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I'm bisexual. It is difficult for both straight and gay people to understand or accept this. This creates many problems of coming out as a bisexual that others can't fathom.
I’m bisexual. It is difficult for both straight and gay people to understand or accept this. This creates many problems of coming out as a bisexual that others can’t fathom.
Five years ago, I accepted that I am bisexual, after a year long struggle of coming to terms with the fact that while I was in a long-distance relationship with my boy best friend from school, I was also falling for this really committed-to-theatre girl at my college.
I had spent hours observing her during our theatre practice. I had wondered more often than not – “What is it about her that I cannot take my eyes off her?” It wasn’t how she looked. It was how she looked at and perceived things around her. A year later when she got involved with a guy and my heart was crushed, I began to acknowledge that I, the girl with a history of amazing romances and unexplained break ups, am bisexual.
When I introduce the story of bisexuality in this manner, people often ask me, “are you sure you’re not bicurious, because there was no… sexual stuff… you know?”
At 15 when I fell in love with a guy, not a single person asked me, “Are you sure you are straight, nothing sexual happened between the two of you, you know?” That’s exactly how ridiculous the whole bicurious thing is. I wasn’t looking to be the girl who was cool enough to make out with another girl for an evening, to entertain herself and her friends. I was falling in love.
Initially, I struggled to accept my sexuality because I didn’t have the knowledge of it (the first question was – am I gay?). Believe me when I say, people around me live on the basis of assumptions and lack of knowledge, and I was no different. When I did accept it, I let my closest friends know. The concept of coming out as queer didn’t exist in my mind’s dictionary back then. It was simple: I know you’re straight so I am just letting you know that I am bisexual.
It was after I told people about my bisexuality that I realised the importance of coming out.
I had assumed that coming out as queer is a huge step for people because they openly accept who they are. Later, I got to know that it is a process by which the queer community says, “we are queer and we are ready to confront your little conservative closed mind and perhaps even educate you a little.” This is how I have begun to see the process of coming out.
When I informed my then boyfriend, I was guilty of loving two persons at the same time. For me, the entire idea of one love at a time was falling apart and I didn’t know how to explain it without a sense of betrayal. I did fall in love with a girl and I still loved him.
He was supportive. He didn’t call it cheating when I did get involved with her later. I did. He tried to tell me that I am wired to love two people at the same time. I told him, but that doesn’t validate cheating. I entered another turmoil – was it really not cheating?
Did my bisexuality give me the social license for what straight people are ‘deprived’ of? It was only later that I realised that he didn’t see it as cheating because well, girl-on-girl action! That had enraged me. I took my time to explain that bisexuality isn’t just a man’s fantasy.
My friends in hostel were suddenly scared that I will rape them. They didn’t use the actual words, but they didn’t need to. I could see it in their eyes, even if they didn’t mean to seem so insensitive. Those girls began pulling themselves away, with a joke, “Who knows, you might be attracted to me!”
I looked at them, shocked. Again, I took time to explain to them, “You’re straight but you don’t want to be with every and any guy. So even though I am bi, it doesn’t mean I want to be with you or everyone in this hostel.” Yet, more often than not, I got the reaction, “Kya pata! (Who knows!)” The hugs that I needed to go through bad patches were suddenly questioned, “Do you like hugging me because you are bi?” Somehow these questions were just one-way. And, that was how I began losing friends.
Finally, there was my circle in college. There were no comments or questions, just acceptance. We joked about how others had begun to see me and somehow, that’s where I found home. It didn’t last long. I was caught in a complex story of love, betrayal and heartbreaks. It was then that I saw how my sexuality can make people blind towards me. When a straight person has a heartbreak, that’s earth shattering. When I had a heart break, ‘Well, how does it matter, you always have your guy to go back to.”
I succumbed to not telling people anymore. I was ready to come out as queer but I was done explaining to people who couldn’t be a little sensitive and sensible. I started questioning the need to come out. Straight people don’t feel the need to say they are straight, they don’t post a youtube video, or tell their parents. So, why should I? I am bisexual and I don’t need to tell people or my parents about it. Not yet.
Because, it’s my plea to people to be sensitive towards bisexuality. I have seen people trying to understand the gay. But bisexuality isn’t 50% straight and 50% gay. It’s 100% each.
Every day, I make a very conscious choice to be with a guy or a girl. I wish I didn’t have to, but like I mentioned before, I could never validate cheating. So, it’s a very personal experience. At the same time, I cannot deny that there are certain phases, when I just cannot be with a man sexually, I crave to be with women. I am not sorted yet. All I know is, when in a queer event, a bisexual woman told the dilemmas of being a bisexual because it’s in the margins even among queer, I cried. For the first time in ages, I felt, that someone understands how difficult it is to be me. It shouldn’t have to be so difficult, but straight people make it so and at times gays too, “why should we date you, you will marry a guy when the time comes.”
People sometimes speak as if bisexuality is a privilege that I have. It’s not. It’s not a privilege. It’s not a curse. It’s just something I am and I would like to live in a world where my coming out will not be a matter of bravery or pride. Because, in a world like that, the queer community would have already been accepted. And till then, I guess, all we got is to come out as queer or at least let our stories out anonymously.
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"There is a story and a vision which makes us gravitate towards cinema. Even as we worked as assistants on ads, we realised that cinema was our true calling," say Gunpreet Kaur Mann and Deepali Singh Raseen.
The Railway Men. Mili. Cuttputli. The Diplomat. Bade Miyan Chote Miyan. And more…
Let me introduce to you the talented designer duo who have worked on these, and can be considered today’s upcoming costume designers for the screen. Gunpreet Kaur Mann and Deepali Singh.
Having studied at NIFT, Gunpreet Kaur Mann sent her portfolio out to several designers. Her first gig was as an assistant stylist with Manoshi and Rushi, who also happen to be a designer duo. She worked on an ad film starring Saif Ali Khan and eventually landed a full time job with designer Vikram Phadnis. Years of experience as assistant costume designer followed, which eventually led her to getting a break.
A ‘thank you’ makes a lot of difference in the way any woman in your life sees herself in your eyes. It might even mean the world to her.
I have not received any appreciation in the past. Probably never will. This is the experience of ample women across the globe. The expectation to be thanked for all the sacrifices she makes to keep others happy has faded. Yet the urge to hear few words of acknowledgement always lingers.
There is never a day when she pushes off her own burdens. She knows not to give up on people she loves. Women in general, are givers by nature and hence, give without asking anything in return. They have been the care givers and lovers since centuries however receive no appreciation.
It will mean the world to your mother if you answer her calls. If your sister seems lost give her a hug and assure her about her strengths. Tomorrow, there might come a day when you would have to make your daughter feel empowered with few words of wisdom every now and then. For the children to feel wanted and loved, you must be able to spare some quality time with your wife and be present in the moment.
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