I am 21. I am an engineering student. And I am a gay. I am writing this article because I am angry, frustrated and feel unbearably suffocated in my closet. I realised I was gay by the time I was 14. No, I never had any 'bad experience' in my childhood that made me 'turn gay'.

No uncle or elder cousin ever molested me. I am gay because I believe I was born gay. God or nature, whatever one believes in, made me what I am. Just as some people are blonde or left-handed, sexual orientation is also a feature that is decided biologically. Modern technology can determine the sexual orientation of a child even before he is born.

The WHO has removed homosexuality from its list of psychological disorders. Yet, some people would like to believe otherwise. They would say that if everyone were gay, there would be no society. This is a dishonest argument for the simple reason that everyone is not gay. They say it's against the Bible - an abomination of God.

But if Christians can change their views on the issues of divorce, women's rights and slavery, why not on the issue of homosexuality as well? Then there are those in India who claim that homosexuality is against Indian culture and Hinduism. Have they never been to the Khajuraho temples, embellished with homoerotic art? Do they not know that the Kamasutra is not just about straight sex? Do they not know that there is not a single scriptural missive against homosexuality in the Vedas - the ultimate authority of Hinduism?

I had my first boyfriend when I was 19. We met online in a gay-dating chat-room and when we finally met face to face, it was love at first sight. Never before in my life had I been so happy. He too was a closeted gay, but was far too petrified to ever come out. When he refused to commit to a future with me just because his family would not accept it, and he'd ultimately have to marry a girl as all Indian men are expected to do, I broke up with him. Our relationship lasted only a few months, but it left me emotionally scarred and broken in spirit. But I also realised that it was not totally his fault.

A survey has shown that 80 per cent of gay men in India are too scared to reveal their sexuality to their families and are trapped in 'normal' (read heterosexual) marriages. Few months back, a gay couple in a West Bengal village committed suicide. My heart cries for these two souls who chose death over separation.

I am writing this because I want to warn all parents of the pain that they might be causing to their children, because of their na´ve assumption that they are straight. I want to appeal to the political class of India to repeal or at least tone down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalises homosexuality. I want to appeal to all readers to shed their homophobia and stop hating us for who we love. Stop committing violence against us because of the affection that exists in our lives.

I am a closeted gay and I want to come out. But that won't be possible until this highly homophobic society keeps the closet door firmly shut on the face of some 30 million gay and lesbian people of the nation. Today, I have a boyfriend whom I love with all my heart and who loves me as much. He has recently moved to another city for his job, and we miss each other a lot. But we look forward to being together very soon. Probably, that won't be possible in India without sacrificing our freedom and dignity. Probably, we'll have to leave India for a more gay-friendly country like Canada or the UK. But I love India and I do not want to leave my motherland. And that is why

I fervently appeal to all those who are reading this - please stop judging people by who they love, and start judging them by whether they love.

I wrote this poem about a couple of years back, but ironically enough, even today, it remains as relevant in my life. In it, I dream about the day I can be myself, when people would love me for what I am, and not what I pretend to be.


There will be a day I can tell the world I'm gay When hatred and disgust Shall not bar my way To come out of the closet-So stifling today. When "normal" men realise I'm no less normal; When archaic laws Don't deem my love criminal; When I walk hand in hand And proudly I can stand With my beloved beside me And the light of freedom around me. There will be a day When I can tell the world I'm gay...