I did not ‘choose’ to be gay
They say I am a sinner and I will forever burn in inferno. I say, I am in hell right now and any inferno will be far comforting than the hate and fear that I experience right now, living in this world.
You see, I am a gay man. But is this word enough to describe me? There are many facets of my life. I am 22-years-old and a geography geek who has an affinity for learning about different cultures of the world. My friends call me Wikipedia (I’m not proud of this name though). But my homosexuality gives me a hard time living ‘normally’.
My parents are one of those typical Sub-continental parents who have sacrificed their happiness to provide for their children. They have worked hard to give me a life of plenty. I remember, as a kid, my father riding our scooter with my mother sitting at the back, my younger brother in her lap and I standing in front of my father’s seat, while my father would juggle around my head to get a clear view of the road. With parents like that, you would want to make them proud of you in any way possible.
But God had something else in store for me.
Why did I find my male Math’s teacher more attractive than my female chemistry teacher about whom every boy in the class was talking? I’d just nod my head during their conversation wondering why I didn’t feel the same way.
Boys would look at girls and girls would blush. Why did it not make any sense to me? Why could I not relate to it?
With time I understood what I was and, believe me, I hated myself to the core. I tried imagining being sexually intimate with the most beautiful girl in the class but then I felt a strange uneasiness which wouldn’t go until I removed that thought from my head or imagined myself with another guy.
Now when I think about my parents, I feel guilt, shame, anger and fear, all at the same time. I can’t look my parents in the eye because I feel I am not enough of a son to them. All the things that I have strived for, in my life, to make them proud of me, will all go in vain because they will hate me when the truth comes out. I’ll shame them in society.
I don’t fear how my homosexuality is going to affect me; it’s how it will affect my parents that frightens me the most.
I fear that when the truth comes out, my employer will fire me, my landlord will throw me out.
And so, I choose to remain in the closet, fiercely burying my sexuality deep within myself, covering it with a smile on my face but crying at the core of my heart. It breaks me from within every day, with every breath that I take. I feel hollow. I want to share my feelings with someone who is willing to hear me, but is there anyone I can trust?
I cry in loneliness. Depression is like my shadow, it follows me where ever I go.
My homosexuality is an intrinsic part of my life, it’s as inseparable to me as is your heterosexuality, the only difference is – I have to hide it from everyone. Mine is a lifelong training program. Don’t look at that man for too long and try looking at that girl a little longer. Don’t forget to tell your friends how beautiful and sexy the girl who just passed by you was.
They ask how a man can love another man when you have so many beautiful women available. Women are beautiful, no doubt. In fact, I feel they are the best creation of God and I respect them a lot. But I’m a person who visits a garden, admires the flowers and then moves on without plucking them. However inappropriate that sentence may seem to be, this is the way I feel about women.
To those who say I chose to be gay, I ask them why I would choose to lead such a harsh life where my future looks nothing but bleak, especially when I could just ‘choose’ to be straight instead?
Put hate aside and try to empathise with me for one second. Just once.
To those who say I should change my sexual orientation, I ask them to try not be attracted to the opposite gender and see how much you can succeed.
Please break yourself from the gay stereotype; we are as ‘normal’ behaving as any heterosexual person can be. We are not a hate material or a laughing stock – we are as human as you!
I want this platform to be an outlet for you to communicate with me, a homosexual, and to do away with all the prejudice that you have about me. I may be gay, but that is not all that I am.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.