A trek with 40 Gays

It was a rainy July a few years back. After a peaceful night at a private forest lodge, me and my 2 colleagues were getting ready to lead a group to the Sarasgad fort.
We joined the group at the base of the fort. They were around 40 people most in their 20s and strangely enough only one girl among them. We had introduction session and breakfast. Since the trail was very slippery, I gave them necessary instructions and we started our trek. While climbing, they were laughing a lot, having fun. As i was walking with them, I heard their conversation, all the time they were teasing each-other on homosexuality and their male partners etc. Within Half an hour we took 1st halt where one of them asked me, ‘by the time you must have understood who we are’. Unknowingly my eyebrows raised, eyes rounded with a smile on my face and i said ‘I guess so’ and i got answer back – ‘I guess, your guess is right’ most of them laughed casually on that answer and i joined them. But i was feeling little awkward and didn’t know what to say.
Actually I only had an inkling and thought they were joking since theirs was a boys only group. They all appeared normal boys, no immediately noticeable girlish behavior. Till then I had never met a gay personally, (at least who accepted or behaved like a gay) I had only heard few stories from friends and watched them in the movies. And today I was standing among 40 gays.
A guy said to their coordinator, ‘Kya yaar, you said there will be handsome men on the trek and I dont see any.’ They again had a laugh. 1 of them referred to me, – You must have understood that you are the safest person here’ i nodded with a big smile on my face. Then they got a lot more comfortable than before, and then they started making jokes from sex change operation and it had no end.
This crowd and their talks were too unexpected to me. I was however enjoying by this time, since their jokes kept the humour going. Their coordinator started telling me what group they are, why they are together. etc. (information on their group can be a separate blog) The group is not formed for match making but help gays in their difficulties like reliving stress (ghusmat), socializing issues, medical issues, parents counselling etc.
While having lunch at the top and climbing down I had a deep discussion with them, they were quite open and gave me all the information without hesitation. Few of them were students, they were lucky that they had discovered themselves quite early, few of them were working in MNCs at good posts. And to my surprise few of them we married to a woman and had kids too. On further discussion they told me that society and family pressures forced them to be bi-sexual but they did not want to get married and suppressed their inner voice for the fear of Society and family. One guy even said that his wife knew where he was at that time and with whom. He said i am very lucky that my wife understands me but this is very rare case. He had heard of many cases where the wife divorced within a year and then it was a big embarrassment for their families.
I saw a guy had many cut wounds on his wrist. I asked why did you do that, he said you wont understand that. ‘And why do you think so?’ I asked him. He told me you are born normal and so you can love and aspire to have a life partner and you can at least express your feelings in a hope to have that person to be your life partner. But when I love a man, I can only love him alone and say or act nothing. If I do so, its a given that I lose that person and also might lose all my friends in the group and become target for teasing. Instead I have to watch him love somebody else all my life.
I asked them, if their parents knew about it? And most of them did. In fact few parents had come to drop for this trek. We discussed some other topics like our profession, some point of views etc.
After all the discussions my mind was full of questions. I asked them if they like to cross-dress? What do they do since in India its illegal to have same gender sexual relationships? I even joked with the seniors if they visit gigolos 🙂 Everything was handled sportingly and I came to realise I was with a group like any other, in fact much better than a lot of groups I’ve led.
At the end they took short interview of mine –
  • They asked me if I was in shock to see so many gays? I lied saying no but I was surely surprised as I had no clue and had never heard about such groups in India.
  • If they bored me? I said no. It was full of laughter of your jokes and some new world discussions to me.
  • But their last question hurt me and I expressed that to them. They asked me, If i would like to trek with them again? and my answer was – ‘Yes of Course’
All of them told me personally that they had great time and thanked me for leading the group. They all were really good ‘Human beings.’
And yes, true to my promise two years later we conducted trek for them again.