Anniversary Special #20YearChallenge: If You’re Gay You Might As Well Be Dead
Anniversary Special #20YearChallenge: If You’re Gay You Might As Well Be Dead

Ashley Tellis shares his story on what it was like being gay in India

Excerpted from MW Nov 2000




Yes, it is bloody difficult being gay, especially in this old and tolerant land, India. Especially, if you are out, like I am and worse still, if you are political about it and feel you deserve your place in the sun, just like anybody else. Every day, every minute is a reminder that you do not deserve it. Every space can make you feel like an outsider, your desires made to seem odd, freakish, unreal.


That’s what the world calls you. Anomaly, disease, warped, chakka, sicko, homo, “against the order of nature” as Article 370 puts it. Your entire fucking existence is illegal, against the law, against the order of nature. And, sorry if you think I’m whingeing, but quite frankly, I don’t give a fuck. If you think the lady doth protest too much, fuck off and read some other straight stuff.


But this is how you feel on a bad day. On a good day, you want to take on the fucking world and make them deal with your presence, accept you for who you are, even if you have to get them to do it kicking and screaming in protest. “We’re here, we’re queer and you better well fucking get used to it.” There are various ways of doing it. And yes, it is difficult. But if you are an indefatigable queen like yours truly, you soldier on.


Then, you develop fangs. Mainly to deal with straight men. You see, straight men think that if you’re gay, you want them. The two assumptions are:1) If you’re gay, all you want is sex (because that’s all that straight men want, you see) and 2) If you’re gay, you have no taste at all, any ol’ man will do. Straight men are among the ugliest, dumbest, most offensive men I’ve encountered, yet they have all unfailingly believed that I wanted to sleep with them all.


Losing strength, you turn to gay men for comfort. You look up the Delhi/Bombay websites, where half the blokes are married, the others are in the closet and only want a quick fuck in the nearest available bush. You put in a classified ad, and guys send you twenty-five inch penises oozing cum, want to meet and have sex without even seeing you and lose interest fast if you say you don’t have a forty-inch penis and ripped abs. You go to the local gay night at some straight hell-hole bar/ hotel (or go to said NGO which has rapidly become local pick-up joint) and guys are blowing each other on urine-clogged floors. It puts you off dancing and you go home.


It is a tough world out there, if you are gay, but you soldier on. There is no choice and you have to fight to create them. Some day, some time, there’ll be a place for you and me, a better place as those gay bunnies, the Pet Shop Boys wistfully sang.

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