The declaration of Section 377 as unconstitutional has brought immense joy amongst the LGBTQIA Community in India. In 2019, the question is still: Are ‘they’ accpeted happily in our society without any hesitation? The answer still remains perplexing. There are approximately 4.8 million transgenders in India which is a huge number of population but the community is still considered as a taboo in India. A lot of people believe that being from LGBTQIA is a disease and can be cured by doctors. Pretty stupid.
Urbane Unicorn recently interviewed Tarun Singh Chauhan, a proud and fabulous member of LGBTQIA Community. He is a fashion enthusiast. He is gorgeous. Most importantly, he is a sweetheart.
Tell us something about your personal/professional life.
Myself Tarun Chauhan, and I come from this small town in MP, Khajuraho (also known as the home of the Kamasutra). I’ve lived past 7 years of my life in Bhopal. And recently graduated as a textile designer from NIFT.
Can you describe what your sexual orientation is, and for how long have you realized the same?
I am a homosexual male, and like most other people I always knew that there’s something “different about me”. Not just because of the way I felt about men, but also because people told me so. I was never a perfect fit in the stereotypical standardized male category. I got familiar with the term “Gay” when I was in 8th standard, because it was one of the favourite words of my school bullies. I finally accepted my sexuality when I moved to Bhopal, in high school.
Have you ever faced discrimination due to your sexuality or gender identity? If yes, kindly elaborate.
Discrimination? Yes, but it’s a regular thing now. One of the major incidents that I can recall is from 2017, when one of my friends visited Bhopal. I was showing him around the city and it was sometime in the evening around the lake, when these bunch of men started calling us names and gathered around both of us. They wanted to take us on a ride and when we denied their offer they started being touchy. But somehow my friend managed to talk us out of that situation. Luckily nothing went physical. It was a terrifying incident though.
Who did you first came out to? What was his/her reaction?
The first person I came out to was my high school best friend, it was right after the day I accepted myself as a homosexual. I remember how badly I was crying before saying the words out lout “I am Gay” for the first time in life, it took hell lot of courage. I made him promise not to break our friendship after listening whatever what I had to say. And he was constantly going like, “what is it?”, “Tell me already”, “why are you crying for god sake?”. But when I told him, he didn’t even change his expression. He goes like “yeah, but what happened?” , And I’m like “I just told you what happened”. I mean I was obviously expecting some drama, I was coming out for the first time. It’s not too much to ask for, is it? Couple of years later, when I was discussing this with him, he told me that he was shocked but he decided to act the way he did just to handle the situation. He’s a darling.
How did your family and friends react to you coming out? Has this affected your relationship with them positively/ negatively?
Everyone I ever came out to have been really supportive. I never came out to my mom and dad cause I never felt the need. I mean, I’m pretty sure they already know.
Who are your icons?
Oh god, there are so many! Ellen, Ezra Miller, JVN, Emmett Honeycutt (character from Queer as Folk). Basically, everyone who owns it like a boss.
What do you feel are the challenges that LGBTQIA Community is facing in India? What needs to be done for the same?
Again, there are so many. There is no law to protect us against discrimination. We can’t even get married legally, we can’t adopt children and if you’re out you can’t even serve in the military. But most importantly what needs to be done, is to change the way people think of us. Half of the country’s population is not even aware of the LGBTQIA Community. So as being a member of the community and as being an ally it’s our responsibility to bring awareness because we can’t expect them to accept if they’re not even aware.
If you had to advise people about LGBTQIA Community, what would you like to say?
Live and let live.