By Niharika Gaur
I had the opportunity to share an extensive conversation with Abhiram Sridhar, 26, who openly identifies himself as a gay male. He was born and brought up in the heart of Bangalore- Indiranagar. He considers himself to be a true Bengalurean.
Following his passion for cooking, he has recently opened a catering service in North Bangalore after pursuing Engineering. Being a self-made man, Abhiram definitely had humble beginnings from his school life itself.
“Since my school days I was very soft, effeminate and introvert. The exact kind of person that people would not find hard to dominate. A kind of an introvert a lot of seniors would bully.”
He went on to describe the cons of the same docile attitude.
“I remember this instance in particular where one of the 10th graders took advantage of me when I was in grade 7. I went through a terrible time where I was forced to have sex with this guy and it was my first ever anal intercourse. It was torture. I was bleeding and in tremendous pain for days after.”
Many people live under the light that females are the only ones affected by rape. According to a studies, 71% of the males who are raped are under 18 years age. Many people believe that these victims are in just jails, prisons or hostels. But these instances are also recorded in pubs, nightclubs or streets. Sodomy does exist. We fail to comprehend that males are just as likely to be subjected to sexual
Though, he came to terms with his sexuality early on, his apparent future seemed to puzzle him. The horrors of such a situation had inevitably forced him to fall prey to a very abject malicious thought.
“I never knew that two men can love each other and fall in love, get married and start a family.”
After he left his school, he moved back to the centre of Bangalore.
I ask him further to tell of his experiences with the LGBT community in Bangalore. A smile appears on his face when he recounts the story of his days of discovering the unearthed community by cruising in Cubbon Park.
“After leaving the isolated campus located in the outskirts of Bangalore, I realised I was not the only one. There were a lot more people like me. Gradually, I have come to realise that at the end of the day all we want to have is a partner to share our lives with. It becomes no one’s business to put a limitation on the same”
Today, Abhiram’s parents stand by him through thick and thin but the support didn’t come easy.
“Before I came out to my parents, they had just one notion in their heads about homosexuals: that if one is gay, one is a Hijra (transgender) and further resorts to begging on the streets.”
This unawareness about alternative sexuality can be attributed to ignorance and lack of sex education. Many people in India are oblivious to alternative sexualities. Hence, they resort to being belligerent.
“’My parents were very unsupportive at first. They even took me to a psychologist who said that I needed proper attention, counselling session, shock treatments and even heavy doses of medicine to do away with this ‘Psychological’ issue”.
The real problem he asserted was denial.
“How can my son be gay? We live in a heteronormative society and everyone has to be straight, have children and the other norms the society breathes as the convention.”
Gradually, this denial turned into acceptance when ignorance was done away with.
“Internet helped a lot. I would sit with my parents and educate them about various sexualities. I had a lot of friends who would counsel my parents about the same, too. Knowing the community properly, they have come to be more accepting of the same.”
Lack of empathy comes from lack of knowledge. This becomes the worst cause for indifference.
“We need awareness. Bangalore Pride is trying to achieve that. It is really unfortunate how the struggle is not even recognised. People have starting taking everything so lightly. For them, going through a gay pride is a question of how good you look, what kind of clothes you wear and snapchatting.”
America had struggled for years. Last year in June was the time when gay marriage was legalised.
“India still needs to go a long way in even getting a proportion of the same. The real meaning of ‘the Pride walks’ is the struggle. We already have an example. We need to head towards that way. “