While India along with rest of the world fights to get the LGBT community their rights and acceptance in the society, a Mumbai-based actor fought the fear social stigma and publicly came out as ‘Gay’ in a country where one’s sexual orientation is something frowned upon.
He was initially afraid of what society might think of him, but few years back decided to give it a shot and came out to his parents.
“I always knew I had different preferences, but throughout my childhood I silenced myself and pretended to be someone else… When I was sexually attracted to a boy at 14, I tried my best to subdue it. I began to spend more time reading online, wondering if maybe I wasn’t the only one…and I wasn’t! It still took me 3 years to ‘come out’ to my parents— and they were devastated.”
He told Humans of Bombay about his journey from there and how him coming out had initially distanced him from his parents.
“Over the next few years, we grew apart but I was determined to show them my world and at 21, I made my first gay themed short film, ‘Logging Out’. I won an international award for it, but after watching that movie, the distance between my parents and me completely disappeared.”
Bagwe, who over the years has made many more movies about homosexuality and LGBT community, said that the equation between him and his parents since his first movie completely changed and they began to have a healthy discussion with him about LGBT community and their rights.
“We began to have healthy discussions about LGBT rights and when my relatives started bad mouthing me, I didn’t even need to say anything– my parents defended me the whole way. “
I’ve organised a number of Gay Pride Parades, and my mother recently walked with a placard that read, ‘I am proud of my Gay Child’! — and that was the best feeling in the world!”
Even as India is struggling to abolish Section 377 of the IPC and make same-sex marriages legal, Bagwe, like every other Indian dream’s to getting married in the “traditional Indian way” and then adopting many children with his partner.
For now I’m focusing on my career and the cause… (but) in a few years, I see myself marrying a good man in front of my family and friends in the traditional Indian way, hopefully. We’ll adopt children and a stray dog and grow old together…that’s the dream.”