Disclaimer: Names changed for security reasons.
My mom found out that I was a lesbian when she went through my drawers in the room. I had a note written to my girl crush. I did not know for how long she knew before asking me. Over a call, my mother asked me if I had anything to tell her and when she explained why she was asking, I screamed and threw my phone across the room. My mother liked to pretend that I am not gay but she gets furious when I gently remind her. She did agree that it is my life and I had to live it the way it makes me happy. She also did not want any of the family members to know about my sexuality.
There has always been something that has drawn me towards women. Long before I knew the words associated with it, I understood what it felt like. I wore my identity with pride, without shying away from it. My home was the only place where I had to hide a part of me. Like in most conservative families, there came a time where my parents started looking out for suitors to take my hand in marriage. Just when I had run out of excuses to ‘reject’ yet another candidate, my parents decided to get to know me a little better. They not only sat me down to have ‘the talk’ and listened to what I have to say, but they hired detectives. Eventually, the cat was out of the bag and I told them that I was in love with a girl and would always love women and marry a woman. My parents tried to ‘convert’ me with comforting words, threats to my safety and that of my then-girlfriend. They tried with emotional blackmail and multiple therapy sessions. There was also an instance where I was sent abroad on a holiday only to have my passport taken away from me, while the cops were sent to my girlfriend’s house to threaten her. Being stranded in a foreign country, I had to rely on my best friend in Mumbai to help me sort out the situation. The continuous family pressure and mental harassment by the cops who had been paid off eventually took a toll on our relationship and we decided to split ways. Finally, after more than a year of trying to convince my parents that my sexual orientation was not a ‘disease’, a ‘choice’, or an ‘influence’, I had to get a little more aggressive. I threatened to talk to the media and leave my home to lead a separate life. That’s when my parents conceded on two conditions: First, I could only work for the family business, which, by extension, meant I could no longer work with my best friend organizing LGBT events. Second, no girls would be allowed in the house. Over the last five years, there has been a slow yet steady progress in the right direction. My younger sister who I came out to way before my parents has been by my side throughout.