Secretly Fabulous

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A thousand words in one photograph, taken by Anand Roy.

At first glance, Anand Roy seems to live up to his name. His first name means joy in Sanskrit, and he certainly fits that description. Always cheerful and seemingly stress-free, he's got that knack of fitting into any situation he might find himself in. This undoubtedly comes from practice and from his ease with secrecy, which he himself will explain in better detail. I meet him at Kafein on Bishop Street, since we are both Concordia students. He has an hour to kill before he's off to his next Film Studies class. Tall and lanky, dressed in a faded hoodie along with skinny jeans, he doesn't look twenty-four years old and could easily pass for a teenager. "It's the Indian genes." he tells me cheekily as he sips on his mocha. As a fellow Indian myself, I concede he does have a point since no one ever believes me to be nearly thirty-one.

Anand is born and raised here in Montreal, of Indian origin. He is a Film Studies student, with a passion for video editing. He's an avid gamer but thankfully hasn't let it take over his entire life like a lot of his counterparts. He also happens to be gay.

As much as he would like to be out and proud to everyone around him, this has proved to be difficult since he is completely convinced that his family would not accept this fact. "They have evolved a lot since they immigrated to Canada." he acknowledges, but doesn't add anything else as he lapses into a thoughtful silence. Being familiar with a similar background, I know that they probably have not evolved enough to actually accept this matter, in spite of the fact that LGBT freedom has become part of the Western norm. The gay community has even become a louder voice within his parents' home country, especially in the metropolis of Mumbai. The world is changing at a fast pace. This is a great thing for people like Anand, but difficult to understand for people like his parents. I can't help but wonder if he wishes he'd been born just a few years later, or in a completely different culture altogether.

MD: As an young man of Indian origin, born and raised in Montreal, tell me a little bit about your


AR: (laughs) It was a bit rough, but it could have been worse.

MD: Rough in what sense?

AR: My folks had me late in life, which meant that there was a large generation gap between us. Adding

to the culture clash, they pretty much treated me like a little kid even when I clearly was not a little kid anymore.

MD: You must have some happy memories as well. What is your favourite memory whilst growing up?

AR: The time I was in Disneyland at the age of 6. For some reason the It's a Small World Ride sticks to

my memory as a really happy moment.

MD: When would you say was the moment that girls weren't your thing?

AR: (laughs out loud) Nicely put. I'd say high school. Secondary 3. Grade 9 for those who don't know what that means.

MD: Was there a moment in particular where you just knew? For example, I knew I was straight when i was seven and I wanted to marry Christopher Plummer after having watched The Sound of Music.

AR: I can't pinpoint an exact moment. It's been so long ago that I feel it's irrelevant. By the way, Plummer scared the crap out of for most of that movie because he was always pissed off.

MD: He would have made a fantastic Christian Grey.

AR: Gross. Next question!

MD: Okay, okay. Now, there is a difference between knowing something about yourself and acknowledging the fact. When did you acknowledge it to someone close to you?

AR: It wasn't until the first semester of college that I started to come out. Knowing that the people

around me were mature and trustworthy really helped. I was much closer to my group of friends in

cegep, as opposed to the ones I had in high school.

MD: Were you ever bullied? In person or online? This is a really big problem, especially with the presence of online trolls on social media.

AR: No, not at all. I was definitely one of the lucky ones. I think if I had come out in high school, the

outcome would have been very different and a lot more painful.

MD: Have you talked to any members of your family at all?

AR: Only to my sister, because I knew she would understand. She's lived a lot of her own drama. A lot of which she could not share with our parents either because it would have shamed them. My parents don't know about me obviously and I don't plan on telling them soon.

MD: The fact that you keep it a secret from your parents, does this make you more detached from your

cultural background?

AR: Thankfully it hasn't come to that. It does help that I was born and raised in Canada and not in India.

I don't resent being of Indian descent at all, it's a part of who I am as well, just like being gay is also

a part of who I am. The two things aren't on opposite extremes as they once were even ten, twenty

years ago.

MD: How does it affect your relationship with your parents?

AR: Believe it or not, I don't resent them. They are who they are and I love them very much, even if we don't agree on much.

MD: Are you very careful with the type of information you share on social networking?

AR: Yes, I only share things with friends I trust. I usually block out those connected to my folks, to be


MD: What motivates you to continue living a double life?

AR: Being surrounded by people I can trust. It's not as though no one knows. A lot of people in my life,

are in fact privy to this information.

MD: Have you ever had to tell giant whoppers to hide things from your family?

AR: Suprisingly I haven't had an issue like that. I keep my private life really close to me and it also helps

that I'm not into the clubbing scene. I am also keen on waiting for the right man and I don't date just

for the sake of dating because I really can't stand the drama that surrounds it. (blushing) I want to fall in love first.

MD: I expected my interview with you to have a lot more angst considering your background. Your self-discovery has been incredibly peaceful, it would seem. Any regrets?

AR: Not at all, it's all just experience. I learned from whatever mistakes I made at the beginning like anyone else and now am better than ever. I don't know if I will tell my folks the truth, though. While it does make me sad, it doesn't break my heart either. Contrary to popular beliefs, coming out to every single person and parent is not always the solution. It's definitely a case by case thing.

MD: What advice would you give to teenage guys who are discovering themselves to be gay or bisexual?

AR: Don't be shy to tell others who you are, as it'll make it easier to accept yourself as well. If you're

unsure about telling your family however, see how they interact by bringing up subjects regarding

lgbt issues. Know your surroundings, make sure you're safe and that you won't be harmed or

bullied as a result.

1 Comment

Good interview :) there are some structure problems with some of the answers though :)

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