GuysexualRecommends: ‘The Gay Man’s Guide To Dating’ at Korner House

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Nine years ago, as I watched Sex and the City reruns, I had a dream. I craved to have a book reading for my (hypothetical) book, smile and pose for the press, and giggle with my friends over cocktails after – just like Carrie Bradshaw did (without all the bad decisions and bad boyfriends tbh). I was twenty and silly.

Over the next decade, my dreams and passions changed, and so did I – but this cringeworthy one remained. Did I want to keep calm and Carrie on?

Obviously, because ZOMG IT’S FINALLY HAPPENING!

Come along to the Korner House this Friday and watch (and laugh at if you want to) me read excerpts from my debut e-novel,  ‘The Gay Man’s Guide To Dating’ by yours truly (there’s a fun Q&A about douchebags, desirable men and dating dilemmas after, and I am full of zany one liners and undeniable wit). It’s going to be a riot of words (and delicious appetisers!)

What:  ‘Should I Call First? And other dating dilemmas resolved!’: An exclusive reading from ‘The Gay Man’s Guide To Dating‘ by Juggernaut Books.

Where: 6-8 PM, Korner House, 21, Union Park, Khar (West), Mumbai -400052

 

Why should you go: Come along if you are a friend. Come along if you are someone who supports the cause. Come along if you want to know more about LGBT culture. Come along if Mean Girls is your favourite film. Come along if you are looking for (fun) relationship advice (or want to secretly diss and judge people who do). Come along to cheer me on. Come along to heckle me along for all you want. JUST COME ALONG, PLEASE?

The Avengers of Online Dating: Six Super Liars To Stay Away From!

 

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Staggering amounts of people lie on their online dating profiles.

People lie about their age, they lie about their weight, they lie about what they do, and sometimes they even lie about ‘who they do’ (or don’t). We all like to pretend to be someone else once in a while, and we love doing so especially on our dating profiles — pulling on those masks of deceit, and becoming the best version of ourselves — if superheroes (and supervillains) like the Avengers can do it, why shouldn’t we?

While our favourite ensemble might be gathering troops and picking sides to fight the Infinity War in the recently released trailer, these are the six (Sc)Avengers (doing the rounds of the online dating world) that you definitely need to avoid giving your infinity stone to:

The Hulk

In all his glory, the Hulk is your bulked up Adonis, with a profile to match. With his bulging biceps and cheekbones that need to grace a GQ feature, he looks like the ultimate Men’s Health model. But while it’s common for all of us to fudge the details of our height and weight a little (adding an inch or two or subtracting a kilogram or two from our stats as we fill up our profiles and our egos), the Hulk takes it to a whole new level.

I’ll let you in on something.

The Hulk has lied about his high cheekbones. He has lied about his side obliques that can cut glass. He even lied about those buns of steel. In all probability, your modern day Bruce Banner is a gawky 17-year-old who’s voice is just breaking.

Just like your heart is right now.

The Black Widow

Raj was verbally abusive. Sam told him to go see a therapist. Danny would never call back. Kabir found it hard to commit. Rajeev never stopped calling. Shyam decided to tell his friends why they broke up. Tom called up his mom to tell her that her son is a psycho. Akbar called him a cheating scumbag. Ryan threatened to set his house on fire.

Do you see the pattern? You obviously do. The Black Widow spins a gossamer web of lies that’s built on douchebag exes, quivering voicemails and heartbreaking breakups.

But that’s the thing. If a boy spews venom about an ex or two, it’s fine — we all have relationships that sour out. But if he badmouths every boy he’s ever been with, the chances that you are next on his kill list are as just as likely.

The Hawkeye

The Hawkeye is always watching.

With his keen sense of intuition and the hours he’s spent lurking on your social media feed, (memorising your tweets and liking your brunch pictures on Instagram) he knows the virtual version (and shape) of you by heart.

He knows you like your matcha tea, reality television and Internet cat videos. He knows you prefer your coffee black and your boys brown. He knows the street you live on, and (if he’s good), he even knows your bank account details.

He’ll use all these details to woo you: crack a ‘Bachelor in Paradise’ joke that he probably picked up from the internet, share a Instagram photo of his matcha Frappuccino, or tag you in a viral cat meme — it’s like a meet-cute from a movie, but also it’s just as scripted. He’ll continue pursuing you with all his likes and lies till he steals your heart away.

And if things don’t work out, he’ll use his skills to steal all your money instead.

