For anyone looking in from the outside, 29-year-old Kaushik’s life seemed as normal as one’s could be — a degree from IIT Madras, followed by a PhD in Switzerland.

But, all this time, few could tell that Kaushik was struggling with his identity.

At the age of 12, he realised he was attracted to men. But at the time, LGBTQ issues were not commonly discussed, and Kaushik believed he would eventually “grow out of it”.

But in Switzerland, Kaushik met Glenn, a human rights advocate and his future husband.

“He wore his sexual orientation with so much ease and confidence that I started seeing myself as capable of having the same kind of confidence. The first person I came out to was myself,” he says.

When Kaushik came out to his parents in 2012, they embraced him, he recalls. “They were courageous enough to ask me all sorts of personal questions.”

“My parents may not be very highly educated. But they are intelligent enough to not rely on clichés to feed into their fears.”

“The whole conversation lasted about two hours and at the end of it, they just hugged me and said they accepted me for who I was as long as I was happy,” says Kaushik.

Does he have a message for young people in India struggling with their sexual identity?

“Coming out is a personal choice, so trust your gut on when and how you want to,” he says.