Who Is Gay Soldier J Suresh And Why Defence Ministry Objected To Make Film On His Life?

Image Credits: NDTV, Unsplash

Who Is Gay Soldier J Suresh And Why Defence Ministry Objected To Make Film On His Life?

The ex-Indian Army Officer had come out openly through a blog and penned down his experience of being gay. In his post, Suresh (Retired) had urged the top military leadership of shunning their homophobia and give serving gay officers and soldiers their lawful fundamental right to a life of dignity, honour and self-respect.

  • Whatsapp
  • Telegram
  • Linkedin
  • Print
  • koo
  • Whatsapp
  • Telegram
  • Linkedin
  • Print
  • koo
  • Whatsapp
  • Telegram
  • Linkedin
  • Print
  • koo

National award-winning filmmaker Onir's next film, We Are, was recently rejected by the defence ministry. The filmmaker has said that it was because his script was about an army officer who is a gay character. Onir's gay character in the film was inspired by the real-life story of Major J Suresh.

Who Is Major J Suresh?

In 2020, the ex-Indian Army Officer had come out openly through a blog and penned down his experience of being gay – both in the Army and outside of it. In a very emotional post, Suresh (Retired) also urged the top military leadership to shun their homophobia, be better informed and compassionate, and give serving gay officers and soldiers their lawful fundamental right to a life of dignity, honour and self-respect.

The Major claims in his blog that he was a loyal, disciplined and upright army officer and considered himself very fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve in the military.

In his mid-twenties, he had suppressed his feelings due to an incident that occurred in his teens. He writes that there was a cute guy in his class whom he would eye at times. The boy seems to have noticed it, and one day, along with his friends, pushed him to the ground and uttered a few expletives to him. While the incident might be considered a minor one, it left a deep scar on him.

He then got through the NDA and graduated from the Indian Military Academy (IMA) as a young officer. He recalls having no romantic attraction towards or love for anyone. But by his mid-twenties, when those feelings started slowly resurfacing, he started understanding that he was gay. His struggle for accepting himself had just begun, and "and the hyper straight world of the army only made it that much more difficult". He accepted himself, but then had to bear the burden of his secret because Indian Army rules forbid homosexuality.

"If I had told anyone 'officially' in the Army, I could very well have been discharged dishonourably, kicked out," he wrote in his blog.

Struggling to decide what to do about his situation, he loved the Army but was just beginning to feel that he would not be accepted for who he was. But with no idea on what to do, he had no option but to keep his secret to himself."

His family had then started pressurising him for marriage. He initially wrote a letter to his parents telling them that he did not want to get married, but that did not stop them from trying to match him with girls. So he finally decided to come out to them, and they took the news well.

After serving for 11 and half years in the Army, he decided he needed to be closer to his parents. While that was one reason, he mentions that the fact that he couldn't have served in the Army as an openly gay man was also one of the reasons for him to have left the force.

Major Suresh (R) now serves in an equal opportunity company where his peers accept him well. The 46-year-old said that the reason he wrote the post in the first part was that he himself struggled for many years with his sexual identity while serving in the Army. "

He stated that the homophobic utterances of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat in 2018 after the Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality had left him extremely disturbed. He said that the Indian Army is an organisation that owes its existence to the highest law of this land, the Indian Constitution and those serving in it, including serving gay personnel, are citizens of India who have rights – and while some of the rights of those serving in the military may be rightly curtailed, but one cannot take away the fundamental right of serving gay men to a life of dignity, honour and self-respect and no one can deny the right of LGBTQ military aspirants to serve openly in the future.

Also Read: National Girl Child Day: These NGOs Are On A Mission To Make Society Equitable For Girls In India

Contributors Suggest Correction
Editor : Snehadri Sarkar
,
Creatives : Tashafi Nazir