Out and Proud: Chetana Salunke

Out and Proud

“Speaking of my modelling career, I am a proud bisexual model, all thanks to an LGBTQIA+ pageant. At the age of seven, I found myself being attracted to girls, but I was unaware of the terms behind this attraction. I was very confused, and I think this was because I was not educated about the LGBTQIA+ community.

In my first year of college, my best friend confessed to me that she liked me. This did not make me feel weird, but instead, it made me happy. However, since I had always identified as straight, I needed some time to figure things out for myself. I read a lot about the LGBTQIA+ community, and several stories inspired me. A month later, I came out as a bisexual to my best friend and confessed my feelings to her.

After this, I attended my first Pride parade on my 21st birthday and made friends with so many people. It was both a celebration and a realization. It dawned on me that day that I am not allowing myself to grow by staying in the closet and living a lie.

When I came out to my parents, though my mom was very accepting, my father was reluctant to accept. My first poem was about decriminalizing section 377, and after this, my parents began to change a little, and this meant the world to me. When I came out, there were a few friends who changed their behaviour towards me, but I believe that if a person is not happy in your happiness, let them go.

To succeed in life, the very first step one should take is being true to yourself. It does take time, it took me 20 years, but we can’t pressurize society to accept us, so we should start with accepting ourselves. I think people from the LGBTQIA+ community shouldn’t be treated differently, but instead should be treated like anyone else. We need to start coming together as humans, and not as communities.”

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