Even though the South-Asian community has warmed up to the LGBTQ+ community, the respect and understanding the community deserves is yet to be discovered. The complications and confusion around coming out as Queer in a South-Asian household often erupt into emotional blackmail and a refusal of acceptance.
We speak to 23-year-old South-Asian Gursharndeep Singh, who uses his platform to create stunning art, explore culture and identity. We spoke to Gur about his experience.
How do you identify your sexuality?
I identify as a gay male. My sexuality, although oppressed by many, has privileges within the LGBTQ+ community.
Gay people have received a lot of progress within our society, both politically and socially, in comparison to the other marginalised groups that belong to the community.
There is a lot of progress left to be made to make other gender identities and sexualities’ voices be heard.
Has it been an easy journey understanding your identity?
I can say that I speak for everyone when I say that it has been a hard journey, and that is undeniably underselling it. Specifically talking about queer people of colour, who do not have to just learn about their racial identity but also must intersect their gender identity and sexuality to the midst whilst being oppressed for the very same reason, which is for being who they are. I personally struggled with my identity because I did not have an individual to look up to who could tell me that who I am was not something that was up for debate or someone’s opinion, and that it was something to celebrate and rejoice about.
Being South-Asian, how did you speak to your parents about your identity?
Being South-Asian, as much as I am proud to be one, has been a major root cause of my personal struggles. The cultural and religious aspect of belonging to that ethnic group has strongly opposed homosexuality post-colonialism. That effect has carried on for centuries and the idealisms have been passed on to my parents who do not understand what being a member of the gay community is truly about.
How did your South-Asian community/parents react?
My parents have had pre-conceived notions about my sexuality, and it was obvious when I told my mother about it for the first time that she did not support it at all. She thought she had failed me as a mother, and she thought she had neglected me growing up for me to turn out the way that I am. To this day, my mother pretends that it has not been a conversation I have been bringing to the table and will ask me if I have a girlfriend when I am on the phone with her.