How have you been? It’s been a long time since I wrote you a letter but I felt like I should write you this. It’s been on my mind for quite some time and I need to tell someone about it, preferably you. It was a major turning point in my life.
Few years back, I was just a baby gay exploring and trying the new world, I met a girl in my dorm. One day while I was going up from the 3rd floor to the 4th, I saw a junior trying very hard just to take a step down. She was so sick, clutching the railing hard to avoid falling, she could barely move. It saddened me so I asked her why she was walking while being this sick. She said she had to get food. I told her she could have just asked someone else. She replied that her roommate was sick too and no one else was available. So, I thought to myself that I’ll go upstairs and drop my stuff and then go down to get the food for her. I asked her to stay right there. I ran up and came back almost immediately.
But she was nowhere to be seen.
The next day I saw her again, she was looking better than the day before so I asked how she was. She smiled sweetly and said she was better. After that we got to talking right there. Hours passed, we were talking about anything and everything and only noticed when it was late at night. After that every night she’d come down to my floor and we’d talk about stuff. One day one of my batchmates (close friend in her language) who’s her relative of some kind, noticed the two of us talking. She was very curious as to what a senior and junior have so much to talk about, though she laughed it out after and left. One day I asked that junior about her favorite series and she excitedly replied it was Orange is The New Black, which kinda surprised me since there’s mainly gay characters and storyline in there. I hadn’t seen the show. I noticed she’d sometimes flirt with me too. I didn’t mind it to be honest, she was cute. Plus, she said she wasn’t seeing anybody so where’s the harm.
After a while, we started talking more sparingly and eventually I barely saw her. I didn’t pay much attention to it because my exams were coming. Then one day I noticed some intense squabbling on their floor, some seniors bullying a junior and scolding her. There were too many curious people and I had an exam the next day, so I didn’t bother too much about it.
Then late at night when I was taking a break, I texted her. She was crying and told me it was her that the seniors were bullying. Her so-called relative was the main culprit. Her fault? She had a secret relationship with a Hindu guy and they found out and forced her to break up with him by scaring her that they’d tell her sick father about it. Her mother had already passed away so she only had her father who also had a heart condition. She got scared and told them they broke up. But they found out she was secretly still with that boy and all hell broke loose. They told her father, and everyone she knew. It escalated so badly that our professors had to interfere and put an end to this.
She was very broken so I started consoling her and asked about the boy. She told me about him and at one point, to lighten up the situation, I jokingly said, you are already with your boyfriend and here I had a mild crush on you.
I didn’t know then I had just made the worst mistake of my life.
She literally turned 180° and told me things like,
“you shouldn’t be like this, homosexuality is a sin, it’s disgusting, how can you be a Muslim and a homosexual, it’s against the religion, we probably shouldn’t talk anymore”. To say I was shocked would be an understatement. Her hypocrisy rendered me speechless. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t talk, I just sat there the whole night, frozen. I couldn’t study a bit and that was the first time in my life I didn’t appear in an exam. I was like a zombie the next few days. Then one day one of my friends called me to her room and told me, I don’t know if you know this but this group of people is telling everyone that you tried to flirt and get into a relationship with a junior girl. I couldn’t believe what was happening. I wasn’t ready to come out then, definitely not by those vicious groups of people who didn’t have sympathy for anyone, not even their own. So, I angrily texted that junior and asked her why she would spread all this bullshit. She said she didn’t do it, my batchmate did. She also told me that my batchmate previously told her to stop talking to me since I might be gay. I didn’t know what to believe anymore. That same girl, who every time she’d see me in class, would come running to hug me as if she hadn’t seen me for so long, did that? Disgust and anger crawled into me every time she touched me afterwards. How was I supposed to pretend I didn’t know what she did?
Traumatized, I waited the next few days for hell to be unleashed upon me by them. I knew they’d scandalize me to everyone the same way they did with that junior. It’s fun for them, mingling in other people’s business. Days passed in fear, but nothing happened. And I had an over imaginative mind so I was already thinking of all the worst-case scenarios and preparing for it. But the waiting also got exhausting at some point, and I was like, okay I don’t care anymore whatever they do. And I realized I really didn’t give a damn about what they thought anymore. The whole experience just gave me a “don’t care attitude.” Everyone knew about me yet they were saying nothing? Either they were scared they’d get punished by the professors again or some other reason. After that I stopped hiding my true self altogether.
A year or so later I found out that, after seeing me talking to her, they asked the junior to flirt with me to find out if I was gay or not, to quench their curiosity. And that girl, to please the seniors who bullied her, agreed to it and did whatever they told her to do and they all laughed about it.
I think about that classmate of mine sometimes. She could’ve just asked me, you know? I’d have told her. We were pretty close. Sometimes I think I know why she did it, but still it was a shitty thing to do. She was curious from the beginning, she even kissed so many girls in the name of sisterly affection that I knew she’d come out as a homosexual if not for the extremely religious background she had.
I guess the whole experience was a blessing in disguise for me, although I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. It made me face my fear and overcome it. I was the first “sort of openly” gay person in my dorm. You wouldn’t believe it but not long after, another girl from my batch came out to me as non-binary. It made me really happy that day. I felt like I did something, that I helped her in some way. So yeah, that’s about it. My coming out story. Could’ve been better, but, you know, life. Can’t wait to see you in person and share more stories with you. Take care of yourself for me, will you?
First and Multidimensional Queer Women’s Collective of Bangladesh