plural noun: transvestites
The first realization: I was different.
I was a kid, around 6-7 years old. I used to play with street friends, cousins and my sister. I was the only guy among all those girls, so what we played were girly stuff like cooking, 'dress your doll', makeup and all such games.
I didn't even know what games the boys played. I only played girly games because I kind of liked them and enjoyed them.
That's how my childhood passed.
The first crush: A guy.
After class 5th, I went to boarding school. Living with so many guys and new faces was difficult for me but later I felt okay, because I got used to it.
But the major part was the comfort level. I never felt good living with them till a point in class 8th, when I met a junior guy & I found him attractive. I guess he also felt the same about me. We had a kind of relationship, but we were too small to understand what was going on (or what we were doing).
Later, during my vacations I used to come home. I liked wearing girls' dresses, because that's what I used to do before joining boarding school. But at that time, I didn't realize that I was used to it. (We always feel something when we lose it or after a long break).
But now I was not a kid anymore. Wearing girls' dresses in 8-9th standard wasn't childish.
That junior guy in my hostel later turned out to be 'straight' (or bi). But I never felt any attraction towards a girl, ever.
I liked and wanted to be a girl. All my habits were (and still are) girlish.
At a later point in time, I joined college. Of course, no one at home knew about me, about the kind of life I was going through.
I belong to a small town, where people aren't that open minded. I had a lot of family pressure, I still do.
In the first year of college, being a good looking & smart guy, I was approached by many girls. They used to talk to me a lot, listen to me and generally play around with me. I enjoyed the attention and liked it because I was used to it. But there was never any attraction or relationship between me and any girl.
At one point in time, I tried to conform to society norms and dated a girl. But that story lasted not more than 2.5 months, as she felt I did not take any interest in her but her clothes! I used to compliment her dresses, earrings, heels, etc. because that's all I ever notice and point out when I see a girl.
It was very lonely for some time when she left and no one was around to understand me. There was nobody with whom I could share my feelings.
It is absolutely difficult to find another guy like me, a gay guy, I mean. Obviously no one goes around with a signboard on their forehead that says 'I'm also gay'.
Confusion and clarity.
For many years I didn't even know I was gay. In fact I'm still confused.
What's the exact definition of 'gay'?
All I want is to be a girl. I just like being a girl. That's all I know.
Currently, in my whole life of 23 years, I have faced so much societal and familial pressure. I'm the only male child in my family.
But with whom shall I share this part of my life?
My parents are very orthodox people. They will never accept or face the fact that their only son is not 'normal' like other boys. They will never, ever accept the truth about me.
And, in future I don't know what I'm gonna do.
Taking small holidays away from home and living far from family won't work in the long term. I need to find a solution. Shifting to a foreign country may help. But I don't know.
Tension and Questions.
I’m facing a lot of tension, day by day.
So many questions eat me up everyday.
What will happen to me, my life?
Should I share this to someone, what will one think if he/she knows about it?
What if my parents ask me to marry some girl one day?
In addition to this, I have the daily-life tension of hiding my ladies' lingerie (satin and lace) within my room, way from others’ eyes. Obviously, I can't leave them in the bathroom or dry them on the terrace under sunlight.
I’m worried about my future.
What will I do now? How will my future turn out?
It is a good thing that India is changing, people are changing, they are accepting this issue. But at the same time some societies are not that broad-minded, and I belong to latter one.
I can write more. But I think this is enough for now.
(As told to the author, compiled over a period of time.
Published by the author with only grammar and punctuation edits, to retain the voice of the person)
Image courtesy: Barewalls Art Prints.