Lavanya is a 20-year-old journalism student living in Bhopal. She is a vocal intersectional feminist and identifies as bisexual. She believes in creating spaces for those who are marginalised and passing the mic when it is not her story to tell.
Coming out to bro
I was in school when I realised that I was not ‘normal’, like the other girls. Sharing my innermost feelings with my parents sounded like a nightmare, and it was definitely something I was not looking forward to.
Being queer can be a very lonely and isolating existence. So I came out to my younger brother Vishrut.
Kudos to him though, he did not let me know of that discomfort, until very recently.
Sometimes, I wonder, how terrible it would have been, if he had gone to our parents and told them about his sister being ‘weird’.
Instead, Vishrut came to me with lots and lots of questions about what being a lesbian meant. At the time I thought I was attracted to women only.
He did try to convince me that I wasn't a lesbian. And that I was only saying that because I was confused. As the years passed by, Vishrut understood me more and accepted me.
‘I told you so’
In my teens, I had my first kiss with a girl. I shared it with Vishrut. My brother, like any other brother, went ‘ew, gross’ but told me he was happy for me.
As time passed by, I realised that I liked men too. My brother made fun of me in a harmless way saying, ‘I told you so’. This became his tagline over the next few months as I researched different identities in an attempt to find the one that fit me well.
He heard me patiently as I made him familiar with the LGBT jargon.
My biggest ally
As I grew up and realised that I was bisexual, Vishrut was the first person to know about it. He was also my biggest ally and support when our parents found out about me.
My journey has not been easy. I have faced homophobia and hatred many a times. Like a desi bhai, he is also always ready to punch people, if I would just let him! A few months ago, someone called me a ‘fake bisexual’, in an attempt to harass me, and the two of us laughed at their pathetic attempt.
A while back, I was diagnosed with depression and other mental health issues. I often struggled with negative and suicidal thoughts.
I cannot imagine how much worse my mental health would have been if Vishrut hadn't loved me and supported me unconditionally like he did. The world needs more brothers and more allies like him.
Vishrut also calls out his friends when they make homophobic or transphobic comments. If all goes well, I am planning to take him to the Pride parade with me this time.
Lavanya shared her story with Love Matters India for our campaign #AgarTumSaathHo - celebrating Support, Acceptance and Allyship at the International Pride Month 2019. Through the month, we will publish stories of support, acceptance, love, and respect that members of the LGBTQ community have given and/or received from friends, colleagues, parents, teachers, partners or society at large.
*To protect the identity, persons in the picture are models.