Though, the capital city of Tamilnadu is one of the metropolitan cities of India, the mindsets of the people do not match with the current scenario of modernity. Though, there is a lot of globalization that has taken place, about 70% of people still think in an old traditional way in every aspect. Though the transgender community has been evolving since the period of Pallavas in Tamilnadu, still the queer community is treated as completely new, slightly different and mostly abnormal. The people in Chennai have some default presumptions of the male and female behavioral and dressing norms, especially the men. If they see someone who is breaking those stereotypical norms, they pass on deep criticism and even hatred too.
I have experienced on my recent trip to Chennai. This is not about every man, this is about most of the men in Chennai. Accepting the LGBT community is still an issue in this city and more than half of the crowd, don't even know the basic terminology of Queer culture. I came to know this in my previous trips to this city, but recently, I made a social experiment of presenting myself as a complete androgynous personality. Well, I might have overstepped in introducing such personality traits to the people who are still struggling to understand the LGBT culture. Hence, I had to face a few demeaning situations which I couldn't forget easily. So, it was on day one of my trip on March 1st, 2020, after my ex-boyfriend has picked me up and we spent quality time together in a hotel near the Chennai Central. Everything went well till he left in the middle of the night because he had to show up at his home. Another typical male restrictions in this city, no matter what, most of the men are prone to reach their homes at the end of the day. This looks caring but it also portrays the rigidity of society. Hence, after he left, I stepped out to buy smokes past 1'o clock in the night. There were hardly any shops and I was walking in tiny shorts, vests, and sneakers with my long hair and piercings.
Unfortunately, I don't have a habit of covering the whole body without exposing an inch before stepping out. Because I have done the same in Delhi and I reached my hotel safely. But that night, I felt the capital city of India is safer than the capital city of Tamilnadu. While I was walking, I could see a gang of street boys on the side of the road. I didn't give a damn about them and kept on walking forward in search of midnight stores. While I was passing them, a guy suddenly rushed in front of me and sarcastically asked what I was searching for. He spoke broken English and the guys behind him were speaking some shit in Tamil. I escaped and sped fast a little further, but I couldn't find anything except the night screaming at me back.
And I had to return and found that I had to cross those bunch of guys one more time. I was holding my wallet tight and scrolling on my phone to get rid of unnecessary consequences. While I was passing them for the second time, they crossed their limits by asking for my details, commenting on my shorts and one guy has disgustingly asked me to sleep with him that night by showing other hotels inside the lane. I was furious and I have shown my middle finger. Things might have gotten serious if siren of the Police Patrolling vehicle interrupted their desperate comments. I could see a Police vehicle approaching on the other side of the road and these guys have vanished in the darkness of that lane. I took a deep breath and walked fast towards my hotel. It was one crazy night for an androgynous gay person like me who spilled the femininity in Chennai. Then I got to know why most of the women do not step out or else either get escorted by any male during nights!
The men whom I encountered that night were almost uneducated, unpolished and unsophisticated. I thought, their illiterate brains made them behave like that but after two days, when I stepped out on myself and when I went out with one of my girl pals in Chennai, I found that so-called educated men also behave the same when they find an androgynous person. They didn't tease but they threw criticism by stares and various comments. The malls in metropolitan cities attract the educated, working-class, elite crowd from several backgrounds. But, men are men everywhere. All they need is an object to criticize. Sorry men, check deeply in your self, you will understand. While I was shopping in H&M, there were again a group of guys who were talking so loudly about me, my dressing sense and hairstyle without having a minimum common sense and they stopped their filthy tongues when people around them have stared back at the most severely. And I got a lot of warm smiles from women and ridiculous stares by men that day. I could still remember how those women looked at those guys who were commenting on my back.
This happens all the time with me. Only girls in my life have experienced this criticism personally when they come along with me. I love the attention but sometimes it crosses the boundaries. Both my cousin and my girl pal from Chennai, who came with me to the Phoenix Market City have experienced the same and felt shocked for how people stared at me. I didn't give a damn because I have been facing for years. But the male society of Chennai is way more difficult to tackle. With their demeaning stares, degrading comments and heartbreaking criticism, it is kind of difficult for an open person who leads life on his/her terms to handle the judgmental scenario of Chennai male society. And this must be one of the reasons why you find most of the queer guys from this city are closeted. A very few of them are open, go for parties, hangout publicly, support for the events and get involved in the Queer culture. But the percentage is quite low, whereas the rest of them always walk under the shadows of the typical male societal norms of Chennai.
Being an androgynous male, I was mostly treated as a transgender, because people weren't aware the proper terms and according to the so-called male standards, I was not befitting exactly to those standards because a part of me was portraying the femininity and that was the main reason I had to experience the malevolence by the males of Chennai...