Sitting by my table, sipping a hot cup of coffee, staring at my desktop wallpaper which happens to be the pride flag; I am trying to find the right words to describe what holding this flag means to me and my journey from a closeted supporter to a full-fledged ally.
My interest in the LGBTQIA cause can be traced back to my university days where I stumble upon some very inspiring and hardworking activists of the field during the course of an assignment. Armed with what I thought was an open mind, I met with these people; and while discussing, I realised the gender bias in my head and how my expectations were based on stereotypes. Following this encounter, I started volunteering and helping in the ongoing work of the said activists. To get to where I am now, being able to talk openly and take a stand in LGBTQIA issues has not been a smooth ride. To make a real difference it had to start with me!
Unlearning things that I have been taught as a child, recognising the unfair judgement I made based on stereotypes. Yet it did not stop there. I also had to make a conscious effort to change in my day to day living. Starting with my immediate surrounding, my family, my best friend and people that mattered to me. It was like a coming out for me: affirming to be an ally of these wonderful beings I met and in something that I truly believe in. Needless to say, it went far better off with my friends than with my family. It might have been due to the fact that we were all in a learning curve of our life and trying to find ourselves. It took time for my family to understand my point of view.
No there was not anything dramatic such as loud shouts or like being ousted from the family dinner… [maybe the privilege of not being Queer] it was more of some pointed remarks passed around or poor jokes on LGBTQIA community during family gatherings or sometimes just not valuing the work that I am doing. It got better over the time when they realised it is not a hobby but a serious issue that is close to my heart. Why is it so?
I have not yet been able to decipher the exact response. I just think that I do not have to be bisexual or lesbian to support the LGBTQIA cause. It is a human right issue. And “… being human is the sole prerequisite to have equal human rights”.