The `I' column: - Anonymous

... on how sexual rights affect one personally, and how they are affirmed and/or violated in one's local cultural setting. 

I was born male, am 32 years old, and single. During weekends you will catch me cooking, washing, gardening or giving a bath to my pet dogs. Enough for my community in Kathmandu to raise eyebrows where an individual's choice and behaviour are factors for others to decide his/her sexuality and sexual preference. My father was usually out-stationed due to his duties and my elder brother was in another local hostel. I was close and in constant communication with only the female members in my family including my grandmother, two elder sisters and my mother.

All along I have grown up with `different' choices. In the early 80's when I was in a coeducational school hostel, I became friendlier with the senior boys. They used to take me out and I learnt many `sexual activities' including masturbation in their company. I was not only enjoying the phase but I also loved the idea of being adored and wanted by my seniors as this made me `happening'. Although I was unaware of it then, now, I feel my behaviour might have been a catalyst for them to think that I was `available' to them.

exploring my sexuality, I got into a relationship with a girl. After sleeping with her, I came to understand myself and my desire for men. I began to ignore my girl-friend and took up a job in a local 5-star hotel to reduce the frequency of meeting her so that the relationship would die a natural death. I met her along with her husband and son many years later at a musical event. Though we shared sweet conversations, I am still haunted with the feeling that in the process of exploring myself, I may have `used' her.

In Nepal, the whirlwind in the use of internet and cyber outlets is a saving grace for people like me who are confused or have a low level of confidence. It has helped me in understanding other `like-minded souls' in terms of their sexuality. I had a serious and an open relationship, with a foreigner I met in a night club, for more than three years. I will name him A. He is still in Nepal and our relationship ended in February 2004. He is a manager at a reputed educational institution and is nine years older to me.

With him, I really enjoyed every nuance of being in a same-sex relationship, which later on developed into a monogamous one because I could not handle the pros and cons of sharing a third man in bed. Initially I prompted A for a threesome, both for experience and fun. While it was okay for me with some foreigners, I used to throw tantrums whenever there was a Nepali guy in our room and in our bed. I realise that, out of jealousy, I have discriminated against both A and the other guys at various points.

Post our break-up, which A suggested, due to his personal responsibilities, we tried to meet up as friends but it was not easy for both of us. At present, we just share major happenings of our lives.

In terms of my work, I had been volunteering for an NGO active in control/prevention of HIV/AIDS amongst men who have sex with men in Nepal. In 2004, I joined the same organization. I have experienced a high level of discrimination within the community due to lack of knowledge, education and information.

In Nepal, a person is labelled not only because of one's appearance, choice of dressing but also because of one's preference in sexual roles and choice of partners. The community often attributes labels to an individual before understanding or realising his/her choice of identity. Hijra, chakka, kothi are some of the terms used by the community in Nepal.

I have never identified with cross-dressing in feminine outfits and accessories. I tried it out once out of curiosity and peer pressure. The result was horrifying and I never tried it out again.

My community members treat me with respect and nondiscrimination due to my age, appearance, education and my professional association despite the sexual choices I make. But, I realise it will not be the same for me as a transgender person decked up in a sari and out in the streets of Kathmandu, Nepal.

Anonymous lives and works in Nepal. We know him. We appreciate his courage in writing this and support his decision to remain anonymous to our readers.