What everyone should learn from the LGBTQIA+ community this pride month.

We are humans and since life is what it is, we are messed up beings and it’s crazy how we survive each day. From our birth till we die we constantly face new challenges and face hardships. Sometimes it breaks us and makes us but sometimes it leaves us tormented, traumatized. But a beautiful thing about life is it’s always telling you something. There’s beauty in all forms and as cliché as it may sound that’s what it is.

So, here’s what I’ve learned as an Indian cisgender gay man from all the beautiful and different people in the LGBTQIA+ community.

There’s beauty in everything. One just needs an open outlook.

The thing about this community is that it’s diverse. Not all people are the same. Some are masculine, some are feminine, some are both. Some are wild and free, some are shy and reserved. Some are vibrant unicorns and some are monochrome Goths. Some fight and argue and some let others fight and argue for them. Some love sex a lot, some don’t like sex at all. Some love being with one partner, some love being in an open relationship, some found love at 20 and some are still looking at 50. Some are young and old, some are old but still young.

If you ask a conservative person who they like among these people of course they’ll choose someone who represents a straight relationship. Probably a cisgender bisexual muscular man married to a cisgender heterosexual petite woman. But that doesn’t validate anything. Their outlook doesn’t define or validate what’s right and what’s wrong. If you ask the same question to a bird or a crocodile, who’s unaware of the rules of human society, they’ll probably find everyone beautiful. And that’s how it should be.

Last night, I was checking out Jwan Yosef’s Instagram account and he had this picture of a big stone uploaded. I spent some time looking at that beige rock wondering how this simple conglomerate of sand particles could be so meaningful and artistic. And that’s when I realised! In the art world, there’s no good art or bad art. Everything has beauty. And we should use the same outlook for humans too.

There is strength in truth.

Coming out has always been a monumental moment in the life of all people in the LGBTQIA+ community. After days, if not years, of figuring things out and finally finding the courage to say the magical words to their loved ones brings so many emotions out. Many cry. Many celebrate. It’s like a big boulder is lifted off your chest that you never knew you had.

But that’s not it. Coming out isn’t just limited to sexualities and gender. It transpires many aspects of human life. As the movie Love, Simon noted, one telling their parents their true passion in career could be coming out, one being truthful about their mistakes could be coming out. I’d say one disclosing they’ve been cheating on their partner could be coming out. One being real about the relationship not working could be coming out.

I have this policy of honesty and I also suggest it when people come to me for advice. If it isn’t about career and is costing the well being of their loved ones, I tell them upfront to pull off the bandaid and tell the truth. The next day, they come to me and say “Hey, it worked out. I didn’t even have to tell them the truth. I just twisted the story.” And i just say, “well you didn’t solve the problem, you settled it. You compromised.” I don’t think not being honest keeps any quality in relationships. All my life I’ve strived for quality so much that it boggles me that other people don’t have the same standards. This teaches a big lesson that honesty is indeed the best policy.

Life is all about learning the right lessons.

We all complain a lot. We tell our friends, we talk about it on girls’ night outs, we talk about it in gyms and on Instagram about how all men are the same, all women cheat, all men want the same thing, all women want money, how you always find bad and hurtful people, how you always trust someone and they fail you, how you’re scared to trust another person and how being a good person costed you your mental health. But we miss the point. You’re gonna keep making the same mistake in maths unless you just learn the right formula and apply it!

I came out as gay in 2018 to My Aunt. Being a conservative person she didn’t know anything about what to say and what to do. So she told around. She told everyone in my joint family but my parents. The following year, I came out to them and they low-key kicked me out of their house. I stayed at the Aunts and I decided to find a job and be independent. I was in survival mode for good 5 months and then decided to be the sailor of my life. It was 2020 when I learned the right lesson. Yes, being honest is good. But also be clever. Of course, at this point in queer history, coming out is essential but are the people aware? Is it essential to come out when you know we live in India and they can act out of fear and do something irrational? What if some hateful conservative neighbours find out and they decide to attack me? If it isn’t about people then it isn’t essential that they know! And one should always be clever about this.
That’s the valuable lesson I learned. Make no mistake though. I chose my words very carefully and it doesn’t contradict anything that I said in the previous point. Of course, coming out is about the respective person but cheating on your partner is about your partner too. Be clever. Don’t be delusional. Careful reasoning would tell you easily what’s about you and what’s about other people.

It’s essential that you make mistakes and learn the right lesson. Not any lesson. The right lesson! Because the same toxic people would keep entering in your life if you don’t set boundaries, the boundaries of right lessons.

Always fight for yourself.

Humans are spiritual beings. They thrive when they communicate, relate with each other and feel like they are part of a group. This gives us a sense of belonging. We all know that our family would always be there for us, our friends would be there for us and they come through. They help you through hard times and up you. But I believe, and a lot of self help books would back me up on this, that only you can really help yourself.

Pride parades began from Stonewall riot in 1969 and since then gay, bisexual, trans men women and people have been fighting for their basic rights till this very point in time. Of course they faced many setbacks and hatred but they kept fighting. When the times were hard, it was rare that a politician supported them. But they kept going on. For themselves. For their people.

If you believe in something, if you know where you should direct your life, if you feel something is right for you or even wrong for you and other people seem to disagree, always trust your instincts. And trust hard. Let the sense of power and force come from within you and fight for what you believe what’s right for you.

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