Out into the light

Hyderabad’s LGBTQ friends speak to City Express sharing their stories of when they told the world their reality. Here’s to freedom!

Published: 11th September 2019 04:19 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th September 2019 04:19 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: September 2018 was historic as it scrapped a primitive law designed for a society decades ago. A year later from now, the community is stronger yet the issues they face are far from gone. We thought to know the history of those who once survived their trauma would ease it out. We reached out to a few Hyderabadis to share their story of how they came out to the world.  

Ganesh Nallari, a designer and a survivor, sought out the help of art to express his feelings the best possible way. Sandipan Kushary, a Hyderabadi student and LGBTQ activist and founder of Moberra Foundation is all heart to tell his story. Rachana Mudraboyina found that being independent and having a voice helped her family understand her better. These are stories of inspiration, these are stories that attempt to help those struggling to reveal their true identity to the world. 

Slow, but sure: Sandipan Kushary
When I moved to Hyderabad to study in 2013, although I knew my orientation I didn’t talk about it. After being a silent spectator to many LGBTQ events, I eventually started to organise them myself. In 2017 after I found some ground organising LGBTQ events and meets, I gave an interview to a newspaper which I heard from some friends back home that my father had read. I was terrified. I called them and told them that I would meet them and then talk. In the beginning, they were apathetic about it, and thought it was best to leave me at my own devices. They come from a generation that has no awareness nor sensitisation towards anything like this so their reaction was expected.

As time went by they understood more and more about the idea and warmed up to it.  In college however things were different. I heard whispers behind my back. However, my childhood friends stood by me through it all. In fact they said they always knew it! Now I have no inhibitions in flaunting my partner Anil to the world!A year since scrapping Section 377, society too is reacting the same way my parents reacted to my coming out. It’s slow but sure. Companies, franchises and establishments are trying new things to make their spaces inclusive consciously.    

Ganesh Nallari
I danced before the Natraja with half my face covered in vermillion and the other half in turmeric representing that I was the Arthanari, a composite androgynous form. This was me telling my family, my friends and the whole world my truth of being a homosexual. 

I was trembling: Ganesh Nallari
Though I came out to a few very close friends before, I came out to the whole world including my parents through the play, Mudra...The Silent Gesture, that I wrote, directed, acted and staged in 2013. I  used to wonder if I should talk about my sexual orientation with them at all. The 12 minute short play is a byproduct of my urge to let them know. The mother a dancer who gives up her dream of being a dancer found solace in her son being one.

The story progresses as I discover my true identity through the experiences I have had as a child and later as an adult. In the climax, there are no dialogues. I danced before the Natraja with half my face covered in vermillion and the other half in turmeric representing that I was the Arthanari, a composite androgynous form. This was me telling my family, my friends and the whole world my truth of being a homosexual. The audience were in stunned silence and then I got a roaring standing ovation. I was trembling and crying when I reached backstage afterwards. By the time the audience reached to congratulate me, one among them said, “Ganesh I had goosebumps, it looked so real”, for which my mother who was by then standing right behind me replied, “But it is real and its the truth”. I knew instantly that she supported me.   

It wasn’t drastic: Rachana Mudraboyina
This isn’t something I draw attention to. (laughs) You will not find any interview or talk where I speak about how my family officially found out about my trans identity. I think it was 2009. I was already a working woman and was already active in raising a voice against social inequality. I was once called on a panel on TV regarding trans rights and that’s when I spoke publicly about me being a transgender for the first time. It was quite surprising how my family took it.

I mean it wasn’t drastic. I have two sisters - an elder one and a younger one - they started suggesting to me what I should wear now that I was “famous”! They still referred to me as a human rights activist but they accepted me in their own way. “You should wear cotton sarees from now. You should look dignified,” they would say. (laughs) A few years down the line they made peace with every part of my fight and my identity.
 srividya.palaparthi@newindianexpress.com @PSrividya53

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