Coming out of the closet

"By the time I entered college, I was so shattered that I couldn’t come out to people. I lied throughout saying I was straight and also got a friend to act like my girlfriend. But it’s not easy to hide who you truly are. Imagine pretending to be another person for years! At one point, I was so frustrated I tried to kill myself. When my group of 10 girls met me in the hospital, they said: ‘Live life for yourself and your loved ones. The society will judge you no matter who you are.’ Those words made so much sense to me. On the day of my college farewell, I got onto the stage and confessed that I was gay. Much to my surprise, people stood up and clapped. They knew it but were waiting for me come to terms with up. It was an important phase for me, to realize  that I had people who would love me for who I am and not judge me based on my sex. One of my friends, Namrata Soni, has played such an important role in helping me look at gender from a new perspective. It changed how I dealt with everything. It’s amazing how a few people walk into your life and make it so much better. Having dealt with so much, this feels great. 

For the longest time, however, I didn’t talk about it at home. The first person I opened up to was my brother and that worsened things. He didn’t accept it and told my parents as if I was a criminal. It affected my mother so much that she was admitted to the hospital. But things are better now. Although they don’t completely support and accept it, they don’t object it either. I remember talking to my mom about my Ted talk. She asked me if people were shocked when I shared my story, but I told her how a few in the audience came out of their closets after listening to me. She was amazed and I could sense a bit of pride that she felt. I personally felt so happy that my life could help so many others to be courageous in accepting who they are. I know how difficult the battle is and being able to inspire people to not go through that is truly an achievement. It’s important we value and love ourselves first. I often tell people, don’t have to categorise me in any gender or sex. I’m a human being and treat me like one!"

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