Coming out stories have varied emotions attached to them. While all of them are inspiring, some are heart-warming and others are heart-wrenching. From abuse and alienation to support and understanding, people from the LGBTQ+ community have life-altering experiences, good or bad! Dr Varuna Srinivasan – a US-based health expert, writer & gender justice activist – for one, has only joy to share with her coming out journey so far.
Varuna, who identifies as bisexual, came out to her husband and according to her, their marriage has never been better since then. Sounds surprising, isn’t it? The closed, claustrophobic and homophobic structure of society lays down irrational rules that force people to often find solutions in obscurity. And then, there are some who dare to step up and challenge the set-up. In a freewheeling chat with us, Varuna talks to us about her sexuality, its impact on her relationships, and the best way to be an LGBTQ+ ally.
ELLE: Why was it important for you to come out to your husband?
Dr Varuna Srinivasan: My husband and I were friends who fell in love. We were willing to share every single part of our lives with each other, along with our preferences and lack thereof. So sharing this part of my life with him seemed natural. Coming out to him not only felt important, but intimate. People think I came out to him because I wanted to have an open marriage or a threesome, but honestly, it has improved the communication and trust between us.
ELLE: Why do you think it’s important to address your sexuality if you realise it after being married or in a committed relationship?
VS: I don’t think it’s necessarily important to come out after marriage, some do it even before. Marriage is not a qualifier event. However, I have seen many bisexual people erase their own identities just because they are in a relationship with someone of a different gender or a heterosexual-passing relationship. Your relationship or marriage does not determine your sexual orientation or sexual identity. Bisexual people are often told who they are and much is left to public opinion/debate. By coming out after marriage, we continue to embrace our identities. Bi-visibility is so important in a world that forces your erasure.
ELLE: How did your family react to it?
VS: Quite frankly, they were confused by it. They did not have access to sex education growing up. Further, they did not have access to the safe spaces that encourage tolerance and understanding of all genders/sexualities. While my brother remains incredibly supportive, my parents are quite in the grey about these issues and I’m okay with that!
ELLE: You said in one of your posts that coming out as bisexual made your marriage better. Do you mind telling us how because it might inspire someone else to do so?
VS: It improved our communication and trust. I felt like I could trust my husband by telling him the most important thing about me and he could see that. He could tell how much of a vulnerable and difficult time this was for me. Having his support affirmed the reason I fell in love with him. People think I’m cheating, trying to open the marriage, or having a threesome but none of that is true. We are happily monogamous — I am deeply loyal to my husband not that it should matter.
Don’t we all want to be in a relationship where the other person feels safe in our presence and like they could share their soul without being judged? Don’t we all deserve that? That’s the relationship we have cultivated as a result of this journey. He attends pride with me and hosts his LGBT support groups in the clinic where he works as an ally.
ELLE: How do you deal with toxicity and negative comments that come your way ever since you came out as bisexual?
VS: I have a positivity folder where I have all the screenshots of people sharing their bisexual journey with me. It means the world to me knowing that there are many others out there like me.
ELLE: Lastly, apart from switching to rainbow flags and posting quotes on social media, how do you think we can be a constructive ally to the people who choose to or planning to come out?
VS: A couple of things, people can educate themselves, participate in allyship groups, donate to local charities, support their communities on the ground and PASS THE MIC!
Images: Instagram/ Dr Varuna Srinivasan