‘God is the reason why I am who I am. Nature is the reason why I am who I am. I don't want to die because of who I am.’ as a fifteen-year-old, Sharif D rangnekar could not fathom why he felt aroused watching men dance in a jermaine Jackson music video. He soon found the ‘answer’ in a book that told him that this was just a Phase and it would end once he got married. He almost did. Straight to normal is the autobiography of a gay man who had to battle bouts of confusion, vulnerability, fear, dejection and depression and also unlearn the normative definition of lust, love and everything in between, in order to thwart the desire to kill himself and find a reason to live. Through the twists and turns of hate and affection, love and break-ups, violence and near peace, he finally finds the courage to speak for himself and others like him. After several failed attempts to write this book due to the fear of the law and society, as a fifteen- old gay man who does not want to see a single person losing hope and life, Sharif has written his story where he describes how he gained an identity but lost a near lifetime, looking for love and companionship. Through this book, he hopes that anyone who feels pressure to appear ‘straight’ finds the strength to be who they are.
'This book has the power to save someone’s life one day by letting them know that they are not alone' - Gaylaxy Magazine
‘Written in simple prose, a matter-of-fact tone and with dollops of good humour, it’s the essential, empathy-generating queer autobiography we need today.’- GQ Magazine
‘Straight to Normal: My Life as a Gay Man, is about finding freedom from a life of anguish.’- The Wire
‘This Indian memoir of coming out of the closet in the face of intolerance is poignant in its detail’-Scroll.in
‘Rangnekar’s story, this book, is worth your time.’-Gaysi
‘It is a story of self-discovery and courage in face of societal stigma, and even unimaginable violence ‘’-News18.com
This book is the first of its kind’.- India Today
‘Sharif’s autobiography is a path-breaker in India when it comes to LGBTQI literature' - The Economic Times
'A book about pride and prejudice' - New Indian Express
About the Author
A communications consultant and former journalist, Sharif D. Rangnekar uses every possible platform—talks, writing and music—to advocate change and garner support for the LGBTQ community. He is the frontman of Friends of Linger, a band that is credited with India’s first dedication to the gay community—‘Head Held High’. He curates the platform ‘Embrace: Music Justice Arts’, which blends art with social justice. He held senior positions at The Economic Times and The Pioneer, before leading Integral PR as its CEO and later as its chairman. He was named PR Professional of The Year 2013 by IPRCCA. Sharif provides counsel in the area of diversity and inclusion in workplace, specific to the LGBTQ community. He is also associated with Open For Business, a global forum that promotes such policies.