siddhant
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I was bullied at school for being girly

‘Dekho yeh toh ladkiyon jaisa hai!’ Even though Siddhant could not see what was wrong in being like a girl, he desperately wanted to get rid of the tag all through his school years. He tells Love Matters India how he finally understood and accepted his sexuality.

Siddhant is a master's student at Tata Institue of Social Sciences. He recently developed a curriculum on comprehensive sexuality education for boys. His interest lies in working around men and masculinities. 

Hurt and angry

I was on a school mountain biking trip when someone referred to me as chakka. I was sixteen at the time. At that moment, I didn’t know how to react and wasn't sure if it was their tone or the actual term that hurt me more.

I just wished for the trip to just come to an end. I tried to ignore them but they would find ways and means to corner and harass me. I felt annoyed with myself because I could not defend myself. I heaved a sigh of relief when the trip did come to an end hoping this incident would soon be forgotten.

Joking to fit in

But I was wrong. Back at school, my batch mates also started teasing me, calling me feminine names. They used to point at me, their hands bend downward, a physical expression which thanks to Bollywood, is considered a homosexual mannerism.

While the imitation didn’t bother me that much, the laughter and mockery is what hurt most. The same people also spread the word that I was a homosexual. Because of this I stopped speaking to people around me, started isolating myself, and stopped considering myself good enough for other people. I started tried very hard to fit in, even to the extent of making homophobic jokes.

Ladkiyon wale kaam

This crisis was made worse by the fact that I was interested in activities that were considered feminine. I preferred talking over playing sports and really enjoyed cooking. When I told people that I wanted to be a chef, they would giggle saying he likes all ladkiyon wale kaam’. I began to shrug such criticism, knowing most world-famous chef were both men and women. I told them it was a personal choice and that nobody should interfere with it. Most conversations would come to an abrupt end at this point.

Embracing what’s natural

As school came to an end, I hoped that my body language wouldn’t define my identity at college and I would not have to deal all these horrible names. Fortunately, my college environment was such that I was surrounded by people who accepted me as I was and helped me understand the concepts of gender and sexuality.

During this period, I was also introduced to a non-profit organisation that works on sexuality. Having been engaged with this organisation for over a year and a half has enabled me to understand myself better and developed my confidence.

I realised that I need not feel bad when people refer to me as a homosexual. Homosexuality is natural and if anything is wrong or unnatural, it is their thinking. I also realised that ‘being feminine’ wasn’t something I needed to shameful about. If anything, I needed to embrace it wholeheartedly for all the wonderful qualities it bestowed on me.

I found me

Today as a bi-curious person, I have found a community that I feel a part of, that I know accepts me for who I am, instead of asking or expecting me to change my identity or behaviour in order to fit or be accepted. I now have the space to explore my body and my sexuality without any judgment. I also hope to be an ally and support anyone who themselves are facing or have faced a similar situation or discriminatory experience.  

*To protect the identity, the person/s in the picture is a model.


Were you bullied at school for your mannerism? Share with Love Matters (LM) on our Facebook page. If you have a specific question, please ask LM experts on our discussion forum.

Comments
Although my story is different people did call me names when I studied in a Gurgaon school but at that time I was so comfortable being me and gay that I tored their comments down....they had no power anymore. My parents approve with a little psychology that is. Life is good life is changing. I have never experienced any harsh homophobia although one time a kid wrote Bi on my bag and I didn't erase it but wore it like a badge
Thanks a lot for the article as it will help n inspire other people who are facing such bully in their life ! Best wishes for you. Really we should accept all as they are !
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