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Nakul opens his Instagram and views many pictures of the girls he follows. He shows them to Arun, who’s his friend who lives just the next door. Nakul notices that Arun does not see the images with any interest.
“What is the problem with you man?” Nakul shouts aloud at Arun.
Arun is very hesitant to say anything, but Nakul’s repeated pestering makes him confess that he is attracted towards boys rather than girls. First, Nakul starts laughing, but when scared Arun also goes further to admit that he has a crush on Nakul. Upon hearing this, Nakul becomes disgusted. He is not able to dispel off his disgust and tells this to his mother. His mother gets enraged at Arun. She first goes and bitterly scolds Arun who, truth be told, hadn’t done any wrong. She also goes on to the extent of having a fierce quarrel with Arun’s parents that what kind of a son they have begotten. This disgraceful news gets propagated at lightning speed in the neighbourhood. Someone removed Arun’s parents from the society’s WhatsApp group. The whole society stops inviting Arun’s family to any festival or gathering. Everyone makes fun of them.
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Moreover, Arun’s parents feel embarrassed about him. They start explaining in a very roundabout way that what should be his
“real sexual inclination” which made no sense to him. Following a relatives recommendation, Arun is taken to a “conversion therapy centre” which proposes to rewire his brain and sexuality. In that therapy, as soon as he sees an arousing photo of a boy, they give him a severe electric shock so that he develops fear and sexual disgust towards guys. Still, this has no long term effect on Arun.
“Why am I different from others?”
“Why didn’t God make me a straight boy or a girl?”
“Am I sick that I was taken to a doctor?”
These thoughts whirl in his mind all day long. He starts thinking that he isn’t worthy of basic human dignity.
Arun turns depressed and hopeless. He searches about his problem on the internet and found some information which he was so far unaware of. He gets to know about Trib community and attends their event without much hope. When he reaches the place, he finds joyous people everywhere who are having fun, food and dancing like no one is watching. He wants to be a part of them, but he had become habitual of being poked fun at. He gets stunned to see that no one was ridiculing him. He thinks it could be because he is new to those people, but they would also start reacting “eww!” once they get to know his sexual bent.
Palak understands his problem and explains him everything. It is something he hasn’t heard before. He gets to know that there are countless people like him, and it is perfectly natural to be one. Palak takes a T-shirt out of her bag and gestures Arun to put it on. Palak introduces him to Sahej and Dakshay, and in short time Arun gets along with his new friends. He wonders why there was a rainbow flag on stalls, people’s clothes, phones etc. Sahej replies that the colours in the rainbow symbolise the diversity of the LGBTQ community and invites him to a pride March the next Sunday.
Dakshay tells him that not many people in our society know about the LGBTQs. These pride marches and these goodies with rainbow flags are to say to all people that LGBTQs are as much God’s children as the straight people. Arun gets further surprised to know that Sahej, Palak and Dakshay (known as SPD there) were straight people, and many straight people were already a part of the mission. It doesn’t take long for Arun to regain his self-respect and be happy again.
Arun’s story has changed the hearts and minds of many who have accepted the rainbow people, but some ignorants still refuse to accept us no matter what. But we also refuse to settle until the day when it wouldn’t be considered at abnormal to belong to the LGBTQ community. And we will continue to struggle until that bright day.