Parag Mehta and his partner Vaibhav…Photo courtesy of The Guardian
The Guardian recently wrote a piece on how Indian Americans accept their sexual identities while maintaining their positions in South Asian American communities.
LGBTQ youth have always faced isolation and apprehension at the prospect of coming out to their parents.
For South Asian youth, these feelings can become exacerbated because of parents who are “deeply in denial about homosexuality” and come from countries where homosexuality has been criminalized.
The Guardian piece profiles Parag Mehta,Sunu Chandy, and Radha Patel, Indian Americans who identify as LGBTQ.
Mehta came out to his parents after two suicide attempts. His medical doctor father searched for a cure for homosexuality. When he discovered that there was none, he wrote a letter about his son to the community, asking them to support him as they always had.
Dr. Mehta said, “‘There is a shame that’s associated with this, especially among the older generation, who are all too willing, …to get their gay children married off to members of the opposite sex, simply to maintain appearances.'”
Chandy accepted her parents and their mixed feelings about her sexual identity until she adopted a child with her partner. She then offered an ultimatum: If they did not accept her completely, they would not be able to interact with her grandchild. They attended her subsequent wedding, but Chandy remarked upon other family members who did not attend and her own discomfort at attending weddings with people from India.
Patel remarks upon the race and class distinctions her community has made when people pursue others from different castes, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
She elaborated upon a girl who married someone of Hispanic descent by saying, “‘She was not only disowned by the entire community, but her own parents disowned her.’”
To read the article in full, click the link below. Feel free to share your opinions and experiences in the comments section.
Sunu Chandy, her partner Erika, and their family. Photo courtesy of The Guardian