he went to work. He was also being forced to marry off a girl chosen by his family. And here he was talking to me and living the life of a virtual player on the social network. I advised him to take a stand and at least try talking to his parents before making things worse for him. We can all give it a try. We’re stronger than we think we are. Such dating apps in fact have become a refuge for a lot of guys and have cemented their view that they could perhaps lead a dual life where they can happily date men online, have a perfectly healthy sex life and can as well maintain the image of a perfect husband and more importantly the quintessential man offline. An illusion is an illusion. It’ll wear off one day and will hit you harder than you think it will. Don’t get off guard with such delusional apps. They’ll perhaps do more bad than good to you.
Picture from last year. Thought it was my last day at Umeed (near Qutub Minar). I got back this year with AAW’s Impart and it was still the same. Always happy to get back to Umeed. Location: Qutub Minar