I am a 32 year old female and currently single. Putting my situation in words is difficult for me but I am trying to be as clearer as I can. From my childhood I liked myself to be judged as a boy. Be it my attire or my way of talking or subjects of discussion with friends, it’s always more masculine. But I do wear feminine clothes, mostly to keep a so called balance in society as well as in job and also keep my family satisfied.
I was once in a relationship with a girl who was my best friend. That relationship broke after 13 years and that left a huge impact on me. The reason for breakup was her family’s decision to marry her off and obviously none of us disclosed our relationship to anyone, as nobody would have understood. I couldn’t stand up and tell the truth at that time and I feel devastated for the fact that she left me. I don’t blame her but I expected that she would at least continue loving me. Anyway, I decided to live single then, as I loved her too much and no one would have accepted this identity of mine and I never wanted my family to be unhappy for me.
Now my family is thinking for my marriage to which I vehemently objected and stated that I want to remain single. They never asked me why, but just stated the fact that either I have to marry or break apart from my family. This has come to me as a huge blow and left me completely clueless.
I fought my breakup alone and somehow was getting along with reality but this latest blow has left me shattered. I can’t explain my masculine side as they will think it’s nothing at all, just as they think I am still a kid. I can’t say about my inclination to girls as my family would think me mad to be a lesbian (which I feel I am not). I know I can never be in a sexual relationship with a man because I consider myself as a man – it would be disastrous for me if I agree to marriage. I don’t know how to proceed further.
Anonymous “Guy” in Distress
Dear Anonymous Guy,
Your gender is what you tell the world. Your gender is not what the world assumes you are. If you say you are a man, you are a man. So you could do without the inverted commas, and still it would be super fine.
Listen man, I do know how much a break up could hurt. And the feeling of not being able to bring yourself to even share what you are, and what you feel is unfathomable for someone who has not gone through the same. I cannot feel what you feel, I can only imagine that it is not easy and it is certainly devastating.
I love you. I hope you find the strength to love yourself and stand up for yourself one day.
No, you don’t have to get married to a guy when you don’t want to get married to a guy and are actually attracted to women and call yourself a man.
I will not paint any rosy picture. To fight for yourself and emerge to be the truest and the most authentic part of you, is a struggle. I can tell you though, that there is light at the end of the tunnel. The fight is fierce, the fight for gender in a world filled with stereotypes is lifelong. But it is worth it.
I know it could get quite lonely when we find ourselves as the only ones who face this challenge. When we meet other people with similar challenges, we could learn from each other’s struggles and victories. So connect with UMANG LBT, a group for lesbian bisexual and transpersons in Mumbai their email is email@example.com.
You could also write to my friends at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s get together.
PS: Things get better, when we stick together. Hai naah?
(The text and the location has been edited to protect the identity of the people. You can send in your questions to email@example.com.)
(Harish Iyer is an equal rights activist working for the rights of the LGBT community, women, children and animals.)