The Rainbow Heart campaign was created with a firm belief in the power of telling our stories: stories of acceptance of our queer identity – by ourselves or by others. The first edition of this compilation has eight heartwarming stories: ‘‘You’ve Got a Friend in Me’, by Priyanshu Ranjan, is the sixth story in this series.
I’m Priyanshu, living in the so called as ‘city of dreams’. I really wish that my dreams will be fulfilled here; I don’t think they will be. I am a gay boy. I knew about my sexuality when I was in secondary school. I began to understand that I was different from others. I was expressing myself the way I was but what I got in return was exhausting, traumatic.
My friends in school never accepted me. They used to bully me every time, all because I was effeminate. I tried to change myself (a LOT) but couldn’t. I entered ‘college life’ and learned more about myself. I understood many things about the LGBTQ+ community. I am not ashamed at all to say that I lost my virginity during my college days. I thought that who I was and what I was doing wasn’t really unusual. It was just that my feelings were different from those of others. I found many more people like me. I felt relieved, good and happy when I used to be with them. But the issue of acceptance always remained. Whether I was in school or college, the reaction of people around was always the same. I was even bullied by people who lived in my locality and knew about my sexuality. I was alone. I couldn’t do anything. I used to tolerate it all, thinking that this happens with many of us. After I completed my HSC exams, I decided that I would let my friends know about me.
I went for my first LGBTQ+ Pride March in Mumbai in 2018. The experience was really worth it all. After that, I told a few of my friends about my sexuality and they accepted me — it was unbelievable! They behaved normally with me. They have constantly supported me; I have never felt alone or sad in their company. This acceptance was my first step towards coming out. I then decided to come out of my closet for good. And I did! Many people mocked me, but surprisingly, many also supported me. I’m really thankful to all of them. After Section 377 was read down, many of my friends celebrated the great decision by the Supreme Court. I feel free now. I still get bullied, but I don’t care anymore. I know that they do not understand. They need to be educated, they need to be told. I’m trying to raise awareness among as many individuals as I can. I hope that one day, everybody in society respects people like me.
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