I was sixteen when i first heard the word “lesbian”. It was presented to me as a very bad, inappropriate, unnatural and creepy thing to be.

I personally do not like the word “lesbian”. And maybe it has something to do with how I got to know the word.

That day could have been the turning point of my life. I realised what I feel is unacceptable. It might lead to a lot of embarrassment eventually.  From that day onwards I learned how to hide my true self from the world. Although I don’t think I did a good job of it. 

It was a time of a lot of confusion. I was the cool kid of the school, but wasn’t exactly feminine like my other friends. Although my female friends did not mind my somewhat masculine appearance, my male friends or acquaintances could not ignore it. I know for sure that guys in my circle talked about how boyish I was. 

I never got asked out. To be honest I never cared. But who does not like attention. I was going through some of my old photos and I don’t blame the guys at all. For the first 21 years of my life I looked like a 15 year old boy. While in an all girls school I enjoyed a lot of attention for my outgoing nature and my tomboy attitude. The same came to bite me in my butt when I was in college. People are ruthless, I was made fun of for my looks and my body language, however I never gave up. As a self defence mechanism I now made fun of other girls and went out of my way to be liked by the so called ‘cool girls’. Once accepted by them I felt I fit in.

But it never felt right. All my life I was trying to fit in, when I was made to stand out.

Blessed with a little bit of creativity, I managed to get into the best school of the country to get a Diploma in Advertising.

It is here that I first came across an effiminite gay. I don’t think I reacted very well. I was scared, amused (thanks to all the bollywood cinema) and above all, uncomfortable. While some people felt comfortable with him, I remember a lot of people making fun of him. I never saw any ‘respect’ for him. So even in the most evolved society, homosexuality was not treated in the most respectable way. I could see that a few women were clearly gay but they never made it evident. I think as we learn how society perceives LGBTQ, we also learn how to hide it. 

Imagine, the suffocation. Imagine how one has to hide even the most innocent, naive feeling for another person. Imagine a life of constant pretence. And imagine that you actually believe that you are at fault, you are the one who needs correction and not others. Imagine, not accepting yourself the way you are because others believe you should be like them.
Imagine to have probably lost the chance to meet and be with your true love. Yes, what if she was with me in School or College. But because I was so ashamed of myself, I might have lost the chance to be with her for life. What if I already met the one I was supposed to be with?

There was a time in my life when I thought this was a phase. I also believed that I am straight and I just sometimes like women a little more than I am supposed to. But when a man came near me or tried to be romantic, I felt very strange, awkward and odd. I could never get around the thought of marrying a man. And for the longest time I did not understand why. I always blamed my ego and my ambitious nature, but it wasn’t either. I just could not imagine myself married to a man and living such a big lie. I am glad I never did. Had the courage to somehow avoid that.

I have had great friends, yet I do not remember anyone ever encouraging me to be myself. Guess they did not have the courage to accept me for who I was and wished I could be more like them. Do not remember how many times I have heard this phrase “can you be more girly please”. What it meant was, “can you be someone more likeable by men”.

Everyday I just pray for more courage, Courage to come out to my parents and my siblings. They are all that matter to me. I wish and hope that they accept me for who I am, I am not just my sexuality after all.

A story by one of our members. We wish her the best. If you too want to submit a story about the LGBTQ life, please email us at hello@asyouare.in