Somaiya Diaries – Chapter 6 (Harrish Iyer)

Somaiya Diaries will now wear a new look through our Social Initiative, Parvaah with the same intention to spread untold stories to the masses.
“People often ask us why we want to have pride parades; what is the need for the LGBT community to go out and tell everyone that they are gay; that straight people don’t go out and celebrate their love on the streets the same way. Well, all members of the society celebrate pride parades; but they just don’t call them so. They are instead called ‘weddings’, which we have every month, every week, and even every day sometimes. These particular pride parades happen in every religion, and in the customs of every caste and creed. It is a heterosexual pride parade when you have two people getting married, with their families coming together, and celebrating together. Some heterosexual marriages even have larger gatherings than gay pride parades. Just like people tell us that our sexuality should be a private thing, shouldn’t their sexualities also be a private matter? If you are going to be making out with a woman, that should be a private thing and not something you should tell the world about through your marriage. There’s absolutely no reason that your sexuality should be a public thing, and that mine should be private. That your love is not considered perverted, but mine is something that is despised. The Pride Parade happens only once in a whole year, and it’s the only time in the whole year that we take to the streets to tell the whole world that we are people who love people of our own gender and love people regardless of gender.
I am Harrish Iyer, an equal rights activist, for the rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community. The time when I decided to be an equal rights activist was also the time I was coming out and dealing with my own hassles. When I was looking for a support system to come out, I found that I had just two people I could speak to, and they were relatively older. I believe in the goodness of the “each one picks one up” policy. A couple of people can only pick a few. I also realized that it was important for people like me to open up because we have a huge potential to pick others up. But yes, opening up for me was not so much from a social point of view, but my personal instinct. I opened up because it was the need of the hour for me. I wouldn’t have survived closeted for too long. I became an activist because I felt the need for more and more people to be sticking up. The activism doesn’t end with me, though; I am just a medium. It started with Ashok Row Kavi, and there’s enough place for everyone in the gay moment. Gay people are not homogenous, we don’t think alike, we don’t have the same party affiliation, all of us don’t like pink; There’s plenty of space in the gay movement because it’s still in a nascent stage.
I think acceptance comes with awareness. and awareness comes with visibility and discussions. Minds will open when our lips do the talking and people come out of the closet in large numbers. Fear can be turned into acceptance, all one needs is just a bit of courage to be the odd person out and be an inspiration for more odd persons to come out, and one day, odds will become even.”

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