Neha Nath, 27
I’ve always liked women. In fact in Class 7, I gave a classmate a card and it went all over school. Everyone teased me and called me gay. While I was embarrassed I wasn’t sure what it meant until at 17, I learnt the meaning of the word lesbian.
I had been abused by men when I was younger. I was all of seven when a bus conductor misbehaved with me. My karate professor turned out to be a creep. The worst though was an abuse I had to bear by an uncle in the family. I was so scared. I didn’t know how to react and couldn’t tell anyone because such things were not discussed in our family. My first relationship was when I was 17.
Appearance wise, I was more boyish earlier than now. Often on local trains, women would snigger saying, “Ladka hai ke ladki?” ( Is it a boy or a girl?) Each time, I would break from inside. But today, after therapy and repeating the word lesbian out loud, I am at peace with my identity. I feel comfortable about confiding in a woman as a friend or a lover.
My parents know but haven’t been able to come to terms with it. My father still dreams of me marrying a man someday. But my relatives are ok with my choice. If it’s really about grandchildren, lesbian couples should legally be allowed to adopt.
And the upside to it all — it’s a lot more fun being with a woman — you get to know more about shoes, bags and clothes!
— As told to Shalini Singh