Unmasking the Rainbow - A Series

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Through 'Unmasking the Rainbow', I hope to share the stories of the LGBTQ+ community in a cultural and communal context.

A Conversation with @Wild_Wisteria

As a fellow Indian, I know that our society can be sooo hetero normative, so how did you realize that you are bisexual / might not be straight?

There's no denying the fact that heteronormativity is embedded into our society to the point where queer people fear embracing something as simple as their identity.

I was about 13 when it first occurred to me that I might not be straight/heterosexual, however at the time I wasn't sure what I identified with, the reason being I didn't know much about the community itself.

It was something I just couldn't sweep under the mat, and not bother about. I was caught in a state of dilemma, I was ashamed of myself as if I had committed an atrocity.

I find that feeling to be inescapable, even now.

When you hear words like gay, lesbian etc. being used as slurs and insults rather than to respectfully refer to someone's sexual orientation you immediately begin to think that something is wrong with you.

But that changed as soon as I came across social media forums that worked specifically for the LGBTQIA+ community.

I started educating myself upon the matter by reading articles,searching for posts and accounts that catered to the LGBTQIA+ community and soon enough I had a realisation that I identified as bisexual.

Reading about the stigma that surrounds the community, internalised judgement and hate, along with the plight of queer people around the world was surely deterring but it has made me more tolerant and determined if anything else.

In stories from ancient India, etc. there are many LGBTQIA+ individuals, and it seems that Indian society was a lot more accepting in the past. However, with invasions and colonialism, this changed. How deep rooted do you think that stigma might be? Do you think that we will be able to subvert the current hetero normative system soon?

India is a nation that is deeply connected to its roots, as time and again we're reminded of our rich heritage and diversity. The sacred texts and ancient epics are brought up to entertain various moral, religious and educational perspectives.

That being said, I fail to understand how a country wherein homosexuality has been found in the ancient sacred texts and is portrayed in architectural, literary (especially the mythological literature wherein many dieties are depicted to have acquired androgynous and transgender/intersex forms) and artistic works can be blatantly phobic of the LGBTQIA+ community.

I mean we have a concrete evidence of existence of homosexuality in ancient India (quite literally! Look up the sculptures of Khajaraho Temple and you'll understand.) Similarly in the medieval period (during the reign of Mughal Empire) we can see traces of homosexual relations through the manuscripts and texts that date back to the era.

However with the arrival of colonialist forces (specifically British colonisation) homosexuality and homosexual activities were claimed to be "against the order nature" followed by penalisation of the same in 1800s. This resulted in the elevation of social stigma and cruel disapproval.

The criminalisation was recently scrapped off in the year 2019 thus legalising homosexuality in India. This comes across as a considerably massive achievement and an important step towards eradicating systemic discrimination that is practiced against the LGBTQIA+ community.

In spite of this, the social ignominy still persists. Often queer people are disowned by their families, forced to take to the streets, are bashed for their choices; they're even prohibited from residing in certain places and in the worst case scenario become the victims of sexual and physical violence.

Seeing the wave of activism that is sweeping the nation as well as the world, an ultimate favourable change is bound to happen. I strongly believe that with the active inputs (particularly by the youth) we'll be able to get rid of the shackles that bind the LGBTQIA+ community to a life of dysphoria and alienation.

Slowly but surely we're moving towards an inclusive society.
Thank you so much @Wild_wisteria for taking a part in this conversation.

As an Indian bisexual too, I want to highlight a recent statement made by the Indian government against the legalization of same-sex marriage.

"cannot include a public right in the nature of recognition of same sex marriage and thereby legitimising a particular human conduct"

Reading this statement was so disheartening because a significant part of my identity has been reduced to "a particular human conduct" that should not be accepted or legitimised. And it sucks.

What hurts more is knowing that most people in my country agree with it.

We need change, and it's coming about, it surely is. But I can't help but wish it was happening faster.


The purpose of this series is to empower LGBTQIA+ individuals to share their stories. To participate in this series, and share your stories, please message me here on WHI, and I will get back to you with a few questions.

Thank you for reading ☁️️

- D

see some more of my articles here :)
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