If you are wondering what it takes to accept your sexuality, then yes it is something much more than just the realisation of your sexual feelings. There are several steps stairs that you have to take before reaching that final acceptance of one’s self. Often than not, it involves a period of denial within, rejection of your truth, overwhelming nuances and continuous anxiety. Yet, hopefully, a period of acceptance will follow these feelings of stress and fear.
This emotional rollercoaster, where people accept one’s sexuality comes with periods of highs filled with confidence and a desire to come out of the closet, followed by periods of lows filled with confusion and fear. The overall process could be overwhelming and you should always take your mental health as a priority. Acceptance of one’s sexuality leads to an increase in self-esteem and self-confidence. But yet before coming out to others make sure you completely understand your feelings.
TW: This article contains talk of suicide and self-harm. Readers’ discretion is advised.
This Pride Month, we spoke to some folks from the LGBTQIA+ community, to find out how they accept their sexuality.
An artist who graduated from IIT Guwahati in Biotechnology, Smitin talks about his experience of accepting their sexuality as a long struggle. While talking to SheThePeople, Smitin said, “It was a long struggle, I would say. I knew from childhood that I am different in that sense, but it took me 7 years to accept that to myself.” The process of accepting your sexuality could be a really long one, especially in a conservative country like India.
Accepting Your Sexuality: The Journey
For some it comes with tears and rejection, for others, it comes eventually sooner or later in their life. An engineering student, Pulkit Mishra told us about his journey of self-acceptance. “You know I had some flings with boys while growing up. So, at that time, I didn’t think it is sexuality. I only told myself that it’s a bad habit and I will stop it one day,” Pulkit said. He then told us how the realisation hit him hard and for some period he lived in denial and started having relationships with girls.
The stigma in our society towards anything other than what fits into the box is far-fetched. Men fit into certain boxes, while women have others. But if someone doesn’t intend to or perhaps wants to fit into either they are ostracized.
Battling the Stigma
“My teachers used to call me chakka. I was harassed in a boy’s hostel. All of it was because I used to express myself differently from other boys. They had no idea about my sexuality,” said Suraj while taking us back on their journey of accepting their sexuality. They further added, “It was in 11th class, I found out I am Gay as I got internet. Before that, I was only aware that I am attracted to other boys.” For, Suraj the journey was not smooth, but they made it through while connecting with other people from the LGBTQIA+ community.
Rejecting and believing
Utkarsh, who called themselves an open book now, once used to be a very different person. As they said, “I was in 8th class when I first asked my father ‘what is gay’ and his reply, was the reason, I lived in denial till 2017. It was just denial and huge denial.” Utkarsh while very enthusiastically mentioning their journey told us that before accepting their sexuality, it was a battle between rejecting and believing. As they quote, “For once I will believe in who I am and when I told people, I went back to denial, because of their reaction. I was like, this person couldn’t be me.”
Need for safe space
The need for safe space couldn’t be overlooked even when you are only accepting your sexuality to yourself. A budding illustrator from IP university, Manjishtha talked to us about her journey of self-acceptance. She remarked, “It was in 12th class I came out to myself, so, like, you know, this is ‘Who I Am’.”
The journey of yours could be any way around, from denial to fear, from anxiety to overwhelming. But remember your identity is a part of you, and understanding yourself can be a big and daunting experience. If today is not the right time, tomorrow might be and even if tomorrow isn’t you still have all the time in the world to figure things out at your own pace.
So, be kind to yourself, and no matter how difficult or confusing you feel at any point along the way, be patient because eventually, you will find what you’re looking for.
Views are not subjugated in any way. People from the LGBTQIA+ were interviewed for this purpose.