The Iron Man

The Iron Man seems like he’s the Tony Stark of the online dating world. He’s suave, charming and seems like a man who knows everyone who matters — he tells you he’s had breakfast with A-listers from Bollywood (he’ll tell you about how Ranveer Singh makes the best gluten-free pancakes), he went bowling with Rob Kardashian that one time he was in Los Angeles (before the whole Blac Chyna showdown, obviously) and exchanges daily texts with the crown prince of Saudi Arabia (where they talk about stock prices and women’s rights).

‘I know so many famous people, I don’t think of them as famous people any more’ he gushes to you, over text. When you do take the leap of faith and believe him, and casually ask to share pictures of him with all his red carpet buddies — he mysteriously disappears on you, and you never get the VIP Pass access to his pants.

The Thor

Your blue-eyed boy is perfect on paper — he’s sweet, good-natured and (also) a treat to look at, plus his profile is spiked with inspirational quotes that change your life. He’s so amazing; he could be your custom-made Prince Charming on steroids. Does that sound too good to be true?

Because he is too good to be true. Your god of thunder is all rumble, and no spark when you two actually do meet, which will only happen once you share a dick pic on Grindr — after which the transformation from demigod to douchebag is as certain as another Thor sequel (the real one).

PS: No points for guessing that he doesn’t come with Thor’s magic hammer either (in his pants, or otherwise).

The Captain America

Our Captain America is sitting miles and miles away — either in a leased apartment that is the size (and smell) of a matchbox, or a hostel dorm room dang in the middle of Nowheresville — but here you have your favourite dating app telling you he’s saying hello just from two blocks away.

The king of fake GPS, our resident globetrotter travels all over the world looking for that special someone. He spends breakfast scouting for boys in New York, wastes lunch looking for men in Paris and grabs dinner as he swipes through all the guys in Delhi — he might not have the money to tour the men around the globe, but he definitely has the APK tool kit on his smartphone to look at (and talk to) all of them. Chances are that as you read this sentence, he’s probably cosying up to dudes in Amsterdam, while he flicks channels in his flat in Ahmedabad.

