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Pride Month 2021: Stories that inspire with pride

June is recognised as the pride month for LGBTQIA+ identities worldwide. Not only it is celebrated in full gusto,it is also seen as an important time to raise awareness. “Still, a big chunk of people don’t know about us, the misconceptions are hilarious, but it also reflects upon how little knowledge people have about us. They don’t know what we are fighting for,” a gay man tells us. As we celebrate Pride Month, a few out and proud individuals reflect upon their experiences. Here’s what they have to say.

An eleven year girl mocked me

Anwesh Sahoo

I had a very quintessential, fem-boy experience growing up. I was visibly effeminate, and that’s why I was always mocked and looked down upon. A guy once made fun of me for raising my hand like a girl. I changed schools in hope for things to get better, they never did. I was in tenth standard and an eleven-year- old girl mocked me for the way I was speaking. It inculcated a lot of self-hate. So, I started masking my anxiety and channelled all my energy towards school competitions. College started, and I found answers for people who mocked me. I started my blog, participated in Mr. Gay World India and won. I was able to create my own narrative, which was far away from the misconceptions people had. There’s still a long way to go, but at least a positive conversation started. – Anwesh Sahoo

Lockdown prompted me to come out

Gautam Rajpal
Gautam Rajpal

I never felt attracted towards girls, when everybody around me was. For the longest time, I believed something is wrong with me. There was no representation for somebody like me, there was no validation. People used derogatory slurs directed towards me all the time. It did break me. But, my mother really supported me, and urged me to not get affected by this, result of which, I became a force to reckon with, academically and otherwise. Haven’t looked back since, college provided a very open and accepting space, which further added to my confidence. This lockdown led me to believe that opinions of other people don’t matter, and prompted me to come out to my parents, they happily accepted me. World is a better place now. –Gautam Rajpal

Didn’t let belittling comments bother me

Akash Arora
Akash Arora

My friends would talk about bikes, and I used to think about food and shopping. I thought I’d never fit in, I knew I was different. Life went on and I began my corporate journey, meeting people from all walks of life inspired me, and I gathered the courage to come out of the closet. Belittling comments came my way too, but I never paid any heed. Today, I take immense pride to be who I am and what I do. Definitely, coming out was the best decision I’d made three years back; I feel more confident and most importantly I can be myself. It has brought so much positivity in me as I don’t have to hide my true self. After all, clothes are meant to be in the closets and not individuals. –Akash Arora

The flag of love

Abhishek Yadav
Abhishek Yadav

I was named the Head Boy in 2006 but still wasn’t allowed to carry the School flag for the annual day parade rehearsal, because of the mumbling and laughing. I remember looking at myself in the mirror, only to see myself different from others. No matter how brilliant I was, I always found myself in the background. Acceptance came late, but that’s a fight I fought with patience. I chose to love whoever I want, woman or man alike, on my terms and I choose to love myself which in past came less promising to me. Now I have a community of friends with similar storylines, some fortunate, some less and this circle grows every day, for we carry the flag of love. –Abhishek Yadav