The nineties: a period where even the concept of sexual orientation was non-existent, leave alone LGBT+ rights – life was quite difficult for people from our community. You didn’t know how to place your feelings, whether your feelings were OK or not, and there was no one to talk to in confidence either. There wasn’t any internet, no media stories on LGBT+ people; just a more-or-less uniform stereotype of gay men being effeminate objects of ridicule. Schoolkids were routinely bullied for the way they talked, or the way they walked – and I remember so many of the gratuitous comments offered by teachers, friends, relatives on how to ‘man up’!
It was only during my college days, when the internet started to become prevalent that I realised I could finally find a term to define what I was feeling. I came to realise there were many people in India who were similar, even if not very visible, and that having an alternate sexual orientation was nothing to be ashamed about. Years passed, and I found a partner who has been with me for over 16 years now. Today, I have the privilege of being able to lead change in my workplace as the Chair of the SC Pride India LGBT+ resource group. It has been an incredible journey so far, and I have had a wonderfully supportive and encouraging environment at Standard Chartered.