IntersectionalityLGBTQIA+ Dear Dad, Why Did My Queerness Not Trouble You?: A Letter to My Deceased Father

Dear Dad, Why Did My Queerness Not Trouble You?: A Letter to My Deceased Father

This is solely not a letter from a son to a father, but more importantly, from an effeminate queer person to another man who made him feel he belonged.
» Editors Note: #MoodOfTheMonth for June 2024 is Pride Solidarity Month. We invite submissions on this theme throughout the month. If you would like to contribute, kindly refer to our submission guidelines and email your articles to shahinda@feminisminindia.com

This letter comes out of the grief which I have been experiencing after I lost my father on February 20, 2024. I was never out to my father, however, I believe somewhere he knew about it. Like any father-son relationship, we were not very close and used to talk to each other very little. There was a typical father-son awkwardness. In that awkwardness, there was a lot he did for me which helped me hold myself strongly while navigating my way through my queer identity.

There is gratitude unexpressed, questions unasked, words of love unspoken, speech of farewell undelivered. I shall like to do it now; through this letter. This is solely not a letter from a son to a father, but more importantly, from an effeminate queer person to another man who made him feel he belonged, or at least not lost in an extremely homophobic space.

Dear Dad,

I wish I could tell you that day why I was telling grandma I wanted to walk like my uncle does, in a more “masculine” manner. I still reminisce very well how I came up to Dadi and told her, ‘Do I not walk like other men?‘ There was a long silence that followed. Perhaps, she also believed I didn’t walk how men are expected to. That was the moment you interrupted and said, ‘Hey listen! Who poured all this in your head? Everyone has their own way of walking. You have your own, your uncle has his own. Stop comparing yourself with others.’ You scolded me and I felt bad at that time.

Pa, I realise today, how knowingly or unknowingly, you proved to be the first and only man who shielded me from the extremely heteronormative society. I wish I could tell you that day how my uncle and other cousins mocked me for my gait. That mockery made me question my gait. Surely, you would have said something to him. Did you know why I was walking like that? I still think. Perhaps, you knew.

Do you remember how when I used to play with my sisters, I was always stubborn to be a “madam” and not sir? I used to drape myself in a saree and behave like a female teacher. Maa and sisters used to laugh at me and constantly question my choice of wearing a saree and choosing to be a madam, but not a male teacher. I used to feel bad, every time they used to laugh at me but couldn’t do much because I was a boy and they were somehow right concerning the space I was in at that time. Once I couldn’t take it anymore, and started crying.

One of the first times, I complained to you about something. You scolded my sisters and put the saree cloth over my head. I wish I could tell you how much it meant to me. Did you know why I was choosing to be a “madam” and not “sir“? Did you know why I used to be on cloud nine when I used to wear that saree? Did you? I think about it a lot. Perhaps you did.

The other time we went to a local shop, where I saw a Cinderella theme inspired purse. I asked my mother to buy it for me. She told me to buy a brown-coloured wallet which she deemed a wallet for men and my father also used to carry the same. I was obstinate, I cried and finally, my father intervened and said, “Bacha hai, iska jo mann hai lene do!” My glee knew no bounds that day. I went back home, flaunting that purse on my waist, and men on the roads were laughing at me, but I was a child, I didn’t care. In the driving seat, my father was looking at me and smiling.

Didn’t that shimmery purse bother you, papa? Didn’t that Cinderella on the purse bother you about your son’s masculinity? Or do you already know that my effeminate characters and choices had a reason? I think you know it. You didn’t say it but you surely did.

As a child, I loved make-up on my face. I used to steal my sisters’ makeup kit and would don myself with red lipstick and poorly done makeup, flaunting it in front of the mirror. I was comfortable doing it in front of my mother and sisters but not you. There were times when you used to come all of a sudden, and I tried to hide my face. But you would have already seen my face by then. I used to expect anger but you just used to laugh and then go.

Did you know how comfortable I was, wearing that make-up? That white powder on my face used to make me feel at the top of the world. Did you know the reasons I find more comfort in a make-up kit than a cricket kit? I think you did. You never confessed, but you did.

Dad, I never realised it at that time but I do it now. Do you know how much you protected me from those extremely masculine men who scorned me? This constant support of yours, which went unnoticed by me at that time, made this queer son of you so strong that he is out today, to the world. However, in the end, I ask you again, do you know why I walked like that? Do you know why I liked make-up, dolls, and being a “female teacher“? Do you know who I am? Do you? I think you do. I wish I was out to you and we could have had conversations about my partners. I wish.

We shall meet soon, in some other birth, where we shall go on a family dinner and you would just spill the beans that you knew about me. You knew who I was and you would give a tight hug to my boyfriend.

With Love,

Haaye ni appa fer milange!( Shall meet again)

Your Queer Son.


Comments:

  1. Sonali says:

    This made me cry.. so well written. We often fear our fathers but trust me they r the true supporters . They may never show this but they care, alot!!!!

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