Joseph Monis

“I’m gay and I’m proud of it………”
Sometimes people ask me – “Are you not ashamed of what you are!!” and my answer is “No, I’m gay and I’m proud of it”. I take pride in accepting what I am and I’m not shameful or guilty of that. People roll down their eyes and start analyzing certain things and that’s very creepy. They already have a mindset which they are scared to change and they don’t dare to accept the change in a society like us.

Yes, I remember, there are infinite scenarios that I’ve witnessed. My patience was tested every now and then. People were scared to talk. I’d like to share an incident. I was casually having lunch with one of my friends. Although I had no feelings for him, since I felt comfortable sharing with him, I thought of revealing my non-binary nature. He was petrified upon hearing this and then, I never saw him again. I’ve no idea what he thought about me after that.
Another one, I do remember. I’m also passionate about photography. I’ve mentioned on my social media accounts

that I’m gay. A guy approached me for a photo shoot. It sounded fine to me and hence I asked him to meet.
He showed up with another guy and they demanded physical intimacy forcefully. I clearly denied it. After some time, he came with a gangster and demanded money. I refused and was afraid, they started to blackmail me saying they would disclose my interest in men to my landlord, family, friends, etc. I went to a nearby CCTV camera so that everything can be recorded there on the camera. I tried to scare them by saying “People should know what you are doing”. They fled away saying that they would call the cops to my place.
I called a few of my friends and narrated the incident. They stayed over at my place for the whole night. The next day, with one of my community members, I went to the police and filed a complaint. Thankfully, my complaint was registered but there was no clue of those guys. Lucky I was, I did not panic although I was too scared. That was a spine-chilling experience for me.

But not everyone is bad towards us. Nowadays,there is definitely a change in society’s perception. People are trying to understand what being non-binary is. I was in a relationship with a guy. I loved his honest nature. We were just like any other couple, from going out for dinners, movies, bike rides to taking each other to hospitals and paying bills. Although we broke up later, we shared a beautiful bond. I believe it’s just the same.

Of course, we are standing up for love, respect, care and rights that we are worthy of. Our feelings and emotions should be given equal respect. I’m part of an NGO named “Mist” in Pune. Here we connect with non-binary people, try to share feelings, organize film festivals, conduct art festivals, host counseling sessions, do flash mobs, throw get-together parties on occasions, etc. During the pandemic, we have seen a lot of LGBT people losing jobs and struggling for survival. Through “Mist”, we have distributed free food and helped them in the maximum possible ways.
Another incident I’d like to share was while our NGO team was in Bangalore, in one of the malls, we were showcasing card flash mobs. A kid asked her mother “What are these people doing?”, to which

her mother replied, “They are fighting for their love”. I was touched by the reply of that lady. On the contrary, when one of my friends wanted to undergo gender change surgery, many people came out judging, commenting, and criticizing him.
There is definitely a lot of struggle. People should not judge or conclude for any individual’s gender. But, I believe the younger generation is much more powerful and talented. They are progressive and quick learners. They can change this conservative thinking of binary natured people. Also, I find self-learning useful. There is a lot of talent which goes unnoticed; we should probably look for that instead of creating barriers between gender communities.


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