I was 16, maybe 15. I was sure, but still confused. I wanted to share this with someone. Yet, I couldn't. Actually, I was ambivalent about that feeling as well. I realized I was not straight. I did not know how to deal with it. Homosexuality, as a term, was now discussed in India, and thanks to some of the movies, it was a topic of humour. I was quite immature then. There was nothing I could do. There was no one to share the feeling with. For the first time in my life, I regretted the feeling of being an only child. I come from a Maharashtrian family and although my parents are educated, they were typically Maharashtrian and coming out to them was not an option; neither is it now. I expected things would change eventually and ran away from the issue by being engrossed in studies and what not.
I am 18. I am an adult now. Things are pretty much the same, although I have kept ignoring them like always. Engineering kept me busy and when it didn't, I managed to sketch. So coming to the point, I realized the need to accept myself a few months ago. I recall a competition which a management firm had conducted in my college. I made it through the first round. The second round, to my horror was a one-on-one debate. I was dumbstruck when I heard it. First I experienced a streak of glossophobia in the presence of crowd. Second, I went into dilemma just by hearing the topic on stage. The topic was 'Section 377 should be banned!' The only thing I was content about was that I had to state my points for the topic and not against it. Relief! Speaking against the topic would be like questioning my own self, which I was not prepared to do. So, the thing is, the debate not only provided me a chance to speak regarding a topic I would have liked to with each and every friend of mine, but also it gave me a facade to hide under, as I wasn't ready to come out of the closet yet. So as the timer started I was speaking, that too in front of a crowd, and to my own surprise I stated quite a lot of things: starting from the very idea that how revolting Section 377 is to a section of people to the rather philosophical definition of love. Aside from the fact that there were somewhat negative vibes around me, I amended my sentences to make them appear less criticizing although I made them firm enough to support my topic. At the end I understood how orthodox people could be and that I needed to accept myself for who was. The reason for it was very simple: I couldn't expect people to accept me unless I accepted myself. I tried to understand the perplexity of the situation I had put myself in. I knew that I was not straight and was very insecure about it. I wanted to be happy with who I was and not worry about my friends and family. Then I wondered whether they would move away from me. I was and am still afraid.
I don't want to be alienated, no one would. But still the question remains: what is to be done? Come out of the closet? Well, yes, but what is the use of it until my mind has cleared the closeted orthodox ideas, which everyone from my friends to my family, have thoroughly imbibed in there? For me, coming out of the closet is a stage far apart, not because I am unable to accept myself, but because I want to be independent then. Now what I did to accept myself was pretty much simple, yet complex. I wandered (not exactly) in solitude; began sketching again. Read books, a lot! Cleared my mind of the stereotypical anti-homosexual thoughts and wondered for a while. Homosexuality or bisexuality is not about sex, a common misconception which everyone has; it's about being with someone you love, immaterial of what gender the person has! Well my recent venture to some dating sites gave me umpteen chances to change my thought that maybe it is all about sex, but seriously, is it!? Umm.. it might be presumptuous enough on my part, to consider all the apples rotten because of a few. After all, we connect with people by thoughts and not by their sexuality. So there is no harm whatsoever in not being straight. Different people with different choices, some people like the opposite sex, some like the same sex. Although the majority lies with the former, it doesn't mean the other one is something catastrophic.
Before concluding: a rather amusing fact that I have seen a long time around is the discrimination in LGBTQ community against bisexuals. I don't know why it is per se, but isn't bisexuality as simple as homosexuality? Some people who are attracted to people of the same sex, bisexuals tend to like both. Isn't it simple? I believe it is! Bisexuality is very simple to understand but complex in reality. Simple because bisexuals tend to get aroused by men and women, though in mobre or less different ways. So both genders are attractive to them. However, it is complex because BOTH genders are attractive. Difficulty arises when deciding to settle down with one. But love doesn't discriminate, does it?
At the end I just wish to say: broaden the horizons of your mind, flush the stereotypical thoughts, and think! It may sound simple, but trust me, it took me around 3 months doing that, and am still working out to accept myself. The journey to happiness lies in accepting yourself, not only in terms of your sexuality but also as a human!