Know Your AIQA- Chinmay Rane

When I realised about myself: Hello I’m Chinmay D. Rane. My pronouns are He/Him/His and I’m a 21 year old Gay Man.I was in 6th or 7th standard when I started experiencing sexual attraction towards my male friends and peers. I never experienced attraction towards members of opposite sex. It was really hard and traumatic for me back then, because my puberty had just hit me with something that no one else experienced and with something I thought I should not be experiencing. The blame goes to our heteronormative society. Everywhere we only see that a man marries a woman, and is attracted to a woman only. I used to get depressed and worthless whenever I used to get attracted to another boy or have intimate thoughts about them. The guilt that I am doing something really wrong had engulfed me. I used to beg God and cry to make me ‘Normal’ again like other boys. I used to self harm and punish myself for feeling this way. I had no person to guide me through all of this. I was scared to talk with my parents about this too. I used to always feel different like I don’t fit in my school, because of which I had less friends. I faced bullying throughout my school life just because my the voice wasn’t “manly” back then. Though I was strong enough to deal with it.Anyways fast forward to 8th std. I used to feel like I was doing some sin. So I started going to my school church even though I am not a christian, but I used to find some peace there from all the mental trauma. I am a believer and spiritual person so it felt like god became my guidance. As if God told me that son you are as normal as any other person you are just different because you are special and I love you. It was then when I got the courage to explore myself. I started researching about genders and sexualities and found out that my sexuality is homosexual which is normal just like any other sexuality. It took alot of time to accept myself but slowly I did and started feeling proud about being a Gay Man. 

My experience as a gay man in India:First person to whom I came out was my cousin sister. She accepted me with open arms because of which I gained more courage. Later I came out to my junior college friends (11th and 12th) and even they accepted me completely without any second thought.I came out to my parents when I was in 12th std. It was definitely hard but my parents are angels, it was very hard for them to accept me but never did they ever scold me or harassed me for who I am even though they aren’t so educated. We had amazing big conversations where they asked me all their doubts and now they have accepted me completely. I am currently in a relationship and they have accepted my boyfriend too as if he is their second son. My boyfriend is the biggest support system I have, always pushing me to do my best. In 2019 I got selected into D.Y. Patil University School Of Medicine, Navi Mumbai for MBBS. Till then I was pretty much open about my identity and related stuff on social media and friends. I came out to my medical college friends too who even though belonging to different cultural backgrounds accepted me. Later the student council of my college approached me to ask if I would like to come out on their platform on the occasion of pride month 2021. My interview was published in the college newsletter and social media handles and now I am officially an openly gay man in my college. Everyone in my college, be it my friends or strangers, have been really accepting towards me. Because of my luck I have never faced any kind of homophobia with my family, friends or colleagues. So my experience as a queer person till now has been really great. However I do expect to face homophobia in future because of the situation in India. But one thing I know is that I am not scared. I will proudly hold my boyfriend’s hand because 1. I am proud of myself that I am gay and 2. I’m proud that he is my boyfriend. 

Chinmay Rane

My message to the LGBT+ community-There are alot homophobic people whojust hate the LGBT+ community for no good reason without taking any knowledge about it. That’s the truth and we need to accept it and become strong to face all that hate. But the other side of the coin is that there are many people who are supportive and LGBT+ friendly who are readily accepting. And also there is the entire Lgbt+ community with you which isin itself a global family who stands together for its people. So no need to be afraid of people who are queerphobic because:1. You are the strongest person, and you need to fight for your rights.2. There are many people with you and you are not alone.
I would like to tell all my queer friends and family that coming out is the best thing you will ever do in your life, you will experience the freedom that you have always longed for. But this decision is yours, and youshould take it thoughtfully and not in a hurry. Because it might be dangerous for you. So it would be best to come out when you are independent. But if you know that your family, friends are supportive and open minded- just go for it, tell them, come out to them and I’m sure they will welcome you with open arms and be more proud of you than they were before.I would also like to address all the non-Lgbt folks that please, support your friends and family members who are queer, help them become strong and accept them. We don’t need your acceptance but we need your support, love and care. If you don’t know about LGBT+ hit the internet and get informed, but please don’t be ignorant and hateful. We are people just like you who just want to live our lives the way we want with the people we love. Is anything wrong in that?