What is bisexuality? Attraction towards two different genders. Simple enough. Yes? Good. Now, let’s further explore bisexuality in all its colors. See how it realises in the physical realm. With Dipalie Mehta, here’s an attempt to answer questions of the Hows. How do we perceive by bisexuality in India? How does it play out in daily life? And how much impact does sexuality really have on one’s life?
Many people believe that sexuality must not interfere with your life outside. And that it is restricted to what people to choose to do in their bedrooms. Is this really true? Are we simply asking for legalisation of sex between people of the same sex? Does your sexuality have no influence on what happens outside your bedroom door?
This is an attempt to understand, even if it is from a single perspective, what sexuality means to people. And since it is Bisexual Awareness Week, here is a voice and a story from Dipalie Mehta that sheds a brighter light on bisexuality.
Dipalie Mehta is Marketing & Promotions Manager at The Delta App. Before which she was a Kitchen Executive at Masala Library. And much before that, she was a Creative Strategist at The Northstar Consultancy. She also worked as an Assistant Manager for TechMagnate. She even freelanced as a Theatre Instructor, and as a content writer for Snapdeal.
With a list so long, you probably can see why her bisexuality would come almost at the end of her line of titles. This has nothing to do with how pivotal her orientation has been in her life. Her sexual identity has been the root cause of the many changes that she has actively had to choose. This has altered her career, family, and who she is as a person today.
So, Dipalie, let’s start from the beginning.
What made you realise you were bisexual?
Books. I used to read a lot as a child and felt attracted to characters irrespective of their gender. This translated into a real-life attraction to people of all genders. As I grew up I realised that I’m attracted to all genders except straight cisgender men. Since Bisexuality is defined as attraction to two or more genders but not all, I started identifying as Bisexual.
The next obvious question but an elemental one. How did you come out to your parents, and how did they react?
I haven’t come out to my father. My mother started with thinking/hoping it’s a phase but is slowly coming around to accepting my queer identity.
How has this changed your life?
I have a slightly strained relationship with my mother, but coming out has given me a lot of strength to stand up for myself and for others.
When a queer person comes out to their family, their family’s journey begins, my advice is to treat them with patience and love. That’s what I am doing. I would also advice people to think carefully about their safety before they come out to their parents. I came out only after I was financially independent and had gotten the mental health help I needed to be able to handle any kind of reaction.
You have clearly had a very interesting journey in your career. How did that happen? Why did you decide to switch from being a Chef to being a Marketing Manager?
I just went with the flow I guess, I love new experiences and hence grabbed a chance at every new organisation/career opportunity that came my way. The only reason I switched back to marketing from hospitality was that The Delta App was dedicated to the Indian queer community. I wanted to use my talents to make the country a better place for the LGBTQIA+ community and hence the switch.
But did your clients change their behaviour around you? Do they look at you or treat you differently when you identify as a bisexual?
There are always some curious questions, usually respectful sometimes inappropriate. But yes, my sexuality does affect the behaviour of some (not most or all) people around me. There have been a few more uncomfortable conversations but I’ve tried to handle them in a way that discourages offensive behaviour in the future. I shouldn’t have to, but it happens.
And, you have a partner, how did you meet her? How do you envision your future with her?
I met her through a common friend at his party. And we have been together for two years now. We see a happy married life, with two kids and four dogs. We dream of building a beautiful, loving family together and want to raise our kids to be empathetic, respectful and feminist people.
Sexuality and gender might not seem like a big issue to most heterosexuals.
This is because nobody ever asks them why they perform their gender and choose their partners the way they do. Sexuality and Gender might not have anything to do with how you work and the skills you have. Why does sexuality even come up within the workspace?
Think about it like this, how many talk about your partners on a regular basis. How many discuss about someone cute they saw or someone who hit on them? Roughly count the number of colleagues who know your relationship status. Now, think about it as a homosexual, a bisexual, as a transgender, as a queer person.
This is not to say that this is the only reason why a place must become more LGBTQ+ friendly. It is just an example, a familiar situation.
There’s a simple solution to this. Include LGBTQ+ people in the workplace.
How do you think we can begin to include more people from LGBTQ+ especially the trans people into the field of work? Do you think Marketing and Client Servicing poses any barriers that we should be battling right now?
All industries face a dearth of proper DnI (Diversity and Inclusivity) initiatives. Organisations like Working With Pride have cropped up to bridge that gap and that is very good news. The first step is making your workplace an inclusive and safe space for all minorities.
What are your views on FSOG being an enabling platform for the LGBTQ+ community in India?
I’ve always been a fan, FSOG has been advocating queer rights since before the reading down of section 377. I see many more milestones in your future and would love to see more personal Indian queer stories. But all my love to Shubham and team. 💜
And Finally, what is your life Mantra?
Unconditional Self-love is the only route to happiness.
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