I grew up, went to college but the insecurity of losing out on people who I may hold dear never left me. As a simple way to avoid the situation, I used to lie to people that I am straight. I never realized the fact that people just knew that I am gay. But One fine day I became so frustrated that I tried taking my own life. But in the face of utter hopelessness, sometimes something sparks up and it gives you a reason to hold on for a little longer. I stayed! Why? Because just when I was going to wipe off myself from this world, an angel came down in the form of a friend and she told me a few things that literally changed my life, pretty much! At least that is what I believed at that point in time! She said, “Bala why don’t you once live for your parents? Why don’t you live for those few who give a damn about you? Why don’t you live for yourself? Dramatic as it may sound, it changed my life. It did! It was then when I was going to take my first baby steps towards being and living for myself, towards daring to own my identity. It was difficult, just like making a muscle, it did take a lot of strength and muscle to work up courage. But I was getting there at my own pace.
Like they say, when you truly wish for something, the universe brings that to you in a heartbeat! I moved to Delhi. It was a major turning point in my life. I met my ultimate reconciliation with myself when I got a job with an LGBTQ magazine called Galaxy. Thanks to human angel Sukhdeep Singh who introduced me to the community and made me understand the vitalities of Gender. I was empowered. I was!
What is Gender? Google says it’s a person’s perception of having a gender which may or may not correspond with their birth sex. That’s where we all go wrong! This was a simple thing, a simple answer that I was looking for all my life. I knew it but I was always afraid to accept it! Gender is a perception that people form since beginning Man/Woman, He/She. Gender is just an external appearance of one’s identity usually expressed through behavior, clothing, voice etc. It’s a heteronormative assumption that a boy will grow up and marry a woman. A woman will grow up and marry a man, we never tried realizing the fact that homosexuality prevailed in India. We never tried realizing the fact that a man can marry a man and a woman can marry a woman. Being a Gender Fluid person, I always wonder why gender boundations come in between: Men can only wear black and dark colors, women can only wear pink and other light colors. Often gender imposition takes the form of pressure that can take lives, of self.
Accepting yourself and taking pride is also education! A lot of times, we are unaware of our own bounty because the society has tried to fit us into constructs. A number of new revelations and gratifications, one after the other made me identify my real self. I was no more trying to be someone else. I was slowly being the gender fluid person that I was and I was getting comfortable in my own skin. This was a time in life that I wanted to scream from the rooftops that it’s completely normal if a boy dresses up like a girl, there is no harm in living the life the way you want to, there is no harm in expressing your own self.
Today, I feel I have come a long way. It’s been a long coming out journey. After a long dark phase, I am now out and about. It feels surreal that my story that started off with humiliation and suicidal thoughts have now beautifully transformed into one that is happy and chirpy. #MyStory has become a learning curve for everybody. Sometimes unbelievable things happen na? I know! On a sassy note, remember to keep your chin up because Genitals don’t define your Gender, your spirit defines your gender.
– Ramakrishnan Balaji