Negotiamini Media
Truth is Powerful

Superstition isn’t a cure for queer people

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Sahil (name changed on request), a 17-year-old gay teenager from Uttar Pradesh, was aware that his family would never accept his queer identity. Yet his family’s reaction after he came out to them in 2017 shocked him. He was locked up in an eerie shelter and tied with iron chains as the smoke from incense sticks made his breathing hard.

Coming from a middle-class, educated Indian family, Sahil had not expected that his parents would believe in homophobic superstition. After all, both his parents were high school teachers and presented themselves as progressive parents in society. But their ingrained homophobia combined with superstitious beliefs led them to a local T antrik – an occult priest – who claimed he could cure Sahil’s “aversion” with a three-day-long ritual.

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Sahil recalls, “I was repeatedly asked what devil is possessing me. They were making me eat some kind of ash and reciting mantras. I was so traumatized in a few hours that I started believing I was under some kind of possession and my queerness could be cured.”

Six years later, Sahil, now 23, is financially independent and lives happily with his […]

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