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Memoir: Roorkee and Rainbows

June 21, 2019
- Anonymous

For the few thousands from a set of 12 lakh that do end up getting into an IIT, it seems like a dream come true. A culmination of hard work, efforts, time and money, with the hopes of a bright settled future. But if you’re like me and belong to the small non-heterosexual male minority, things may get bleak for you, soon and fast.

If the rampant “kya gay hai ” and other homophobic remarks don’t push you deep inside your closet, the casual bigotry prevalent across sure will. The truth is, with all the conversation flowing around the scrapping of Article 377, the people on campus are kind of accepting(?) the fact that LGBTQ+ people (might actually) exist and so now, most guys think they have to prove their own and question others’ “straightness” all the time, lest they turn out to be one. Cultivating a despicable atmosphere of hyper-heterosexuality and toxic masculinity.

(Not that I’m complaining. After all, watching guys flex their muscles trying to prove their manliness is supposed to be my labour of love, right?)

8th September 2017. The day I finally came out to myself. A day people usually associate with feelings of liberation, glee or being epiphanous. Not me though, for it was a day when everything I believed in was shattered. A day that plummeted me into a cyclone of self-doubt and denial.

The days leading up to it were some of the most trying days of my life, I suffered from major bouts of anxiety, depression and self-identity crisis. I felt like I was trapped in a YouTube video running at 2x when all I could manage was 0.75. Everything was changing so fast and rushing past me in an indecipherable blur. So I ended up doing what I always was good at, shutting myself out. I started ignoring plans, stopped meeting friends, missed lectures and fucked up my academics and submissions until one day I couldn’t take it any longer. I locked myself in my room and finally screamed out loud- “I AM NOT STRAIGHT”, a small voice at the back of my mind was ready to taunt me with “Took you long enough”.

It was stupid of me to believe the churning thoughts would suddenly stop, though. Because the aftermath wasn’t pretty either. Still having no idea what to do apart from probably loathe myself more for existing, I did the bravest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I came out to my straight best friend, who also happened to be my first guy crush (and accidentally also to my mom, who read said message and freaked out, but that’s a story for another day). Surprisingly he took it well and although I was still as clueless as before, this acceptance was the tipping point for me.

What ensued was a series of coming-out messages to close friends where the OCD me crafted each one uniquely and made a list of people I came out to (or LOPICOT as I call it), followed various subreddits, devoured articles, forums and tried a few dating apps( wouldn’t recommend unless you want PTSD in your initial acceptance path). Every positive and encouraging response pouring in emboldened me to be more sure about who I was and I realised that a strong support system in the form of close friends, is what actually channels this entire process of self-discovery and acceptance.

And I’m not saying every person in your life will embrace you with open arms and warm hugs, I’ve had my share of stone cold silences and metaphoric shut doors. But branding every person who doesn’t accept you immediately as homophobic makes you no different from them. Give them time, if they come around, well and good, if they still don’t, move on. You’re probably better of without them.And once you have reached that magical number of acceptances, you’ll get comfortable and confident enough to notice that you’ve run out of fucks to give to the fear of exposure.

Because in my time at Roorkee, I’ve realised that homophobes are as much a minority as those of us belonging to the community. A large chunk of the predominant straight junta remains clueless, unaware, or believe it to be of no concern of theirs, till this day. These are the people who get carried away by the wave of casual homophobia and sexism in the name of fitting in and this is the perfect demographic that any campus group willing should target for sensitization.

So, if you’re still reading and are a fellow member of the community: Hang on, things do get better. You’ll find who you truly are eventually and be able to proclaim it proudly to the world. Just take the first step and come out to someone you’re close to. If you’re a nonchalant and unaware person: Look out, someone might be reaching out to you and not always through words. We sure don’t bite if a helping hand is given. If you’re a homophobe: The times are a changing and we’re coming for you, riding our unicorns, rainbow swords blazing.

A small acceptance could make someone’s life.

For not every closet is Narnia.

PS: You can call me a hypocrite for being anonymous here, although I wouldn’t mind screaming it from the top of the Main Building for all I care. It’s just me taking care of the small minority of homophobes. I know we must be damn scary for you to have a phobia of us.

TL;DR: I, a non-heterosexual male from IIT Roorkee eventually turned out to be just fine.