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Gay Wellbeing in the Life after 377: My Quest for Forming a Sustainable Community

Mukul Kr Sarma

My letter in the Assam Tribune (‘Life after 377’, September 22, 2018) raises some issues of a sexual minority called the gay community.  One of the completely unaddressed problems of gays of Assam is their ‘deteriorating mental health as they hide among heterosexuals having the similar gender expressions of heterosexuals, bearing utter suppression, self-loathing, denial and fear’. This ‘most discriminated, stigmatized and fearful’ community has seen a glimpse of dignity and hope after the Supreme Court’s verdict on September 6, 2018, that decriminalized consensual gay-sex. However, it seems, no policy is framed so far for the wellbeing of this community. The paper explores challenges of hidden gay youths-that I have realized communicating and counselling some of them-to conform to their true sexuality as they have been growing in a strict heteronormative milieu suppressing and often ignoring their true sexual desire owing to severe peer, family and societal pressure and lack of sensitization in a gay friendly atmosphere where they could access to some solid references of Assamese gays living truthful, happy life with their gay life-partners. This gay group have members in their mid-twenties,   near thirty and in the thirties. They have dated girls, and have been forming heterosexual dreams of starting a family marrying a girl since adolescence; hence, have realised their gay desire quite late. The paper tries to capture their conflicts in the realisation of their true-self; that they still try to deny; and hence, move towards entering a bisexual life with sighs of loss, helplessness and confusions. All of them have been in depression or other psychiatric illnesses-mild to noticeable-which some of them have admitted to having gone through. A majority of them have lost the urge of competing for earning; and hence, financially dependent on the family, although almost all of them have a graduate degree and above. However, there is hardly any psychiatric intervention for promoting their mental health due to their own ignorance and stigma, raising some questions: Will they be able to make a new family happy after marriage? , Should we support the heterosexual marriage of gays? , What is the way out, if not?

Gender Studies, Social Welfare, Society
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