I am 23, born Indian, entitled to my fundamental right to follow my conscience. I am a human rights activist and a big advocate of mental health and suicide awareness. I lost my friend to suicide as a teenager. I too have had depression in the past and understand how hard it can be to ‘put on a brave face’. I thought I was weak. I gave into darkness. From that point, I made a choice to never let my mental health sink to that level. I got help. Today, I support mental health awareness, am an ambassador for a mental health organisation, and advocate for suicide awareness.
How you identify is up to you. I don’t believe in gender, but sex is biological reality and gender is a social construct. I knew I was gay from about the age of 6, even though I did not have had the words and understanding to identify myself as such. This is the first time that I’ve felt the need to express just proud I am to be myself. I’ve openly identified myself as gay for well over 17 years but I’ve been like this since I was born. Whatever your sexual preference or identity is, be proud of it. Being gay or being LGBTQIA+ in any sense is not a choice, it’s just part of who I am. I identify myself as gay and I do drag as a form of entertainment/work. I think being gay is a blessing, and it’s something I am thankful for every single day.
There was always something about me that felt different and one day, someone helped me realise that different is okay. And that’s when I outed myself. Society can’t change sexual orientation. The fact that you feel attracted by the same gender, or a different gender, or both, is what makes you realise who you are in terms of sexual orientation. As a kid I liked dolls and getting dressed up and all the stereotypical “feminine” things. I just told my mom I was going on a date with a guy and she told me to be safe. I then changed my interest to men on Facebook and everyone knew, but no one really cared. I understand that not everyone is as lucky, and maybe some families do need to be sat down and told what’s what. But I also feel that anyone in the LGBTQ+ community don’t need to come out if they don’t want to. For many gay people, coming out is an internal journey that involves resistance, self-denial, attempts to change oneself, etc.
I was born in a Hindu family but I follow ‘Humanity’ as a religion in practice. I am a god-fearing person and a strong believer in karma. I believe that if you want to be treated well, you should treat others well, too. What goes around will always come around, no matter how long it takes. Every religion has its own set of wonderful miracle stories. But the best thing is to practice humanity as a religion. The day people accept and practise humanity as religion, there won’t be much pain in this world. I am a Hindu but neither I nor anyone in my family ever felt it necessary to assert or tattoo the fact on our foreheads. Violence in name of religion or nationalism is never good. If we live and let others live, earth will become peaceful like heaven. No religion on this planet teaches violence, crimes, evil. I believe that every religion teaches us peace, humanity and kindness.