How Do You Come Out as Gay When the Word Isn’t Available in Your Native Language?

How Do You Come Out as Gay When the Word Isn’t Available in Your Native Language?

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This story about India homophobia was contributed by a Hornet user through our Community Platform. You, too, can contribute stories to Hornet. Head here for more info on writing for us. 

I’m from the southernmost region of India. Where I come from, people are known for their culture and tradition. And anyone who goes against the thousand-year traditions is considered evil and unnatural. While eventually globalization and education change how people think, we still have a long way to go before we achieve universal acceptance of homosexuality.

Coming out as queer is one of the most difficult things in any LGBTQ person’s life. But when you’re brought up in a deeply homophobic society, it’s even harder.

In my case, I had trouble even accepting myself. It was a battle between my mind and my heart. I felt like the only homo in the entire world. I’m still in the closet — even if I had the courage to proudly say, “I’m gay,” my parents would ask, “What’s gay?”

To make things worse, there are no words in my native language that mean “homosexual.” It’s so absurd, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Photo by Mohd Zakir/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

The worst thing is that I can’t shake the feeling I’m deprived of my basic right to live and love.

LGBTQ people already have enough trouble accepting and identifying themselves. But now the Indian government has criminalized homosexual activity. Ironically, our government is based around the concept of “by the people, for the people and of the people.”

I live in a highly patriarchal, male-dominated society. LGBTQ issues are given the lowest priority. Queer kids still live in fear of corrective rape and sexual harassment if they come out.

I strongly believe that love in any form is divine. Love is the force that governs the entire universe. I hope this force will make the world a better place for all of us, including people like me. I only hope people will soon realize we don’t get to choose whom we love. Once we learn to accept everyone as they are, we’ll move into a new harmonious, wonderful future.

Have you experienced anything like the India homophobia described here? We want to know! Submit your story today.

As part of our ongoing #DecriminalizeLGBT campaign, Hornet is highlighting the experiences of those impacted by such laws. LGBT people are criminalized in over 70 countries around the globe. Governments have become increasingly hostile toward the LGBT community, and people have been arrested, tortured and murdered. The fight for LGBT rights is an ongoing struggle, but through activism, organizing and speaking out, we will succeed.

Hornet is working in collaboration with MSMGF to seek various stories from our communities. MSMGF has been a leader in the fight against these laws, particularly in regards to gay men’s health.

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