Journey Out of the Closet Part Three A bird in a cage
She folded the paper back up and tore it into pieces, throwing it away. She looked back at me and gave me the “your secret’s safe with me” look, but I was ready for it to be out.
However, one thing was stopping me - family.
I knew it would not settle well with my single mother and my Mamaji (maternal uncle).
I slowly got into a lot of anxiety and began slipping under the same cycle of self-hate.
Before I went and did any physical self-harm, I decided to get some help.
There’s this organization here that’s supposedly here to help South Asian LGBTQ people, and I emailed them with my whole situation.
I won’t name this organization but they responded back with a message saying they don’t offer peer counselling, even though their website clearly stated it does.
What’s the point of have a non-profit organization and collecting donations when you can’t even help those that you are supposed to?
Anyway, that is beside the point.
This event made me even stronger and made my will to come out more resolute.
One day I walked out of my classroom and saw my locker neighbour standing in front of her locker at the end of the hall, sorting through her binder.
She was one of the only girls were out of the closet.
I began walking towards my locker. It was grade twelve.
Throughout my whole high school career I’ve been to my locker sever hundred thousand times but for some reason the hallway was longer today, my strides were small, and my heart was racing.
After what seemed like forever I stood in front of my locker neighbour and cleared my voice:
”I need to come out.”
And that was that, by the next day all 600 students at my small high school knew.
I was out, I was free, I was unburdened….for the first time in my life, I was me.
The rest of the months of my last year of school went by amazingly.
I was finally not that raging maniac that would sit gloomily in his lonesome, I actually had people I could talk to.
I was happy. I was light. I was free. I was me.
Slowly the days went by and before I knew it I was wearing that baggy pleated gown that made me look like a bad Gospel singer and a four point-hat and tassel.
I was walking across the stage, receiving my dogwood diploma and a $5,000 scholarship for my studies. I was out, I felt myself for the first time in years.
I was accepted to university, and I was well on my way onto that road gilded with fools gold that all high school graduates salivate at.
Life was amazing… Waheguru.
A few days later I awoke to my mother shaking me and telling me to get up.
I looked at the clock… 3AM.
I listened to her voice.
It was different: it was dark, it was angry, it was sad.
I knew something was wrong. I immediately got up out of bed and followed mom.
She lead me into a room and I saw my maternal uncle (with whom my mom, sister and I live with), and he had that same blank, empty expression on his face.
They sat me down and my uncle got up and closed the door.
Everyone was fast asleep, we were all alone.
I sat there staring at the two of them for a good minute until my mom spoke up:
”Tell us now yourself before we tell you what we heard. We found out something about you at school.”
My heart sank. They knew. It was obvious they knew. I was not ready for this at all. What could I do? Could I lie? No, I’d get caught. Could I run away? No, the door was closed.
There was only one thing I could do, admit it. Despite me pleading and saying there is nothing wrong with me, they looked at me like I was vile.
They didn’t say a word, they just looked at me.
For the first time in my life, I saw pure hatred in the eyes of the two people I loved more than anyone in the world.
They just sat there staring at me like I was filth.
When I pleaded for them to listen and see that there is nothing wrong with me, my mother slapped me and left, cursing the day she gave birth to me. I was told to go to bed and do as they said.
In tears, I complied and went to bed and fell into an emotionally exhausted sleep.
I was awoken again at 9AM by my mother.
I was told to be dressed in 10 minutes.
When I came out of the bathroom dressed, I saw my mother and uncle standing in front of the door, the same empty looks on their faces.
They escorted me and took me outside and into the family minivan.
At this point I was beginning to breakdown again, confused, scared… still processing the situation.
I asked where they were taking me, and I did not get a single response.
Next thing I know, the van pulls into the parking lot of my family doctor. My uncle simply looked at me and said, “We’re here to fix you.”
I looked at the doctor’s office and breathed a sigh of relief.
I thanked the heavens for sending me here.
It felt like this would be the only chance to get through to my elders.
Surely he would help me.
Surely he would explain to my parents that I was still very much human, and very much normal.
Surely he would be the voice of reason…
Well he was a voice alright, a voice I still remember to this very day:
“You know why you’re like this? Do you know why? You’re parents divorced and you stopped talking to your father. What else do you expect would happen to a boy being raised without a father?”
“Talk to your dad. I know you hate him,” even though he knew his past of physically abusing us.
“Just sit down and talk. This is not natural. This isn’t how God intended you to be.”
“Do you know why gay men are gay? They want sex! They want sex and they don’t want or care about family. It’s not right!”
At that moment my world shattered. This is the man that my parents brought me to?
This is my general physician?
Little did Dr. X know, he had just written a prescription for me – a prescription of boosted emotional abuse from my family.
I was dismissed from his office, no appointment made, no medical records written, no proof of my visit, and I was escorted away by my mom and uncle.
They drove me back home.
My phone was taken away, as well as my wallet with all my ID’s.
Over the next two weeks, I was banned from using the computer and the internet, I was only allowed outside accompanied by my uncle, and I was ignored, not even acknowledged.
I was completely cut off from the world, under virtual house arrest.
The bird that was let free months before, had been captured and thrown into a cage…
Part IV of this series will be published next week.