Coming Out in India
For Suresh Ramdas, Pride Month Was a Time to Celebrate the Moment, and Look to the Future.
Meet Suresh Ramdas, a project manager who shared his story of Pride in India in his own words.
India is relatively conservative in the open expression of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender pride, yet I’m open and out at home and at work. I’d like to share my perspective as HP initiated our first Pride Month event in India.
I knew from a young age that I was gay, but I did not come out until 2014. In India our parents arrange marriage, and take great regard in doing so. I came out because I knew I could not mislead a young woman and her family in that way. I’d be messing up at least six people’s lives.
It was not easy for my parents to accept that their beloved, favored, and somewhat spoiled second child was gay. They had big dreams for me. I had to convince them I would be fine outside the traditional family.
After coming out to my family I joined a Pride event. I did not want the media coverage to surprise my manager and colleagues, so I came out to my manager, which surprised him. “Why are you even telling me this?” he asked me.
I told him I wanted to give 100 percent at work, but hadn’t been able to focus because I was constantly nervous that someone would find out I am gay.
His response made me very happy about myself and proud of my organization. He said, “I think what you’ve told me is great. I support you whatever and whoever you are. You will be accepted, but perhaps not by all, and not all at once, so let your work do the talking, and never hesitate to share or talk with me.”
I felt supported by this great advice, and by the way my manager socialized and sensitized my concern. At work everything was the same, but somehow better. I was excited to give 100 percent and to interact fully, and I began working with Global Diversity & Inclusion. At the first Pride conference I attended, I was the only Indian there. I returned armed with new confidence and knowledge.
What Pride Means to Suresh
I’m overwhelmed to see the diversity work that companies are doing everywhere, and I want to do similar work in India. For Bangalore’s first Pride event, India leadership has extended complete support. We have leader emails, videos, and onsite interaction to express their proactive participation as allies. This definitely brings us that much closer to our goals of being more inclusive as a workplace.
In our ALLIES@HP program, Indian employees can advocate and help create the kind of safe, supportive environment that attracts the best talent possible, where people can be themselves at work without fear, even if they can’t be out at home.
This story reflects Suresh’s experiences and opinions and doesn’t necessarily reflect general views.