The 111 Thoughts You Have While Talking To A Homophobe

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1. Uh-oh. Look who it is, I can’t do this again.
2. I hope he doesn’t see me, I hope he doesn’t see me…
3. This is the most interested I’ve ever been in my mojito.
4. Is that an ant in my drink?
5. Oh damn. He saw me. Why does this always happen to me? I swear to god if he comes and says hello right now, I would just kill —
6. Too late.
7. Umm, hello to you too…
8. Okay, that’s not an ant in my drink either. Phew.
9. Oh yeah, I’ve been great. Thanks for asking.
10. And no, I am not here with my girlfriends.
11. You find that surprising? Pity.
12. Yeah, it’s amazing how many hot girls I know….
13. …No, they haven’t converted me yet.
14. I am still into boys.
15. Yeah, funny how that works.
16. Not really.
17. Do I want to hear another joke?
18. Pray do tell. What am I here for?
19. Umm, no. Not THAT one.
20. Yeah, it’s really funny that I am not drinking a Cosmopolitan.
21. That wasn’t a joke. I was being sarcastic.
22. Maybe I should laugh a little too loudly so that he gets the point.
23. Okay, I might have gone overboard with the back thumping.
24. Yikes! My arm accidentally touched his chest.
25. Does he think I am hitting on him?
26. He definitely thinks I am hitting on him.
27. Look at the way he’s looking at me. So beady.
28. I am going to drink another mojito. Really, really fast.
29. He just started a sentence with ‘I’m not homophobic but…’
30. This is going to be interesting.
31. Oh no. I take that back.
32. Did he JUST say that penis and penis don’t go together?
33. They did in that sentence, sir. Just saying.
34. NO. Two men having sex is NOT weird.
35. Your face is weird.
36. Thank god my mojito is here.
37. Let’s chug this.
38. Oh yes, but you are ‘gay-friendly’. I am going to take your word for it.
39. That’s just going to be another lie I’ll pretend to believe and nod.
40. He said that again. Maybe I should nod again.
41. Okay I feel funny. Too much head shaking is happening.
42. Yeah, yeah, I am okay… I am not a lightweight.
43. Har har. You are so humorous.
44. No being a lightweight is NOT a gay thing.
45. How many other gay men do you know anyway?
46. Yeah, I did not take offence at what you just said.
47. Oh yes, it’s definitely surprising considering how ‘gay men love drama’.
48. We don’t, really. Drama loves us.
49. You know what else loves us?
50. Great metabolism, pretty girls and success.
51. And an amazing sense of style.
52. Yes, I am judging you for wearing those crocs to the bar.
53. It’s not even raining.
54. And yes, I am going to drink slowly. You don’t need to tell me.
55. You aren’t my mother. Don’t use that tone with me.
56. What do you mean do I even drink beer?
57. Yes, I love beer.
58. I can drink a whole six-pack.
59. Those are not the only six packs I love.
60. LOL. Sometimes I am so funny.
61. Does he think I am laughing at his joke?
62. He definitely does.
63. Oh great, he wants to call for beers for us.
64. Wow, I am honored that you think I’m like one of your ‘straight buds’.
65. Yes, I think we should do this more often too, ‘mate’.
66. Gah. I can’t fist bump him on that.
67. What if I pretend I didn’t see it?
68. Quick! Look the other way! Look the other way!
69. Too late.
70. Surprise surprise! Yes, I do know how to fist bump.
71. Yeah, we gay boys fist bump too.
72. Why am I even still talking to this person?
73. Where’s my beer?
74. Oh. There it is. I am going to chug it and scoot off.
75. Three, two, one…here goes.
76. Okay, that wasn’t a good idea.
77. Damn. I shouldn’t have had that beer.
78. Yes, I know that drinking a pint is like eating seven slices of bread.
79. How do I know that? What do you think I am?
80. I read about it on Mashable.
81. No, I didn’t learn about that on Pinterest.
82. Sweet mother of lord. Is this man for real?
83. No. I don’t even have a Pinterest account.
84. Yeah, I also don’t follow Kim Kardashian on Instagram.
85. Don’t ask me who my favourite Kardashian sister is. I won’t answer the question.
86. What’s that even supposed to mean?
87. I should most certainly punch him.
88. No wait. I won’t.
89. Or maybe I will.
90. I can’t do this anymore.
91. CAN’T EVEN.
92. Wait, look at the time!
93. Oh, is it time for you to head to bed already? Such a pity.
94. Should we call for the cheque?
95. Yes, we’ll call for the cheque.
96. No we are splitting it. Most definitely.
97. Yeah, gay men split cheques. Why are you so surprised?
98. You should write a book. You should call it ‘Stupid Things Not To Say To Gay Men’.
99. I’ll help you publish it.
100. You don’t even need to give me credits.
101. A mention in the acknowledgments would do.
102. OH YAAAAS! The cheque is here.
103. And that’s my half. Smile.
104. It was so great running into you. Yes, I’ll find my cab. What? I am not bad with directions? Haha, you really tear me up!
105. But not really.
106. Let’s never do this again.
107. Oh great, he’s leaving.
108. THANK GAWD.
109. Time to go home and watch RuPaul’s Drag Race reruns.
110. I should probably pick up a bottle of Pinot Noir on the way.
111. Maybe I’ll just get some beer instead.

An Additional 25 Men Not To date in 2017

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There are a great number of great men in this world.

You can probably count them on one hand. In this haystack of hot men (or lack thereof), there are sadly, only a few shiny needles that you want to take back home. Unfortunately, the world is full of wrong men that you’d never want to see ever again, in a haystack or otherwise.

Is there a test that helps you sort out the frogs from the fresh-faced Prince Charmings? Not really, but if your potential playmate checks off any of the items of this list then it’s probably a good idea to leave him in the pond you found him in.

You did great in bypassing The 75 Boys Not To Date in 2017 here, here and here , but you still have a long way to go. Ready to start counting?

So never date a man who…

  1. Addresses the wait staff rudely.

A wise man once said, ‘Never judge a man by how he treats his equals, but by how he treats his inferiors.’ Okay, it was Sirius Black in the Goblet Of Fire.

2. Calls you ‘baby’.

You see that tremor on my face? It’s not love. And never will be.

3. Wears slippers with trousers.

You know that moment when you see slippers sticking out of trousers? It’s that precise moment when my mind shuts down and I start singing Taylor Swift’s ‘We Are Never Getting back Together’ in my head, when in actuality, I am singing sweet nothings into the boy’s ears.

4. Uses more than one hash tag in a tweet.

#It #Is #Not #Cool #When #You #Talk #Like #This.

5. Has drunken stories from Tuesday night.

No one should ever have drunken stories from a Tuesday night. They aren’t called the Terrible Tuesdays without a reason, are they?

6. Posts more than one selfie a week.

Negative credits if any of these are included: the duck face, gun flexing, trial room testing and the classic ‘t-shirt lift to reveal a bed of abs’.

