Searching For The Land Over The Rainbow

rainbow over ocean

Even though he has moved to America to live an open life, Bharathi writes that he loves the small town he grew up in but cannot return back and live an honest life there

I am sure every gay person has heard of Judy Garland’s Somewhere over the rainbow– the gay anthem of all time. Though it was sung in 1939, it is still our anthem because it talks about a magical and mystical land.

Somewhere over the rainbow there is a land that I heard of once in a lullaby.

Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue and the dreams that you dared to dream – really do come true.

We all are searching for that land over the rainbow not realizing that we are being driven to exile from our own mother lands.

It pains me to be an outsider. It pains me that my own family will never accept me for who I am. It pains me to think that I can never return to the place I was born and raised. The small town where I grew up and spent most of my life is out of bounds to me. The place which I still call home will never be a home for me because of who I am. I still resent those small minded people who care mostly about what others think rather than living happily. It pains me to think that because of those people I will never be back home.

The truth is I still love that small town, the town where I grew up. That is where my childhood is. Sure, I do wish I was born in a much progressive place where I did not have to hide who I was. But even beyond all that resentment that small town is my town. I love those streets where I can walk even with my eyes closed.

My family is never going to accept me. But before I come out I want to show them the world is changing. May be in my small town I might never live with dignity but there are lots of places in this world where I can be respected, have a family and be happy. I so wish I didn’t have to show them a strange foreign land. I will be in a new city where I may never find another soul to show love and compassion like my family. But I can be myself, part of a crowd, not the different one anymore. I won’t have to look over my shoulders every time I walk to see if there is a familiar face that might recognize me.

It pains me to think that someday in the near future, I will be so afraid to even go out and be in those streets where I played, where I spent my entire life. Yes it was hard and yes it was difficult growing up feeling like the only different person in the world. As much as I resent it I call that town my home. That small town taught me everything and made me who I am today.

I know even if I marry the love of my life legally here in America, my relationship has no legal standing in my own country and my town. My kids might never be able to walk those same streets where I grew up and that won’t be because of choice but by compulsion of an ignorant intolerant society which wants to deny people happiness.

And that is what we are seeing happening in France. Even though the government has passed marriage equality, a few have succeeded in harvesting on the people’s despair over the ruling government’s failure to control the economy and channeled it into a fight against same sex marriage. It’s is just a matter of time before the people see same sex weddings, that they will be ashamed of their fight. In New Zealand when the government legalized same sex marriage, the people watching it broke into a traditional song about love and freedom. It was a poignant moment compared to France.

Even though we don’t understand their language, the song moves us to tears. Because in the end, all of this is about legalizing love and making sure that the next generation of kids can live and walk in the streets of the small towns where their parents lived and fought for their rights. This fight is all about living a normal life where we won’t be chased out of the towns and streets where we lived our whole life to strange countries and cities – just so we can marry the person we love.

It is happening all over the world and it will happen someday even in my own India. Until then we fight so that the land where we can live happily is not ‘over the rainbow’ but at our own small towns.

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