There was always something about me that felt different and one day, someone helped me realize that different is okay. As a kid I liked dolls and getting dressed up in stereotypically “feminine” things. I did drag as a kid. One day I just told my mom I was going on a date with a guy and she told me to be safe. I then changed my interest to men on Facebook and everyone knew, but no one really cared. I was just treated like normal, which was nice. I never felt the need to tell them anything and they never felt the need to discuss it with me. I understand not everyone is as lucky, and maybe some families do need to be sat down and told what’s what. But I also feel like straight people don’t need to come out, people of the LGBTQ+ community shouldn’t need to either if they don’t want to.
But life hasn’t always been that easy for me. I was bullied as a child – for my complexion, my style, my language & what not. I used to be so insecure about my voice since as a kid I’d gotten bullied because of the way I sounded. When I was younger, being gay felt wrong. I was teased for hanging out with girls, my mannerism was mocked. I’ve also experienced anti-black racism.
When I came out as gay in high school, it was hard. I was bullied in school for being openly gay. I got called every name imaginable in school. There’s nothing special about a gay child being bullied or discriminated against because they are gay. Majority of kids in high school go through bullying and discrimination for many other reasons. Compulsory LGBT teaching in schools can be a lifesaver. Gay or not. I was never able to make friends as a kid because I was too feminine for the boys and too boyish for the girls. It causes me to fear rejection for being myself, and the few friends I lost when I came out still massively hurt. They have talked behind my back, but it never affected me, and I’m a better person because of it. To every person who got bullied, harassed, made fun of or ashamed for being gay, today I’m fighting for you.
India decriminalised gay sex in September 2018 and it’s a huge step towards making the country more accepting towards LGBT people, but they still don’t have any civil rights. I was trolled. Today I’m proud. No matter who you identify yourself as- gay, lesbian, or trans, no matter your race, you are human. You should be proud of yourself for still trying, for not giving up. However bullying, homophobic slurs, physical and sexual assault, rejection by family members, getting kicked out of the job, etc still persists. India still has a long way to go! It is not the end of the road but just the beginning. It’s time India abolishes this from it’s mentality too. Don’t forget that not only is this a celebration but also a political movement to claim our space and our seat at the table. Hope the CJI also goes into the aspect of same sex marriage & adoption norms. One year of not being a potential criminal in my country has felt good. I think being gay is a blessing, and it’s something I am thankful for every single day.
As a LGBT youth counsellor I spent many days & nights talking with kids coming out to themselves, their families, and the world. As a counsellor what bothered me was when parents would support their criminal child while dismissing their LGBTQ child. I’ve seen parents show up to a murder trail every day & that same parent wouldn’t show up to counselling session with their LGBTQ child. If you have an LGBTQ son or daughter, they were born this way. Embrace them with love and acceptance. Help them reach their dreams and support who they are. There is nothing wrong.
The LGBT community suffers from a disproportionate rate of mental health problems compared to the population as a whole. People in the LGBTQ community have to face so much hate and discrimination and some of us end up believing that we are worthless. Family issues of acceptance can lead to isolation, loneliness & depression. I’m going to write about my experience and my journey with depression. I’m hoping it will help others in the same boat. Being gay is not nasty or sinful. It’s not something to be ashamed of. Too many cases of depression and suicide have come from a lack of acceptance towards the gay community.
I was raped in high school and when I confided in some one about it they outed me to the whole school. I then proceeded to get assaulted and bullied because of it. When someone reported it to the Vice Principal, he invited me to his office to tell me it was my fault because I’m gay . I was essentially bullied by my entire class (minus a handful of friends) and my maths teacher joined in. He pulled my hair, threw my work on the floor and laughed at me. He also told my parents I should go down to a lower class level as I wasn’t very bright. I never talked about this before, but I feel like I should share it, maybe it gives people hope.
I experienced a lot of bullying growing up. I contemplated suicide but the rope broke. Guess it wasn’t my time so I suffered through with depression for years. The bullying led me to fall into depression, with no support group, I had thoughts of suicide and almost ended my life 3 times. I’ve been to therapy for over 2 years now due to depression and severe anxiety, but just today my therapist told me that I don’t need therapy anymore.
My anxiety used to be so bad that I couldn’t go to work for half a year in 2019. I would cry every day, do nothing but stay in bed and think about how useless everything is. I got at least 3 panic attacks a day. It was horrible. I couldn’t do anything. My anxiety was worse than my depression, but depression still existed and made me feel so horrible. I thought I was the most horrible person, everyone hated me and I didn’t deserve being happy. I wanted everything to end so badly, because I saw the world as dark and pointless. I didn’t see myself having a good future. It took years for me to get better. I fought a lot, did many things to overcome my fears. Therapy helped me so much. It helped me change the way I think about myself and the world. So now, 2 years later I’m here and genuinely happy with how things are. And I know, I already went through the worst, things can only get better from now on.
The damage caused by the homophobia and transphobia of others leads to alcohol and drug abuse, and even suicide. That’s why the fight isn’t over. I don’t suffer from depression anymore, my anxiety is pretty much gone as well. I haven’t had a panic attack in over half a year now. I did it. I’m so much better now. I hope this gives you hope that one day, you can do it too. Things will get better. Now that I’m better I can actually talk about this. I want to give you hope.
Please know, things will get better. I used to think it would be better to just leave, because nothing had a point. But that’s not the case. Life is amazing. There’s so much to see and do. So many people to meet and love. Your life is so incredibly precious. Believe in yourself, love yourself and fight those demons that tell you you’re worthless. You’re not. You’re amazing. The support from complete strangers has been overwhelming. My entire career is dedicated to empowering others, self love and acceptance.
Parental tears that reject LGBT children set up a pathway to depression & suicide. Family acceptance among LGBT youth may be a protective factor against depression, substance use, and suicide. Let’s change the narrative. Long before they have any real understanding of what it means, LGBT children have already been instilled with the belief that to be gay or lesbian is something unnatural & shameful; which can lead to anxiety, depression & even suicide. Make bullying at school a criminal offence. It’s causing depression & suicide. If someone bullied doesn’t commit suicide, it can still cause lifelong problems such as: depression, anxiety, drug abuse, and alcoholism just to name a few. Social disorders and low self esteem are also common. Bullying is harmful and we need to stop brushing it under the rug. Bullied, assaulted, abused, I saw no way out, self harm and suicide attempts followed. I struggled with anxiety & depression and a ton of misdiagnoses over the years, but if I’d died two years ago, I would have missed out on so many wonderful things.
Courage, hope, compassion and understanding is what we must stand for in 2020. We all have a story and a battle we do not share. The more I advocate for Mental Health Awareness, the more I realize how important it is to share my personal experience with depression and the pain that it entails. Telling your story is important! Although it’s incredibly hard, someone out there will relate and can see hope and inspiration from you and your story. I look forward to the day when I get to stand on stage and tell my story under my real name, sparing no detail.