Coming out of the closet, we immediately associate being open about our sexuality and gender identity but we don’t understand the nuances of it. Exploring sexual and gender identity is an evolutionary process. While it is liberating to be out of the closet, it is a tedious process. We only see the glamourous parts and are unaware of the difficult emotions the queer person has had to face in the due process.
Not every queer individual finds support once they come out. For some, it could kick start a healing phase but for some, it could become a total nightmare as opposed to being a good thing. The journey of coming out and the one after is not as easy as we visualise it when we hear the term. Queer persons have many concerns looming large over them. While self-acceptance is important to keep them afloat, one needs an ally, a support system too.
This Pride Month, we spoke to some young folks of the LGBTQIA+ community, to find out the hardest part in their journey of coming out.
A budding historiographer, Manjishtha Pahilajani says, “It was a criminal offence to be someone I am. So, one part of you is always scared. Concern for my safety in public still bothers me. It’s not a political agenda, it is an issue that affects me every day. The lack of laws and safety is still my biggest hurdle.”
Happy-go-lucky Suraj confessed that they took a long journey of self-acceptance before being at the juncture they are at. Talking about the biggest hurdle of their publicly coming out journey they mentioned, “Fear that has to be the biggest hurdle of my journey. Fear of what people will say. Fear of this. Fear of that.”
“But now, I say, all that fear was in my head. It wasn’t alive. My thoughts kept that fear alive,” they said.
Suraj reminds us that sometimes, overcoming your fear is the hardest part of your journey but beyond it, there’s liberation.
Smitin took solace in his passion for dance and makeup. He fuelled his passions in these art forms to create a beautiful amalgamation to express himself. “In a society like ours, individuals pay a hefty price for being themselves, even in 2022. There has not been a radical change,” he comments before adding, “Everything is hard. Each thing, right from the clothes I wear to my dating life, could be the reason I will have no roof over my head, within a matter of hours, but I refuse to live under fear every moment. Because I am who I am.”
“I was suicidal. I attempted a few failed suicides. At the around same time, I saw this news of mass murder in a Florida Gay bar. I was so scared. It was lots and lots of crying. It was like piling up, my family wasn’t supportive, and my college denied me entry for wearing an androgynous dress. Nobody accepted me,” Pulkit, a 20-year-old engineering student said.
He further mentioned, “A journey is a journey, but what’s really special about it is that it’s uniquely yours and nobody except you can take the driver’s seat.”
Utkarsh, who identifies as a bigender-bisexual individual when speaking to SheThePeople, mentioned that the hardest part in their journey was/is isolation. They remarked, “You know even when you are out, you are still in a box. It isn’t alienated on social media, because you are connected to the community. But in person, there is this ‘Externalization’ that you have to cope with.”
They further added, “Every individual grows and thus changes. The decision to come out or not is part of this growth journey. There could be reasons that you do not wanna come out, which is okay. It doesn’t make you any less of your identity. If you are not mentally prepared or lack the measures of financial stability, safe spaces and support systems, you shouldn’t come out. Coming out is a personal choice. Period.”
Views are not subjugated in any way. People from the LGBTQIA+ were interviewed for this purpose.
Suggested Reading: 5 Queer People Speak About Their Journey Towards Self-Acceptance