'I'm bisexual, there I said it': Scientist Dr Tuli Bakshi says self-acceptance is key
- Dr Tuli Bakshi is an LGBTQIA+ activist
- She did her PhD from IIT Kharagpur
- She is also associated with ‘Ambar’, an LGBTQIA+ support group
At the age of 17, she said it for the first time, "I am a bisexual woman." Not an 'ideal conversation' for an individual to have with her/his parents, especially a girl. Their response? “Beta, no one is 100% straight you know, live your life the way you want.” That’s right, it is not a sad story, it’s a story of courage, love, and acceptance. It’s the story of Dr Tuli Bakshi, a bisexual woman, feminist and LGBTQIA+ activist.
Dr Tuli calls herself privileged. She has always been a lucky girl, not just because her family accepted her the way she is but because she was born with the confidence and courage to use that privilege for the welfare of those who weren’t as fortunate.
“Being a part of India's most elite institutions makes me more fortunate and privileged. I wanted to use this privilege in favour of people who still are getting ridiculed, scared, and bullied for just being who they are or just for even existing,” said Dr Tuli.
It’s not like Tuli always had it easy. For a long time, despite her parent’s encouragement, had to hide her sexual preferences from society because of the fear of being judged and mocked.
“Nobody ever said anything to me directly. I mean they are educated but I know how people think. People think of us bisexuals in a different manner. They think like iske to maze hain, ladka ya ladki kuch bhi, ” she told Opoyi
However, undeterred by society’s perception about her, Tuli continued to fight for the rights of LGBTQIA+ community. She joined ‘Ambar’, an LGBTQIA+ support group primarily dedicated to make the college campus a safe space for queer people. She was also associated with ‘Pravritti’, a group for LGBTQ folks from different IITs. Pravritti played a huge role in 2018 verdict on Article 377, an act that decriminalised homosexuality in India
Tuli did her PhD from IIT Kharagpur and is currently a researcher at IIT Bombay, one of India's most prestigious educational institutes.
“I don’t have a grudge against anyone, they are not to be blamed. Our country has always shied away from talking about sex or sexuality. But people are changing, I have seen many people wanting to know more about these when I counter them. You know what I tell them? Yes, I am a bisexual woman and I say it. It’s who I am and I am here to stay,” Dr Tuli Bakshi told Opoyi.
Tuli, who is now happily married to a straight man, said that her husband himself goes to pride and LGBTQIA+ parties with her.
“Since he comes from a small town, he earlier had limited idea about homosexuality but he learned and now he is extremely supportive. He makes me believe that a change is about to come. I am positive about it."