* Any views expressed in this opinion piece are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
One day you'll embrace being a woman, being gay and being half-Indian
Tara Suri is Senior National Account Manager at Procter & Gamble
Dear Little T,
I’m writing to you from the year 2021 with, would you believe it, curly hair. Turns out that despite a decade of straightening, you have great natural curls… embrace them! It’ll save you a lot of time in the mornings. Besides, Jess loves them and that brings me to the more important point.
Throughout your teenage years, you’re going to realise that you’re a little different from some of your friends.
A guy called Zac Efron is going to become famous soon and all your female friends are going to be obsessed with him. You’re going to wonder why you don’t feel the same, and why you’d rather have a poster of Sophia Bush on your bedroom wall.
It’s totally natural to feel that way, and I promise it’s nothing to feel ashamed of. You are free to trust your feelings, whoever they manifest towards – be it a boy, a girl, or nobody at all. Your attraction to girls will ultimately guide who you fall in love with later in life, and that’s where Jess comes in.
Despite what you think and feel right now, I promise, you’ll meet her one day and it’ll feel like all the elements in your life have fallen into place.
Before that though, there are a few tricky years where you come to terms with the idea that you’re attracted to girls. And then you’ll have to tell your friends, family, mum and dad. You’re going to struggle with your self-identity for a while and try to hide it by telling people you like boys too.
Honestly, labels aren’t important, but society wants you to pick one. The one you end up feeling most comfortable with is “gay”.
On the topic of “coming out”, some people think it’s a phase at first, but they soon understand you’re serious. In fact, mum, dad and Harsha are all incredibly supportive of your relationships from day one.
Unfortunately, “coming out” doesn’t stop at mum, dad and your friends at school. Every time you meet somebody new; whether that be friends, teammates or colleagues, they’ll assume you’re heterosexual until told otherwise.
Luckily, so far nobody has really been that bothered about it. Especially the rugby girls, they embrace diversity from all walks of life, and you’ll feel right at home with them! The fear of coming out never goes away, but just remember that being gay is something to be proud of.
As you get older, you’ll start to notice that being a woman, being gay, and being half Indian, are all parts of who you are. You can’t change that.
Eventually you’ll learn to embrace these things, even though your tolerance to spicy food never really improves. The sooner you learn that having straight hair, wearing clothes from Tammy Girl, and painting your bedroom pink are not really the things that make you happy, the better.
Your love for David Beckham isn’t a phase though, that one sticks for life!
The world is changing in so many ways, and women’s voices are stronger than ever. But sometimes, even in 2021, it’ll feel like you’re the only gay woman in the world. That most certainly isn’t the case, but every now and again you’ll look around and feel a little bit out of place.
I don’t really have the answer for you on that one, but we’re still working on it.