Being a gay kid is hard. Being a gay teen in India is probably even harder! As a gay teen who has been extremely content and confident about his sexuality, the most common reason why some people of the LGBT community avoided or shunned me, was my age. For some incomprehensible reason, many people (even gay people) find it strange that a kid is gay. I have been a part of the general online gay culture (mostly Orkut and Facebook), since I was 13. My primary goal – To find someone to talk to, someone who was like me, and someone who would listen. I was not confused, or scared of my sexuality. I was just alone. Isolated. And my battle was against that isolation. But my age was always a barrier. I am 17 now. My age is still a barrier.
Over short time I have seen life, the most absurd idea that I came across was that “someone who is not an adult cannot be homosexual”.
But the weirder part was that this came from many people who themselves are gay. The idea behind this seemed that since the age of consent is 18 years, there should also be a lower limit of an age to be homosexual.
I have known people who have come to terms with their sexuality only after sexual experiences, but equating one’s sexuality solely with sexual experiences had left me in an acute crisis of identity.
I didn’t need to have sex to realise what my sexuality was. I knew I liked boys, even before I knew peeing isn’t the only use of my penis. I knew I liked men, even before I realised that the society expects me to like girls.
But my acceptance of my sexuality was seen by many as a teenage perversion. The idea of a gay kid confidently discussing and vigorously trying to discover and understand his sexuality scared people, or may be worried them. The moment anyone discovered my age, they would go silent, shoo me away, keep their distance. I wanted to talk with people who I thought were like me, but I discovered that discussing sexuality with a teen is considered a taboo by many men.
Being a homosexual has always been portrayed as an adult stuff- not something kids should play with or talk about.
I have been asked many a times to “keep the gay out” of me, to stay away from gay issues and ideas till I was an adult. But how could I? How could I push away the gay boy inside me? The gay boy in my body was not a separate entity. It was me. Just the way, you couldn’t separate the taste of rice and milk in kheer, I could not separate my sexuality from who I was. It was an integrated part of my personality and my identity.
But my experiences have made me question a lot of things regarding the queer teens in India.
Where are the LGBT teens?
Anyone who suggests that gay teens do not exist or are a rarity needs to get his facts correct. I have seen, met and talked to so many boys of my age and younger who identify themselves as gay or bisexual. And the identity is strong. And I believe the teenage LGBT population of India is far, widespread and growing. With the ease of Internet availability, information is at the tip of the fingers. There is also a greater hope of acceptance today, which makes teenagers less inhibited by their own sexuality
But while the LGBT movement in India has taken a beautiful young shape, the queer teens still find a hard time identifying themselves with the community. The younger queer population finds it hard trying to head butt their way into the general LGBT community and find a space for themselves because of the prevalent idea that sexuality is in the sphere of adults. The teenagers are therefore still invisible even within the LGBT community.
I am 17 now. I have been on a quest of discovering and understanding my sexuality since the last 5-6 years. Now that I stand on the verge of the fabled adulthood that everybody talked about, I look back and try to list the things that have changed. I obviously have become more mature in body and mind. But does my transition into adulthood have any effect on my perception of my own sexuality? Not at all! I was gay when I was 10. I was gay when I was 13. Luckily enough, I am still gay.
But when it comes to gay teens, some people have asked, ‘Are we old enough to be homosexuals?’
Let me tell you. Gay teens – We exist and we are as gay as you can imagine.