7. Tells you that Murakami is his favourite author.

He’s probably only read Norwegian Wood.

8. Doesn’t eat the crusts of his pizza.

Picky eaters never make for good lovers. Trust me. Also, that crust? That’s sex on a plate.

9. Doesn’t really have friends his age.

You know what that means? It means that entire generations of people have obviously avoided him for a reason.

10. Repeats his jokes.

If people didn’t laugh at your joke the first time, it’s obviously because they didn’t get it. Right?

11. Signs off his emails with an inspirational quote he’s picked off the Internet.

Are we living in 2002 again? Keep it simple, crisp and end it with your last name.

12. Expects you to instantly fall in love with all his favourite things.

‘Oh wow, Quantum Physics is so much fun,’ said no one ever.

13. Says he is always busy.

You know what he actually is? Full of excuses.

14. Starts off a story with, ‘That one time I beat someone up…’

‘Nuff said.

15. Thinks that women are feminists because they want it easy.

I am sorry, but you have it easy because you are a male chauvinist pig.

16. Thinks that it’s cool to make racist jokes.

The only thing that is even less funny than him is my diet.

17. Texts you way too much.

‘Hi!’

‘Good morning!’

‘What’s happening?’

‘I am bored.’

‘What did you have for lunch?’

‘Are you busy?’

‘Hello?’

‘Good night!’

18. Sneezes without covering his mouth.

Get out of this faster than his germs get to you.

19. Doesn’t like brunch.

Only evil, heartless people don’t like brunch.

And restaurant owners who have lunch deals.

20. Thinks that Instagram is a waste of time.

Hello, you are a waste of time.

21. Only texts you post-midnight.

No, he’s not texting you to wish you good night, he’s texting you to find out whether he can come over. But not in a romantic ‘Should-I-get-you-soup?’ kind of way.

22. Uses the word ‘fetch’ in conversation.

Stop trying to make ‘fetch’ happen, Gretchen.

23. Hasn’t watched Mean Girls ever.

If you haven’t watched this Tina Fey beauty, which defines the crux of every gay person’s high school years, we are no longer friends. You can’t sit with us!

24. Tries to dress sexily at the gym.

We do not care if your vest matches your shoes, sir, but can I use the treadmill, please

25. Writes listicles about what kind of men not to date.

Sounds like a total douchebag, but I’ve heard he’s a good kisser.

Do you think there are even more wrong men out there for everyone here? Tweet me and let me know!

Happy Damaged Men: Is Broken the new bad?

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It’s the second date.

We are in that no-man’s land between deciding whether we want to tell each other our favourite Game Of Thrones character or deciding who pays for dinner tonight. In the last 40-odd minutes, he’s told me he’s an alcoholic, wrote a long vicious email to an ex who he broke up with and is now so broken that he can never get into a serious relationship. And I thought we were only getting dinner.

If I collect any more red flags, I can start my own souvenir shop. Would you like to buy one for your friends back home?

“So I might have to go grab dinner with a few friends later. Do you mind if we just get a drink at home instead?” he asks me, stirring me out of my monologue-inspired reverie. It’s only 6.30 pm. The sun is still out, deciding what to do in the dull city sky. Ranveer is an executive producer with a media mogul — in his plush suburban apartment; he only sees the things I don’t. I don’t blame him — why would he see the white picket fence dream when he has a sea-facing view? Why can’t he be like every second profile on Grindr — sane and sorted, butlooking for fun?

I agree to the drink nevertheless (White rum, four cubes of ice, some lime water). I also agree to other things.

Hugs are exchanged when I leave two hours later.

Continue reading Happy Damaged Men: Is Broken the new bad?

The Guysexual’s Guide to Every Gay Man’s Treasure Chest of One Liners

 

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Gay men are a lot of things.

We might come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and have temperaments as diverse as the cast of Grey’s Anatomy, but it all boils down to one thing in the end — as homosexual men, we are a storehouse of corny one-liners, sassy quips and stereotypical jokes that’ll put all the Kardashian Sisters (even the new ones) to shame. Don’t believe me?

Well, whether you are a red-blooded activist who churns out slogans for breakfast, or a social butterfly who sleeps when it’s time to have breakfast, it’s a given that we’ve all been guilty of having said at least a few of these (often cringe worthy) well-worded gems:

Continue reading The Guysexual’s Guide to Every Gay Man’s Treasure Chest of One Liners

#GuysexualRecommends: Salvation Star’s Taboo Soiree: Get Them To The Greek?

