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#MeToo, but who cares?

Homosexuals in india are mistreated and are not allowed to live life their way. here’s how…

For a homosexual man, I’ve had a fairly privileged life, or so I think. After I accepted that I was gay, I never had any qualms about being in the closet. For most people in my circle, I am the token homosexual man they know. But it hasn’t been that easy either.

I did my engineering from a college situated in the outskirts of Noida. Over there, homosexuality was a big joke and I was subjected to homophobic slang, directly and indirectly, by everyone I knew. I never had any friends there. But the teasing didn’t deter me from being myself. I’ve had people come to me and ask, “Oh, so you’re gay, eh?” — like it was a crime to be a homosexual. But I knew what I had to say, too. I’d quickly pip in, “Yeah. I am. What’s wrong with it?” That really shut people up. I wasn’t apologetic about my sexuality. I never felt I was wrong.

After engineering I moved to journalism where my colleagues hold rather liberal views. But though no one ever says it to my face, I always feel that almost all my male peers avoid being too friendly with me. Of course, I was never indirectly made aware of it, but there is always this weird vibe. But I never complain about it. I think when you’re gay, you really just hope that it’d be better if people ignored you and let you be, than throw random homophobic comments around.

However, even my own friends over there are quite homophobic — so much for the elite liberal’s support. I am constantly asked not to bring up the fact — or in any way let people know — that I am gay. “We know it, you’re gay. Calm down.” But why should I not talk about it? Why can’t I talk about the guys I like or date? Why is it weird? I never try to make them understand.

Then some incidents happened where I went out with certain guys on a ‘date’ and they forced themselves on me. I don’t do well with sexual abuse. I’ve had many instances with many guys in my childhood. So, I often freeze. But that time I came back and told my friends what had happened and NO ONE gave a damn. Who cares if a guy is raped? No one bothers. However, whenever there were instances of eve-teasing of some random girl we don’t even know much about, everyone would get all passionately vocal about sexual violence and the whole #MeToo campaign.

I was glad that they were so concerned about creating awareness regarding sexual awareness. However, to know that it made no difference to them that their own friend had got raped wasn’t a pleasant feeling. I almost felt like an outcast in perhaps the most liberal college of the country. But I never complained. Because when you’re gay, you are subjected to so much teasing, that you just really want to be left alone. Acceptance, for me and many others, has taken a back seat.

— As told to Shruti Das