Know your AIQA – Sushmita Ganguly

My name is Sushmita Ganguly. I’m 16 years old.

I enjoy reading books, listening to podcasts, watching movies and tv shows and doing whatever I can to help those around me. I’ve always loved talking to people and listening to their stories as doing so, gives me hope and makes me realise that the world is a much bigger and better place than what school makes it out to be, or what my father makes it out to be. People always tell us that the world is a cruel place and if it were a person it’d be pretty cold-hearted. For some reason, I never believed it. Even though I’ve been severely bullied and abused, a part of me always had faith that the world could be something great.

The reason I joined AIQA is because I want to be able to help people who are like me and make sure that they are not suffering as a result of the hurtful actions of those around them. To make the world a kinder, more accepting place, we need to try our level best to be compassionate to those around us and help those in need in any and every way we can. I’m hoping I can do that with the help of this association. I always hated myself for not being straight as being the way I was, wasn’t considered to be “normal”.

When I was in 7th grade, a girl in my foyer came out as bisexual and everyone started bullying and harassing her, her family had abandoned her and she would spend her days crying. I wasn’t out yet. Seeing that shattered my heart and broke it to a million pieces. Whenever people would talk ill of her in front me, I would try to explain to them that being gay isn’t “unnatural” and “against god” and that she’s just trying her best to accepted for who she is. Some listened. Some didn’t. However, I only focused on the ones who did as my sister always said, “Educate or overpower”, when people didn’t listen when I tried to educate them the only way I knew how to deal with the pain of it, is to overpower them. I started accepting who I was. I started reading and educating myself on different sexualities and genders.

I, now, identify as a cis-gendered pansexual woman but I will admit that I’m still figuring myself out. I joined online support groups and met people with stories similar to mine and was able to make some wonderful friends. Listening to the stories of many, I understood that being myself wasn’t going to be easy because plenty of people still believed that people like me don’t deserve rights. We need to try our best to either educate or overpower them while also trying to help those who are suffering. Last year, with the help of my friends from the support group, I was able to come out to my mom, dad, sister and a few of my closest friends.

Fortunately, they understood where I came from and didn’t abandon me. My father took some time to fully understand it though and still doesn’t believe it. He believes that it’s “just a phase”, however my sister and I trying to make him understand that it isn’t a phase and that it is who I am. I hope someday he will be able to understand this fully. Compared to most, I’ve been lucky as most of the people I came out to, weren’t unkind and treated me the same as they did before. I do understand that most people aren’t as fortunate as me and face a lot more obstacles. I want to be able to help them deal with these issues and to not feel alone. With AIQA, I hope I can achieve that dream of mine.

Sushmita Ganguly