“Coming out for me was a gradual process. I first came out to close friends when I was in my twenties. I had decided to give up being a dentist to pursue my true passion, design! I left for Milan to get a postgraduate degree in Fashion Design. I came back home to India, finally comfortable in my skin. I was 30 and ready to be me. I had started my clothing line and had established myself as a designer.
A few years later, I started doing professional theatre. That is what gave me the impetus to write, direct and perform in the play MUDRA – The Silent Gesture. It was for a competition. It was through this play that I laid out my life for all to see, most importantly for my parents. The climax of the play has no dialogues. The protagonist (myself) dances for his mother in front of a Nataraja idol, expressing his composite being, with half face covered in vermillion and a half in turmeric, embodying the duality and the androgyny within him. When the play ended, there was a moment of complete silence, followed by a standing ovation.
Backstage, I started shaking, tears streaming on my face, trying to process the myriad emotions. A friend walked up and said, “Hey Ganesh, you gave me goosebumps. It seemed so real!” My mother, standing behind me, quietly said,” But it IS real.” I knew then that I never needed to hide again. MUDRA was declared the winner in the competition! And the wonderful bonus was, every single human in my life – family, extended family, friends – all were supportive.
I was sexually abused by a male relative when I was a little boy. It stopped only when I turned 17. It was an extremely traumatic and confusing time for me. I was discovering that I liked boys. I struggled with that because how could I like boys? A male had violated me. Shouldn’t I hate that gender? I knew I was different and couldn’t talk about it. I was scared, traumatized, uninformed and alone. I didn’t ever think about making a “choice” about my sexuality. When some people claim that homosexuality is a choice, I always want to ask them – at what age did you make a conscious choice to be “straight”?
While I have never truly faced homophobia in my life, I know of how traumatic it can be. I have laughed off some horrid and insensitive statements but never laughed off bigotry. I have never let my life become a joke. Many of my heterosexual friends have had their eyes opened to the natural reality of homosexuality.
I would love to wake up to a world where a person’s identity has nothing to do with their sexual orientation. After all, no straight person goes around, introducing themselves as “hi, I am XYZ and I am straight!” I would love it if people stopped identifying us as unnatural. That is probably why I use every platform that comes my way to speak up about child sexual abuse and LGBTQ issues. Every small step will count towards destigmatization of these issues.
Love is a splendid thing, and I too, have fallen truly, madly, deeply, in love many times throughout my life. Relationships are a different ball game altogether. There were many right men, who were wrong for me! Maybe I am in love with the idea of being in love. I moved out at one point and lived alone for a decade. It was getting lonely. I did not want to come back to an empty home. My parents were getting older too. So, I decided to move back in together. As much as they need my support, I need them too. They take care of their one child, me. However, I have realized that I act like a parent to four “kids” – my parents, my lovely grandmother who is 90 years old now and the naughtiest of them all, my wonderful canine baby, Aja.
This recent period of the pandemic and the lockdown has been a time of deep realization, it proved to me that my immediate family is all that matters. I have realized that peace is more desirable than happiness. And I am at peace. My loneliness has transformed into solitude. Life is good. And while I do yearn for a partner/soulmate, I also crack up when I hear my married friends tell me how lucky I am to be single! I guess the grass is always greener on the other side!”
#pridemonth2020 #breakthetaboo #pride2020🏳️🌈 #pridemonth #pride #lgbt #gay #loveislove #lesbian #acceptance #gaypride #queer #bisexual #transgender #lgbtq #bornperfect #equalitymatters #accelerateacceptance #comingout #Madras #HumansofMadras