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What: Salvation Star’s Taboo Soiree!

Where: Thalassa, Khar, Mumbai.

When: 9:30 PM onwards, Saturday, 15th July 2017.

Why: Half the year might be over, but the party definitely isn’t.

As Salvation Star returns with its sassiness at Thalassa, I’ve got only one thing to say. If you love Greek food as much as I love Greek men, this is the soiree to be #spotted at.
Now, go be found.

Meet The Men 3.0: The Sapiosexual

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Ranveir, 27, is a high-profile accountant with a high-profile MNC.
And yes, that’s how he describes himself.

He likes his matcha tea and his sourdough bread, and twice a month, he likes walking his dog on weekends. Ranveir guffaws at racist jokes, and occasionally ghosts a nice guy because ‘things are moving too fast, and I can’t handle all the expectations of this relationship’.

While the fact that he spells his name that way might ring a warning bell, something else seals the deal.

Ranveir is a self-proclaimed sapiosexual. How does it change anything?

Let’s get it straight. The word sapiosexual is thrown around as casually as the phrase ’sane and sorted’ is used on Grindr. It’s a security blanket used by boys to keep the douchebags away (completely unaware that it makes them sound like one too), assuming it’s going to draw in a string of smart, suave and eligible men straight to the bedroom (and beyond). But that’s the thing.

All the smart, suave, eligible men are taken.
And they don’t call themselves sapiosexuals.

Continue reading Meet The Men 3.0: The Sapiosexual

#30DaysOfPride: 30 Gay Men Tell Me What Pride Means To Them

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June marked LGBTIQA Pride month.

To honour the #30DaysOfPride, I asked 30 different men what #Pride meant to them. The answers poured in from all over my little black book — from actors and illustrators, journalists and doctors, entrepreneurs and bankers. The fact that I have a huge social circle aside, here’s what they had to say about every gay man’s favourite little word (which is not Grindr):

‘Pride means spreading the rainbow love, just like a leprechaun. It’s about finding your pot of gold. Only, the pot of gold is acceptance.’

— Jaysh, film-maker

‘Pride is a platform to show that celebration has no gender or sexuality; and that we stand together as one — gay, straight, and transgendered. I feel like it’s a system that encourages more people to come out to themselves and then to the world.’

— Swapnil, computer whiz

‘Pride means the freedom to be whoever I want to be — fierce, feisty or fabulous. Freedom from prejudice. Freedom from hate. Freedom from Section 377.’

— Siddhanth (name changed), student

‘Pride is the distant hope of self-acceptance.  Am I okay being gay? Yes. Am I proud of it? Not fully yet. But I know I’ll reach there sooner than later. That said, I wish there was more representation for the LBT side of the community. Unfortunately, it’s still a ‘Man’s World’ here. Is there a Grindr for lesbians?’

— Akshat, advertising guru

‘Pride means pushing the government to legalise gay sex. Let’s be the democracy that we proudly say that we are.’

— Hayden, entrepreneur

‘Pride means not looking down on people who are proud to be the best version of themselves. Let’s stop the hate, and spread some love?’

— Arnav, video editor

‘Pride is a feeling of being comfortable with who you are, and being comfortable in your skin. It’s the simplest kind of joy there is.’

— Sumeet, fashion god

‘Pride is the one formal occasion where you can address the issue of your sexual orientation with the public without any preface — you simply don’t need one. It’s nice to have it out there, even if one doesn’t attend — that doesn’t need to bind you. But I’d love to see more allies attending. It’d be nice to know in person that our friends actually support us. The little things matter the most, don’t they?’

— Ganesh (name changed), copy editor

‘Pride means empowerment, freedom and inclusiveness. And the world (and we) could with a bit more of all the three.’

— Sahil, fashion manager

‘Pride for me is essentially doing away with any form of stereotypical associations and labels surrounding the community (yes, that includes rainbows and unicorns) while, it is also about NOT being judgmental. Each one of us is a distinct universe in itself, and our sexuality is a mere planet – this thought needs to percolate the mind of every human in the world.’

— Guru (name changed), cyclist

‘Pride means making the world a better place to live in, because we are better human beings, aren’t we? Now how about we welcome some gay bars in the country, and get some hot Latinos as well?’

— Oshan, marketing strategist

‘Pride means loving myself, and telling my demons to go take a hike.’

— Jacob, writer

‘Pride means positivity. It means that we have to stop discriminating within our own community based on body type and behaviour! You say “No fats, no femmes”? I say you are a douchebag.’

