Coming Out of the Closet

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Agnivo Niyogi shares his experience of coming out to friends

“Coming Out” is a dreaded word in every gay’s dictionary. Whenever we meet someone from our community, we ask: “Are you out to your parents?” Articles are written in newspapers. Magazines devote pages to coming out issues! It definitely is a big deal for us.

I always believed, and still believe that we don’t need to “come out”. Why do we need to scream to the world about our preferences? Does a guy having the “hots” for a girl need to do so? Why us? In the same breath I thought why not? Why should my friends think I love girls when I don’t? Why would my Ma spend harrowing times searching for a bride for me? Isn’t it imperative that everyone should know the “truth” about me?

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This dilemma remained with me for the first two decades of my life. I was confused, scared and puzzled. One half of me wanted to scream from the roof top about my sexuality, the other stopped me due to social apprehensions.

Cut to 2007. It was February. We were having an adda. Or was it truth or dare? We were all talking about our love lives; I had lied to everyone that day about having a crush on a school mate who belonged to the fairer sex. That day when I came back home, I was ridden by guilt! I felt I committed a crime. I decided I would one day “come out” to these people. And I would make sure they would not have problems with my preferences.

March 7 2007: I had gone to Bhamuu’s home to study together for our upcoming examinations at college. It was quite natural. I visited his house very often, he was the one with whom I spent most of my waking hours chatting or hogging or just “sharing the silence”. On countless occasions before, I had tried to talk to him about my sexuality. But that fear of losing a friend in him kept me away from doing that task. I don’t know what gave me the strength that day; I confessed my love for him “as a matter of fact” while studying. He was shocked, that was obvious. But he did not let that ruin our friendship. Bham (and in due course of time others) never had any issue with my sexuality. It seems I had underestimated my friends. And I am proud of them.

I do not think post coming out anyone ever scorned me or ridiculed me for my choices. Rather we always had our own “personal” jokes about my liking for men. Those are and will always be sweet memories for me.

People suspected my gaiety though. My extreme intimacy with Bham, my fathomless sympathies for victims of homophobic violence, my “non participation” in discussion about girls made my friends suspicious of ”foul play”. Even after coming out to them, some were confused about me. On one hand they had Agnivo – the enthusiastic physiopal who was always there to help; and on the other they had Agnivo – self proclaimed homosexual. As Sumitash wrote in my autograph diary: “I stood there as a doubting dimwit”. Sayan and Sumitash had their reasons to be hesitant. I never hid my likeness for them. But again in Sumitash’s words: “Repeated assurances from many brought the wit back to my head and drove away all clouds of doubt”.

History repeated itself for me. I graduated and got admitted to M.Sc. I was in a new class. New surroundings, new classmates, new life. I was yet again apprehensive. I was so habituated to my openness in Presidency, I was clueless how would I manage to keep my sexuality hidden? Physiopals warned me against coming out to these new people because most of them were (are) homophobic. I heeded their advice, retreated into my own small shell. But then God had other plans for me. Abhishek came into my life. My bestest friend, someone who became inevitable for me in a very short span of time. And that “guilt bug” started disturbing me. I felt I was keeping a part of me hidden from him. And yet again, I confessed to him during a chat session on the phone. It was 27 November 2008. My second “coming out” day.

People say coming out is a big deal. It has many stages: Coming out to parents and relatives, coming out to friends, coming out to the world out there. According to this categorization I guess I qualify for the second one. I am not sure when I will come out to my parents and my family. Definitely I will. Someday I have to. But till then I do not mind keeping this little secret from them. As for the last part, my blogs, tweets and articles in Gaylaxy are enough for any intelligent man to guess that I am gay. I do not want to go from pillar to post to tell them about my gaiety!