CLOSETS TO CLOSETS: A bisexual ninja’s journey around the maze of a rainbow

‘So you are attracted to women too? — Someone popped this query to me two years ago on twitter. Someone who claimed to be a lesbian and a LGBT activist, was asking me in order to ascertain what kind of assistance I needed. I had confided to her that I faced domestic violence at the hands of my family (I still do) and had an ex boyfriend. She understood that. But my sexuality was a question mark to her. In my mind’s eye, I could see her examining my tweets, the same way a bar code scanner does to a parcel’s barcode, heating its bum with infra red rays. I could feel the heat arising from the annoying question, swirling into a bumblebee between my ears, and prompting me to dump a whole website on polysexual identities on her timeline. She didn’t bother me with the query again to my relief.

Sexuality is a maze. If you are a heterosexual person with no complications, chances of being confused are rare. But if you are in a fringe group, your journey is similar to a surfer riding a wave, unsure whether the ocean will throw you to a hungry shark or lend you a medal in a competition. And disability and abuse causes one to have dissociative memories, burying some and seeing a different person in others.

Recollections sent me back to a particular day in my maternal grandmother’s house, when something in me prompted to touch an aunt’s breasts…and the ensuing mayhem as the aunt bolted to her room, warning my mother about the fiend she had raised…..and my mother calling me aside, firmly saying “ big girls do not go to breasts for food. Breasts are for babies only. You are NOT a baby. Never go near a breast again”. I was a six year old then….and did not go near my aunt’s breasts again, frightened more of my mom’s logic rather than of comprehending the extent of sin.

But the spark of curiosity remained in my conscience, brightened by the pursuit of knowledge. Some years later, I found a soft porn magazine in the house…..the last page had a half naked man on the right, and a silhouette of a naked woman on the left. The woman was standing in a room facing the darkness, with a soft light behind her; so only the curls of her long hair and the curves of her body could be seen…..lending an air of mystery and etherealness to her frame. I was hooked and could not decide which body was more alluring. At another time, I came across a painting of a nude priest kneeling on a floor and a photo of a grave in New York. The grave had the sculpture of two women, forbidden to practice love in life….and hence united in death’s cold embrace[1]…. At that time I knew (from reading books) gays and lesbians existed. I accepted them without questioning their existence, as a part of a cosmos inhabited by all beings. I was neither. And my friends giggled about their boyfriends. I despaired that I had none, and would look forlornly outside the window. My aching heart was telling me to get over the shock of a girl blowing a mock-kiss at me, to downplay the gaze of a pair of kohl rimmed eyes, to react calmly at a friend asking me to dance with her…..after all I was a nobody and there was no point in chasing mirages.

Fast forward to a university in another state, and memories of senior roommates in hostel ragging me with slurs emerge… If you had no boyfriend and was too friendly with girls, a sticky tag with the words ‘lesbian’ could end up heading your way. It was an invisible tag, torn to pieces only when the girl produced a boyfriend. Not all girls could obtain a boyfriend easily however, and a fat girl ‘from the wild forests’ was on no boy’s agenda. Hence the label stayed on me longer, complicated by rumours[2] and ghost stories[3].

It took a direct message to wake me up. A direct message from a friend who said I must be queer too, if I could accept gays and lesbians without squirming. The wake-up call lead to google searches, visits to websites, consulting various people[4], falling in and out of long distance twitter based relationships with people outside the binaries And realizing that nobody had the authority to define what my sexuality was, is and will be.

At the end of this long post, I can assure you that my closet days are not over. But I can also assure you that my labels are mine alone and my value as a queer person of colour — priceless and undefined. ª

[1] My father threw all those pictures and the magazines in a bin and sold them off. Guess he was frightened that my pursuit of knowledge would lead me astray!

[2] A disabled girl wrote me a letter once, asking me to help her in studies. Discovery of that letter made my friends gossip. Unfortunately I could not help her much as a result of the rumours

[3] A sorcerer claimed I was possessed by a female vampiric ghost, prompting an exorcism at his hands, on mom’s orders. I guess the ghost must have been a lesbian.

[4] A sex worker friend claimed I was perhaps attracted to nude bodies only.

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