Written by Buttertoes
Back when I was a teenager, I used to keep a diary. I tried writing it every day in an effort to freeze my days in words so that one day I would look back and laugh at how stupid I was. As time went by, I lost interest. My days were not fun anymore, nothing new was happening, and I kind of hated myself. You know that frustrated period every teenager goes through? After that phase I never really went back to writing diary.
When I try to look back today, I cannot help but regret not keeping my stories in writing. I missed writing about my first trip outside the country, my first class at university, or my first date. There were a lot of firsts, then seconds, then thirds- and I have none of these memories in a concrete form. In fact, I actually missed all of the important moments in my life.
For instance, I never wrote about how I came to realize I was a lesbian. All I can think of now is that the realization did not just come in one day. I just knew it. I mean, when I was in Class 2, I was insanely in love with this female teacher of mine. Then I used to have crushes on my classmates for no good reasons. And I never really had any interest in men. What’s more surprising, I never fought back these instincts because I knew that all these emotions define who I am. It’s like eating fried chicken. You know you like it and no matter how hard you try, you cannot “unlike” it. I have heard stories from many girls who were in denial and took desperate measures to prove that they were indeed straight, which went in vain. Sometimes I feel that I must have been really dumb to accept this so easily. But then again, I’m happy that I could because fighting with the rest of the world can be dealt with, but fighting with my own soul is a lot harder.
There is a saying, in order to be loved by someone else; first we need to love ourselves. Similarly, before we ask our loved ones to accept who we are, first we need to do it ourselves. In a society such as ours, it’s understandable why girls would be in denial. Most girls here are discriminated against in one way or the other. In our families, we see a clear preference of boys over girls. We see how our relatives do not miss a single opportunity to backlash if we choose to take even one step outside social norms. Eve-teasing is a common phenomenon, and we as girls are taught we need a man to protect us. Given how already a lot of things are against, being a lesbian would just multiply our struggle. May be it’s just easier for them to be in denial.
Anyways, coming back to my non-existing diary- I never wrote about my first date with my very first girlfriend. We hooked up on an online dating site (www.gays.com) when I had just finished my A Levels. She was one of the very first lesbians I have come across in Bangladesh. And the first one who was actually looking to date, and not just have a fling. During that time, there was also another popular platform where people hooked up- mig33, the mobile chat app. However, it was filled with random guys posing as girls, making indecent proposals, and speaking in bad grammar. It is times like these when you think about how the Bangladesh economy would have flourished if these people actually utilized their time into something more productive than asking girls for “lesbo sex”.
Online public forums are also pretty helpful when it comes to meeting people here. There are sites with LGBT issues where you can leave your email address and people can send you a message. Random guys turn up here as well. The funniest thing is most of the messages they send will be about lending a “helping hand” by having sex with us. The basic interpretation is that when we leave a message in a lesbian issues forum, we are desperate to have sex and we are so ugly that no men with sleep with us. Hence, we are here.
Where was I? Yeah, dating. My relationship with my first girlfriend started out like anyone else’s. The rush to the head, the racing of heartbeats, butterflies in our stomach, our first kiss, the first time we got intimate. But eventually like any other relationships, we started having problems. Dating can be tough, especially when you do not have any one to go and take advice from. At that time, I still had not come out of the closet to my friends. And I didn’t know how to handle it. Both of us tried but eventually it didn’t work out.
Coming out to my friends was perhaps one of the best decisions I have made in my life. However, I think I got lucky here. I wouldn’t suggest it unless you are absolutely sure they are your good friends and would not leave you on tiny matters like these. My friends have been my support, my rock- and I could not have asked for more. Bangladesh is changing, and they are a proof of it. I only hope that it changes fast. And for the better.
Not keeping a diary may have caused me to miss a lot of firsts. But it also means I never had any bad memories written down, which is good. Yeah it’s true, every experience teaches us something. But some things are better forgotten. Like my days when I was dragged down to the psychiatrists by my parents when I tried to come out to them. It was horrible and I never want to feel that way again.
Life will always throw lemons at you. But it’s how you make the lemonade that counts. Being a lesbian in Bangladesh is like one of the toughest combos to be. But as you move past every barrier, you feel good. You feel proud of who you are. You feel proud that in the end you yourself never left your own side. And that is what matters.
Dear diary, I will take my leave now.