My coming out wasn’t a banner event. As I am sure I have said many times. It was silent and gradual. Instead of bursting out of the closet, I slipped out quietly in the night. I am sure many people who know me, were surprised to see me out here, standing as if I had been out here all along. I had been attracted to girls all my life. They had featured in my dreams from an early age. I had fed these dreams on wild fantasies featuring scantily dressed girls. But all these had been happening in the confines of my mind. Where no one could reach out and reproach me. When I started seriously thinking about dating my ex, I had a conversation with myself. Was I ready to date a girl? Would I be okay with my ultra-religious and traditional parents finding out? I knew that by dating her, the people closest to me would end up finding out about my sexuality. All that mattered then was that I loved her. I didn’t care about anything else. I knew nothing about being queer. I knew nothing about the laws of our country, the queer clubs, the labels, the culture, nothing. All of that came after my ex and I broke up. After I slowly started dipping my feet in the queer pool. While we were dating, I wondered about coming out. Would I have to make a public announcement? I realized later that coming out is not a one-time event. I will always have to come out when people ask about my ‘boyfriend’, when I meet new people, etc etc.
And yet, I am not completely out. My parents, relatives, workmates, church mates, some friends and acquaintances don’t know I am queer. This is mostly because they would, especially my parents, take it as an affront. My parents would think I am insulting them and Christianity. They would say that I am going against everything they taught me. As my brother (he knows) told me, my dad is not foolish. He will be able to connect the dots at some point. I’m praying that that point is somewhere in the distant future. I would hate to lose my parents because of this, as much as it is important to me. The other reason why I am not out out, is because of the laws in our country. Which are against us. According to the Penal Code:
Section 162 Any person who— (a) has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature; or (b) has carnal knowledge of an animal; or (c) permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him or her against the order of nature, is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for fourteen years:
Section 164: Any person who attempts to commit any of the offences specified in section 162 is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for seven years.
Section 165: Any male person who, whether in public or private, commits any act of gross indecency with another male person, or procures another male person to commit any act of gross indecency with him, or attempts to procure the commission of any such act by any male person with himself or with another male person, whether in public or private, is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for five years.
Section 165 says nothing about woman+woman behavior. Or is that covered in section 162? By being with a woman, am I going against the order of nature? Even if it comes naturally to me? Even if it feels right? For me, these laws are hard to understand but because of them, I can’t openly be with the woman I love. I know a lot of lobbying is being done. Maybe the laws will be changed. Maybe by the time I am 30, that is in 7 years, it will be legal to be gay. Of course, legalization will bring with it a host of problems. But we can handle those when we are on that side of the rainbow.
Coming out is important. As Stacy said, it is necessary to come out to yourself. To look in the mirror and accept the gayness (is that a word?) in you. Coming out to others, while it is healthy, is not a must, if you ask me. Because sometimes it’s not safe. Out or not, I think it’s really important to surround yourself with fellow queer people. To be able to speak about queer issues that not everyone will understand. That’s part of the reason I started this blog. It’s a huge risk but it pays off when you guys comment, DM me or email me with your thoughts and stories. If nothing else, I hope to create a safe space where we can show all the colors of our rainbow.
Over lunch, while I was going about my usual tweeting, I had a thought. A Curate Queer Ke account. Different hosts, on Twitter & Snapchat, from all sides of the queer spectrum, being queer and talking about queer things. I think Snapchat would work well in terms of secrecy. While Twitter allows for anonymity, homophobes would find us and they might shut us down or do something worse. I don’t know if I should do it. What do you guys think?
Secondly, still mulling over the Queer Book Club…would you guys be interested in that? Let me know.
Are you out? One foot in the closet, one foot out? Deeply in the closet? If you don’t mind, I’d love to hear your story.