• Living as an LGBT+ person in India is difficult, writes Anamika Pareek. (Flickr / Creative Commons / Carlos - clneira)Source: Flickr / Creative Commons / Carlos - clneira
"The reason we have to hide and pretend all the time is that society will hate us," writes Anamika Pareek.
Stephanie Marie Anderson

24 Aug 2016 - 3:36 PM  UPDATED 24 Aug 2016 - 3:36 PM

Recently, a Quora user asked what it's like to be a lesbian in India, where homosexuality is illegal under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.

Anamika Pareek - who describes herself as a "Proud Lesbian" on her Quora account - responded, painting a bleak picture of the realities of life as an LGBTQIA+ person living in India under the oppressive law.

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"Our life revolves around pretending and hiding," she writes, saying that things would be "much easier" if people "accepted" the LGBT+ community.

Describing life as "complicated", Pareek recounts an anecdote from her life at university, where she shared a room with another girl. She shares that when her roommate asked her if her nipples were visible through her top, she "looked and told her no," but that she "had a smile on her face" that she couldn't help.

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Noting that this is a "normal" question between women, she poses the question: "will she ask the same question the moment she gets to know that I'm a lesbian?"

"It's easy to hide for some time but [you] can't hide it all the time," she writes, asserting that although it's difficult to live in hiding, it's an easier option than coming out.

"The reason we have to hide and pretend all the time is that society will hate us," she says. "The only reason we live in depression most of the times and have suicidal thoughts are that we can't tell anyone and not everyone is courageous to come out and face the trouble."

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"The other day my [girlfriend] wanted to kiss me. I told her to wait for... years till we start living together because if anyone see us, we will be in jail," she says, noting that although she "consoled her", she believes that the reality of the couple living together is a "distant dream".

"My parents are worried about getting me married [to a boy]," she concludes. "They have no clue about anything."

You can read other accounts of what it's like to be a lesbian in India here.