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Veiled Life - Living the Lie

Credit: abbey-roads
As Hannah Montana wisely quotes "Life is a climb, but the view is great". We should climb to enjoy the view. Perseverance is the key to climb especially if it is a precipice. Gay life is like a precipice. Steep, dangerous and unpredictable. Another quote I would like to mention is by the Greek philosopher Thucydides "the secret of happiness is freedom and the secret of freedom is courage". Yes, gay men have freedom from family bonding, kids and related stuff, they have all the time in the world, but do they really enjoy that freedom. Do they live courageously? Some of them do, but many others live a miserable closeted life. 

My hetero friends used to ask me why do you worry so much over this gay thing, everybody is having their own problems, it is not for you only and your problems are not at all different from heterosexual people. But do they really understand the gravity of our problems. Not really. Living a life in fear, living a life in oblivion, living the life under a mask, unless you are in that position, nobody will understand. I would like to call it "a veiled life". That is why when people "come out", they feel really confident and relaxed. Coming out is a welcome relief for a gay man, the burden is thrown away. But sometimes it comes at the cost of disownment, social alienation,  outrage, disgust and hatred. Many things are at stake, especially in rural settings where people don't even understand this whole thing. Coming out itself is stressful and extremely difficult. If you don't come out, life will become a  big lie. Your parents deserve to know about you, but you cannot make them understand or you fear their reaction. Mothers sometimes understand, but fathers mostly disapprove. 

As you grow, eventually the inevitable question pops up "When is your marriage". Great. You should come up with some solid reasons (hard to find once you get a decent job) for avoiding marriage like "you are different", "you don't like kids", "now you are interested in  studies only" and the likes. Some people doubt you are having some reproductive problems or you are afraid of jumping onto bed. Well, no need to correct them as reproductive problem is a far better reason for annulling marriage than revealing that you are gay. Some people finally succumb to the family pressure and get married. Can they be faithful and dutiful husbands? I doubt that. Some of my friends describe such a feeling as "Trapped". Yes, indeed, they will feel trapped. Performance anxiety, emotional disturbances and even divorce will be on cards. Some will cope up and will live like "robots", once the "pro-creation" is performed successfully (proven bull and there will not be any further questions by society), their physical and emotional venting can then happen through casual gay encounters during travel and arranged meetings.

Being single is okay for most gay men, but some like to have committed partners. A gay man is supposed to be a chronic bachelor as most gay men are commitment phobic. It is very difficult to get a decent partner, very rare indeed. At the same time, hook-ups are easy and rampant. Another fear that lurks is the fear of being alone in old age. As gay men don't have kids normally, the threat of an unattended miserable death looms over their life. Death like a lonely dog. Who will want such a low life. But it is a possibility.

The whole gay scene is tragic. Films catch the representative mood of respective society and portray the prevalent societal mind set. Just compare gay films and heterosexual films. Hetero films are mostly comedies, all is well, he and she live happily ever after, contrastingly, most gay films are somber, poignant and tragic tales in which the partners either separate or die due to AIDS (exceptions are there as usual). With section 377 intact, all gay men will be forced to live a guarded and extremely cautious life which makes it enormously stressful.

A zillion reports show that mental health of gay men is disastrous when compared to heterosexuals. Gay men are many times more prone to substance abuse, depression, anxiety and suicide. As a UK report says, "There is this cliche that we are all having a great time partying, but actually we know, and the research is now showing, there are a hell of a lot of unhappy gay people; far higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicide than among straight men; far higher rates of self-destructive behavior; substance abuse and sex addiction; and high levels of issues around intimacy and forming relationships." Low self esteem is a predominant feature of gay kids as the self inflicted or peer mediated isolation happens from childhood. Schools usually becomes hell for gay kids.

Researchers say that “There are a number of reasons why gay people may be more likely to report psychological difficulties, which include difficulties growing up in a world orientated to heterosexual norms and values and the negative influence of social stigma against homosexuality". Coming out and supportive therapy can relieve the stress. Recent studies show that those who had come out are less stressed than closeted homosexuals and even less stress hormones than some heterosexual counterparts. Coming out can make you live longer too. Great news. Coming out is no longer a matter of popular debate but a matter of public health. We should not be worried too much about these reports, no need to be hysteric as scientists also say that "homosexuality is not inherently pathological." Newer studies of gay and lesbian youth finds that they are only slightly more likely than heterosexual youth to attempt suicide, refuting previous research that suggested much higher rates (link). Comforting news indeed.

Comedian  Stephen Colbert made a pun on his show, 

“As an incredible straight man, I’m incredibly stressed out. I mean, I am a ticking time bomb. That’s why every time I accidentally wander into a gay bar and see all those happy people, I shout, ‘I’m ready to blow!’”

See, these heterosexual people are also stressed out and they envy us.  So shed your worries and live strong. Be proud and live gay.

PS: Check out this site (link) where you can find articles about mental health  for gay lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. The authenticity of the information given is subject to your own discretion. :)


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