About Fucking Time: A Short ‘Coming Out’ Story of a Young Lawyer

By Danish Sheikh

I was 13 when I first fell in love with a boy. I didn’t realize that’s what it was, back then. I only knew that I was willing to learn 9th grade Sanskrit without any prior knowledge of the language just so that I could share a class with him.

I was 16 when I fell in love with another boy. This time, I knew what it was, but was able to successfully convince myself it was a phase – or even better, that it was a one-off kind of love, that I would just as easily fall for a woman, the right woman.

I was 17 when I realized that I wasn’t, infact, going to fall for women. That year, for the first time I spoke the words that would make the jigsaw confusion of the last 6 years fall into place. “I’m gay” I said, sitting in the dark, practicing the utterance.

I was 18 when I began reading about the law that was not on my side, and when I began to see how its existence seemed to validate the silences that had slowly accrued around me.

I was 19 when I fell in love with a man, sensed what it could mean for love to be reciprocated and then what it could mean for it to be lost.

I was 24 when the Supreme Court delivered the Suresh Kumar Koushal judgment and told me that the rights I assumed were part of my innate humanity did not in fact exist. The Koushal Court’s words were weighted down with prejudice and hate.

I laughed and brushed them off but they often became an unsaid justification to tolerate casual indignities in public or casual cruelties in private. They validated the voice in my head that said I was lesser, they reified the shame that I thought I’d left behind.

I am 29. The highest constitutional court of my country has finally told me that I am, unambiguously, an equal citizen. That I have, unambiguously, the right to love. For 29 years, I have lived in the shadow of this law, and now, just like that, it’s gone.

About fucking time.

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