We, at FT Broadcast, try our best to get attention to issues that deserve attention, and give voice to those who need to take their own stand. We had an opportunity to talk to PranavKelkar, a student at IHM, Mumbai, and part-time model, who happens to openly stand for LGBT community and is also gay. Here’s the conversation we had with him.
When did you realize that your sexuality is different compared to the others you knew?
I think it was in 8th grade. And in a very weird way, that too. The movie Dostana, was pretty new then, and everyone was mocking me in school because they’d realized how ‘gay’ I act. Till that time, I just assumed I was straight and just a bit different compared to others. I did try to blend in a lot, but it never worked well. I was being mocked for my ladylike ways every second I was around my so-called friends. It wasn’t until I hit a guy for mockery that they finally stopped. That too, I clearly remember a guy behind me say,”Yehtohmardhaiyaar.” Because being gay made me less of a man, apparently.
What were your initial thoughts when you realized that you might not be straight?
As I said, I discovered it in a very weird fashion. For a really long time, when I understood what GAY is, even then I felt like it was wrong. I felt like there was something wrong with me. That it’s unacceptable to be this way. Moreover, I could see other kids being treated nicely, while I was being bullied.
Have you come out of the closet?
Yes, absolutely. It’s out there in the open. I have absolutely no regrets about the same. I came out to my originality, to who I am, as a person. Regrets are for those, who cannot accept me for who I am.
Who was the first person you confided in?
My elder brother. That’s one thing I regret. I confided in him, trusting him, and assuming he’s smart and would help out when I need it. I had also put a condition before him- that he won’t tell anyone at all, until I’m okay with it, and the time is right. But he betrayed me the very next day, and went ahead and told our mother. Moreover, he said it in a way, that made it look like it’s wrong to be gay but because I’m part of the family, they have to accept me now. I was really disappointed in him.
How hard was it accepting the situation?
It was really hard for me. I cried days and nights. I was really really broken. I still am, in all honesty, but now I’m just immune to whatever anyone has to say against me. And the thing here is, it’s not like people don’t get you. No, for that to happen, they need to at least WANT to get you. And that doesn’t happen. It’s funny how so many of us are educated and know about LGBT, but are still ignorant.
How supportive about your sexuality is your family?
They aren’t really supportive. From what I said, I think it’s safe to say, that my brother definitely isn’t supportive of me being gay. My mother even threatened to disown me once. Although she’s made peace with it now, every now and then we have our differences rising up. Father on the other hand, could care less about anything. He was the one who was least hateful about me being gay.
What is something you look forward to, regarding the current situation of the LGBT community?
I feel like the ‘T’ in LGBT, just doesn’t get their own voice. Gays are males, lesbians are females, and bisexuals ofcourse represent their own gender. But, what about transgenders? They are stuck somewhere, and get treated way worse than us homosexuals. It’s high time they got the respect that they so badly deserve. Moreover, I feel like they need to stop calling it a community. We are all one. LGBT as well as straight people. By making us a community, you aren’t just making boundaries here, but also making it seem like we’re self-sufficient and that we don’t need acceptance.
Any message you’d like to convey through FT broadcast?
Instead of having pride parades, we should organize educational camps; where children from schools can be taught about LGBT so that at least they do not bully their schoolmates, and at least the next generation might turn out to be more open to Homosexuals, bisexuals and transgenders. More onscreen liberty should be allowed too. I’m not saying that they should show a gay pair making out on TV, but I feel like there is no harm in showing a gay pair being a pair. And hopefully, a change of laws might come soon.