Samparan Maiti is originally from the village of Siddha in West Bengal. He grew up in a conservative family that believed being a homosexual or gay is just a 'phase' that will eventually pass. So, the 29-year-old was in denial of his sexual orientation for some time.
However, this only lasted a short while as he has been recently crowned Mr. Gay World and he is championing the rights of the marginalised and sexual minorities.
Samparan's parents in rural West Bengal weren't struggling to make ends meet but the family wasn't well off either. Adding to that, the relationship between his father and mother wasn't healthy. So, though he was confused about his sexuality and had a lot of questions, there was no one he could confide in. And due to constant bullying from friends and teachers for being different, his childhood was traumatic.
However, strong-willed and hardworking, Samparan fought against all odds. He then received scholarship as a Junior Research Fellow in a Kolkata university where he is pursuing research on discovering a drug for cancer.
Samparan did not stop there as he is also a model, actor and writer. Though it wasn't easy dealing with all the baggage initially, he found solace in writing and that is what kept him going. Talking about those days to Deccan Chronicle, he said,
I continued writing poetry and stories to express my emotions regarding different LGBT issues. People started liking my writings and this gave me a place in the cultural circle of Kolkata. Then Archan, a friend of mine, insisted that I model for fine art photography and gradually I started modeling in different LGBT-themed photo series, which gave me recognition as a model. But I didn't stop there. To explore myself more, I started acting in theatre and short films.
Shortly after, Samparan came out to his family as a homosexual. Though it is long way ahead before his mother understands and comes to terms with his sexual orientation, he takes strength from his sister who has accepted him.
Wanting to get a bigger platform to fight for the rights of LGBTQ is the primary reason he decided to take part in the Mr. Gay World contest. Talking about the problems that the LGBTQ community faces in India in an interview with Firstpost, Samparan said,
Within the community I find that we are still unable to accept each other the way are. There is a lot of discrimination based on femininity or masculinity, fat shaming and other factors which has made many people of the younger generation unable to accept themselves. They would rather compromise their individuality to make themselves look as others want to see them.
At present, he is working towards creating awareness about sexual identity and gender in the minds of young children, in an attempt to ensure that they grow up better informed.
Image Credit - Facebook
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