Shunned By His Own People For His Sexual Identity, Arpit Bhalla Found Support In His ‘Chosen’ Family
- IWB Post
- May 7, 2019
When it comes to the status of the LGBTQ community in India, it is still balanced precariously on the edge of the positive and negative mentality people have towards them. But while their own family may refuse to accept their identity, their chosen family vows to stand by their side through thick and thin, something which Delhi’s Arpit Bhalla is grateful for.
Growing up in Haryana in a family that is rather narrow-minded when it comes to understanding the LGBTQ community, Arpit had zero hopes ever finding support from his relatives. Social media was his escape, where he “received support from people of the community from around the world through.”
But after the Section 377 verdict, when Arpit was living in Delhi and a reputed newspaper carried an interview with him, all hell broke loose.
“It was a difficult time for me. My father and my uncle dropped into my flat in Delhi at 11:30 in the night, and were persistent that they want to take me back to Haryana forcefully. I tried to jump from the 5th floor flat because they were trying to force me into going back, but my friend helped me a lot during this time and stopped me from doing things. Also, my landlord’s opinion on the whole thing surprised me a lot. He came up during this ruckus and told my father that I have the right to be where I want to be as an adult. One of my friends, Sai took me to her place and made me stay there for 2 days after the incident,” he recalled.
Reflecting on how the community and his straight friends have given him the respect and support he deserves, he said, “There is no limit to the support you get from the community. I can call so many people my chosen family like Abhina Aher, a foremost trans-activist, whom I consider my mother. Other activists like Simran Sheikh, Sylvester Merchant, Gautam Yadav, and Rohit Sarkar have also supported me throughout. I have grown up learning from them, and now I get to work with them. Isn’t that exciting?”
“Also, it was so liberating to come out to my straight friends and I have seen them change over the years. They are a big support system and have always been by my side. There is this straight cis-woman, Sandipa whom I met at a tea-stall on campus, and now we are like family. We talk to each 10 times a day about everything. Without my chosen family, I would not have been able to continue living my life in my own terms,” he added.
H/T: Gaysi family