As you start reading this column you might not even realize right away that is not written in the place where you call home wherever that might be. Well enjoy…
I ask a lot of questions.
Is ketchup better than mustard? Did man really walk on the moon? How do you eat crème brulee? Will they ever resume Heroes? Should I really have that fourth cup of espresso? What’s eighteen times thirty-two? Are gay men any different than the straight ones? Does true love exist for either?
I might not know the right spoon to eat my crème brulee with, or what color shirt* goes with a leather jacket, but I do know that there never really is only the one. There’s a two, three, four, and probably more. It could work out with some of them and sometimes it won’t.
It obviously does, because there really is no difference between gay and straight when it comes to love, sex or relationships. We all have the same worries: Who foots the bill? Do they validate me? Do they love me? Do I love them? What is love?
There are many stereotypes that exist which need to busted like the bell-bottom trend. Gay men are not very different, we love the way everyone else does — sometimes it is intense, sometimes it is fleeting, and sometimes we’re just lusting.
Gay men come in all shapes, sizes, and colors
Do we like pink? Is Adele on loop? Are we promiscuous? Do we really lust after our best friend’s boyfriend?
There is no general-one-size-fits-all answer to any of these questions.
And it’s definitely rude to ask gay men questions like these — it’s like asking someone if they’ve ever killed somebody or whether they have something stuck between their teeth.
Here’s a friendly PSA: Gay men come in all shapes, sizes, and colours. If someone tells you they identify as gay, there’s no need to ask them whether they like Bradley Cooper or Brad Pitt (Cooper, any day). Get to know them, they are not a sum of stereotypes.
Even though we live in a world full of hipsters and millennials, coming out isn’t easy. Reality is far from the Hallmark movie that I make it out to be – every year, more and more people are pushed back into the closets to rot away with clothes that are too tight, cigarettes that are too damp and love notes that are long forgotten. Every day, more and more gay men are abandoned, disowned, and even condemned to hell. Every day, a few more gay men hate themselves for their sexuality, and a few more men shut down these doors to their closets forever.
Coming out shouldn’t be an ordeal or a celebration; it should be a regular, everyday thing — like flossing your teeth every night, or telling your friends that you are vegan, or that you don’t like Taylor Swift. (We feel for you, Calvin Harris)
That’s where the Guysexual comes in (without any invitations, because invitations are so 2008). Think of this as your quintessential guide to the secret lives of Indian gay men and other queer folk — there might not be a pop culture guidebook to being a homosexual, but this about knowing how to behave with one.
This will be a list of dos and don’ts and wills and won'ts for every question you might have regarding the friendly gay man (or men) in your neighbourhood. How do you decide who pays for the bill at the end of a meal? Do we prefer beer or mimosas? What are the things you should never ever say to someone when they come out? Is it okay to call a woman a fag hag? Do we really like brunch as much as we say we do? Why are all the hot guys gay? Why is it not a good idea to instantly try setting up a new gay friend with the only other gay person that you know?
But mostly, how can we make homosexuality mainstream — the normal? Don’t say something is ‘gay’. Don’t point at someone who dresses differently and laugh. Don’t snigger at the guy who doesn’t play cricket. Don’t say that you want a gay best friend because you think it’s cool. Don’t assume. Don’t presume, and don’t bully.
Maybe sometime in the future, a month, a year or even in a decade’s time – every LGBT person in this country can enjoy the same privileges that a select few do. And maybe, just maybe, it won’t be a privilege, but simply a way of life by then.
Until then, I’ll need beer. And probably your number too.
*White shirts work with anything.
This space appears every week for The Guysexual
The author is a TedX speaker and a published gay writer, with an unused architect’s degree, living in Mumbai. He tweets @TheGuysexual.