I remember the first time I kissed a girl. We were at a concert. Our eyes scanned the crowd grooving to electronic music and then fixated on each other. She sported the same asymmetrical bob as me, her Iron Maiden shirt clung to her petite frame, her shapely neck arching to make sure I was checking her out as well. Eventually, our tipsy selves found our way to one another, our lips met with Afrojack’s ‘Ten Feet Tall’ playing in the background. Her lips were soft like jelly, I cupped her face and moved my thumb against her blushed skin while she held me at my waist and moved me closer to her.
Identifying as an LGBTQ person in India is rife with challenges. Even if you fancy a person, approaching them is a struggle because you have no idea if they’d be offended by your overtures. Having attended an all-girls’ school, enjoying a woman’s company came very naturally to me. But it took me several years to acknowledge the fact that I was as attracted to women as I was to men. Coming out as bisexual to myself enabled me to look beyond a person’s gender and like them for who they are. Attraction became subjective and made me acutely aware of what I was capable of bringing to a relationship.
And yet, in spite of the confidence it imbued me with, I still choose to keep my sexual orientation a secret. From friends and family. It feels like a superpower, an invisible cape of sorts which lets me be my truest, authentic self. But my gaydar is definitely getting more on point as I navigate this somewhat hostile and homophobic environment in search of meaningful and special experiences.
There are hits and misses, of course. Sometimes asking a woman for drinks would lead them to assume that I just ‘want to be friends’ and not ask them out on a date. Only until I am leaning in for a kiss, would they realise that I am actually attracted to them. But, I also have had impulsive connections in pubs and online dates which led to memorable first dates.
As a 20-something woman, I feel I am not ready to come out, yet. But, that doesn’t make me any less proud of the journey I have embarked on as an individual, taking every experience in my stride and learning from it along the way.