We are Queer, we are here.

‘Growing up femme, dark and queer in a heteronormative world is not so easy. From childhood many of us queer folks do not get role models to look up to, we do not have idols whom we can relate to. We grow up seeing heterosexual relationships and representations in films, television, magazines, literature, education in school-colleges, society around us etc. This Heteronormative world is one of the biggest reasons that we are often subjected to discrimination, homophobia, transphobia and bully.

When I was a kid I often got bullied sometimes because of my dark skin and mostly because I was not very stereotypically manly. I was effeminate and was never interested in discussing muscle cars and sports with other boys. it was hard growing up and not being able to rationalize why people around bullied me! I tried to be more "manly”, I would often check the way I am talking, walking, sitting etc. I would be conscious all the time and try to be more manly with my facial expression and hand gestures. The series of incidents continued in school, family institutions, tuitions and other social circles. It is sad but I grew up hearing names and slurs where I was often called 'homo', 'chakka', 'ladies', 'half ladies', 'hijra', 'mitha' and many more derogatory slurs. At that age when you are subjected to such bullying by your social circle you tend to blame yourself. But now I realise it was never my fault, I was abused and bullied because I am Queer and the heteronormative society has a history of discrimination towards the sexual minorities.

It is not fair for a kid to face all the homophobia and abuse. All they need is love and acceptance because being Queer has a lot to do with your own self then the outside world. For many of us it is a struggle and fight with yourself, a dilemma and the process of self-accepting your sexuality. Talking about me, personally it took a lot for me to come to terms that I belong to the LGBTQ community. The least that we need is the hate from the outside world because we already have a fight within for accepting our identity.

With time I have discovered myself more and I identify as an androgynous model.  I advocate gender fluidity and androgynous clothing. I model and create content on my social media which has also subjected me to a lot of social media trolls and cyber bullying. There have been instances of homophobia and bullying during my law school as well. What I have come across is, most people are curious about your sexuality, your sex life and will often make you uncomfortable by asking personal questions. The rest of the bullies are just in the face of hatred and disgust towards people like us.

Irrespective of all that I have faced and gone through my entire life I have been determined to stand on my own feet and take a stand for myself and people like me. I have represented India in Chennai International Youth Forum 2019 as a delegate talking about Same Sex Marriage in India, I am one of the founding members of Siliguri Pride Walk, I have spoken/featured on various platforms like NIIT, IIMUN, Brut India, Vogue, Plixxo, Local Samosa, Homegrown and other Universities and colleges talking about LGBTQ+ issues and educating people on the same.

Currently i am working as an Advocate in High Court at Calcutta, I am a human rights lawyer and deal with mostly Transgender Cases and LGBTQ+ related cases. I have had filed cases pertaining to discrimination towards transgender people in High court and other district courts and I hope to contribute more in the future towards the cause by working in the grass root level and bringing a reform in the law of the land and trying to bring more awareness, acceptance towards the LGBTQ+ community. This is the true me and this is what I have become irrespective of all the discrimination. Many more queer people like me have faced a lot more struggles and discriminations and I wish we all emerge out of it as our true selves and stand strong by the moto "We are Queer, we are here".

This is Advocate Bodhisatya Ghosh and my pronouns are He/Him.’

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