I was always partially aware of my sexual orientation while growing up, ie I am attracted to men despite being a boy. I started coping with my surroundings by trying to act straight, because showing feminine traits often led to the nicknames given to people in the LGBTQ+ community within this “so-called perfect society.” Therefore, I hid in a deep closet—killing my inner desires of wanting to proudly shout that I am gay—for a whole 19 years.
Over the years, I had to go through a lot of trauma as most of the people around me were straight. Hence, according to them, I was sick, abnormal, and should not talk to them just because I am gay. I started experiencing physical abuse, torments, insomnia as well as verbal humiliation from my classmates and even cousins. I was feeling alone, and left out during get-togethers, picnics, hiking, trekking, extra-curricular activities and more. All these lonely moments during my childhood gradually led me towards depression, whereas being a punching bag for bullies turned me into someone with suicidal tendencies.
However, my love for my mother was stronger than the shame of physical abuse and verbal torments from my community, and helped me overcome these psychological disorders. After finishing high school, I went to the city of hopes and opportunities—Kathmandu—for my further studies. That changed my life completely.
Here, I was very happy to meet people who were just like me in sexual orientation and proudly living their life. After some time, I got on Blued and joined the Blue Diamond Society (BDS), which helped me learn more about the LGBTQ+ society and accept the fact that I am now also part of it. The organization helped me understand my sexual orientation and boosted my confidence. With this newfound pride and confidence, I started working as a community mobilizer at Pink Triangle Nepal. During the course of work, I gained more awareness of the problems that society has towards the LGBTQ+ community and our current rights under the constitution. There is a lot of ongoing work in the implementation of marriage equality, sexual minorities’ rights, etc.
After gathering much courage and confidence to face the situation, I decided to come out to my parents. I knew it would not be an easy task to convince them, but I tried and sought the best time to do so. I was rather nervous because I have seen many people lose their shelter and care from their parents after coming out. Instead of becoming angry, my parents were deeply affected by what I had to say that they had tears in their eyes. They were sad that I had to go through all these problems alone. Their acceptance and support have given me more confidence than before.
Now, I speak proudly about my sexual orientation as a gay man and stand against anyone who spreads any sort of misleading ideas about my sexuality. I convince LGBTQ+ youths who have problems to have faith in themselves—discreetly through social media so as to not harm their privacy.
I finally feel like a butterfly filled with the colours of the rainbow after hiding inside the closet as a dull, colourless caterpillar for the past 20 years.
— Pradip Rana