— John, analyst

‘I have an issue with the word Pride. To me, it is a reflective word wherein it segregates one kind from another. I would rather we use the world equality — for all sexes and sexual orientations, races, ethnicities and religions.  Equality will be a better goal. Not everybody was born equal, and not everybody wants the same things in life. I believe that we need legal and social-cultural instruments that allow for diversity. Beyond the legal and social struggles that plague the LGBT community in our heteronormative and patriarchal world, I have a sinking suspicion that the bigger challenge for the LGBT community will be fighting its own internal hypocrisy and inequality. I hope more people realised that.’

— Usmaan (name changed), architect

‘Pride is representation. It’s normalising the stigma that stunts diversity. For every little boy who goes to bed scared to keep a secret, Pride represents strength. To claim the life that is a privilege to many, but an everyday battle of coming out for us.’

— Anuj, consultant

‘They don’t call it a #Pride of lions just for aesthetics.’

— Kartik, copywriter

‘Pride here is San Francisco’s equivalent of Diwali or Christmas, without all the high-pressure gift giving or the elevator music. It’s a time for people to celebrate who they are, and unapologetically be themselves. But it’s also an occasion to celebrate everything that the LGBT community has achieved so far, and how much more work remains in the march to equality and acceptance around the world. Here’s hoping that Supreme Court of India finally acts on the issue, and more people speak up for the rights of the community.’

— Dhruv, doctor

‘Pride isn’t a week nor is it something that I seek. It’s not something that I wish for, nor does it define me. My sexuality is my business, just as a heterosexual man’s is. I don’t try to celebrate it, as I don’t mean to mark myself any different.’

— Kaustav (name changed), strategist

‘I am proud not for being a homosexual, but for the self-assertion that I am gay. Queer people just need a tad more self-acceptance and self-pride, because we constantly face challenges and doubts about ourselves. I want more and more people to come out; we need to show that we exist — after all, fighting for the rights of an invisible community will always be difficult, and we’ve already got a lot on our plate.’

— Deepak, psychologist

‘Pride is a bunch of mixed feelings. I believe in breaking the rules, and colouring outside the borders. For me, Pride represents emotions. It represents fight. It represents courage. It means that we are unequal, which is why one has to fight for justice.’

— Ronak, data analyst

‘Pride means homosexuality is so much more than just being a Lady Gaga song.’

— Raj (name changed), actor

‘To me, Pride is an amalgamation of three things.  To be comfortable with who you are and be able to exude the same, to acknowledge and be thankful for those who’ve stood up against the oppression, and to finally be cognizant of the fact that each one of us can be an agent of change in our own way, however big or small, to speak up about measures of inequality.’

— Ishaan, idea maker

‘#Pride means owning up to your orientation. It’s that simple.’

— Jaymin, founder at Salvation Star

‘To quote Albert Camus, “the only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion”. When myriad colours, flamboyant attire and in-your-face unabashed sexuality walks along with the skeptical mask-wearing first-timers, the one message that resonates from Pride is of upholding individual liberty and respecting choice.’

— Aman, health consultant

‘Equal rights and equal opportunities. That goes without saying.’

— Rafael, illustrator

‘Pride is the antithesis of shame. The shame that queer people feel for being who they are, and that most continue feeling periodically over time. I feel like it is one of the steps we take towards not feeling this shame. What the country needs are more spaces in the cities where LGBT folks can socialise, outside of the regular bi-monthly parties. A space where we can finally, be.’

— Vinit, finance consultant

‘Pride is the mainstreaming of a conversation that all levels of Indian society need to engage in. LGBTQ folk come from all sections of the society and have many shared concerns: acceptance and normalcy being the top of the list. Pride helps bring that to light. At the same time, it also means being aware, sensitive and having conversations that might seem difficult: About HIV, hatred that stems from ignorance, our own biases and widespread loneliness. Pride needs to be a life long commitment, not just a day of merriment and brash defiance.’

— Varun, journalist

‘It’s something we shouldn’t be needing if we received equal treatment, but which we now have to display loudly just to kick sense into the minds of mud heads. If that doesn’t work, maybe a baseball bat would do. Just saying.’

— Kurien, chemical researcher

‘Pride is about inclusivity, even for all the gay men with the white-collar jobs.’

— Karan, stylist

‘Pride means being proud of who you are. It means quitting comparing yourself with others and loving yourself for what you stand for. What do I see for the future then? Better, comprehensive mental health care services for the LGBTIQA youth and anti-bullying laws that are more stringent.’

— Alok, food blogger