My Indian Family Prefers The Closet

Living a Lie: The Price of Hiding My Identity in My Indian Family

LGBTQ | | , Expert Blogger
Updated On: June 1, 2024

This has to be the most frank piece I will ever write about being gay in the Indian culture, as I draw from my own reality of living with homophobia in my family.

Coming Out in an Indian Family

At 35, I wouldn’t use adjectives like painful, heartless, and other dramatic descriptions to articulate the feelings one experiences being gay and facing backlash within an Indian family.

When I was in my early 20s, my sexual preference was outed on the front page of Sunday’s most loved Indian newspaper in South Africa, the ‘Sunday Times Extra.’ I was okay with that; I felt no fear or shame about my sexuality. The news spread like wildfire across my family, causing many to rush out to purchase a copy of the paper to see for themselves the “shame” I’d brought upon my parents.

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Family Reactions

There was immediate denial of my existence from most of them, while some just laughed and others said I would change my mind at some stage. I still haven’t changed my mind. It’s been almost a decade, but sorry, folks! I’m still a proud Indian, Muslim-Hindu, queer individual. I belong to three minority identities that make up Me.

Love and Alienation

I still love my family, but I feel their love has changed. I’ve given up trying to show them I am still the same person I was before I revealed my preference for men. My family finally spoke to me two years after my outing, but there was nothing but emptiness that remains to this day. I’ve not changed; I am still their provider, more than just financially, but I realized that no matter how much money I shower on them – I am not part of this family anymore. I am as good as dead to them.

Related reading: “LGBT or otherwise, love is love” – Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil

Silence and Censorship

I’m not allowed to talk about my sexuality or mention my #mancrush or someone potentially being my life partner. The television would be tuned to another channel if any lesbian/gay content should appear.

The very word ‘gay’ struck fear that I would ‘turn’ my younger family members queer at some stage. Yes, that’s the backward train of thought that exists. God forbid if Imran Vagar appeared on television! He would be blamed for some of my homosexuality. That’s how it is; I am saying ‘is,’ as that is still how the crisis is in most Indian homes.

Am I gay or not quiz

Acceptance and Self-Love

I am not looking for pity here, I’m good – the one thing I do have is common sense.

I will never in a million years be able to change perceptions in my closeted family, but I can tell you this much: I’ve changed where my love is directed.

-to me

If you can identify with me in your Indian home and if you are shattered by emotional abuse that comes in tiny doses from family, you can change that. Be fabulous and cut the cord; that is my best advice for you. You deserve more than just the fake love that you know you are receiving.

Bye Felicia!

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