What does it mean to be Queer?
I thought I had been supposed to try to be white if I wished to accept my queerness. It didn’t eventually me that there have been other queer POC hiding too
For as long as I possibly could remember, I had developed always known I was queer for some reason.
In the way that my feelings for women and women around me appeared to be more extreme than these were supposed to, or just how that I’d feel very strange if I happened to visit a sexy scene of a female in a movie.
I had always been pretty open up about sexuality to my friends; I have been informing them I used to be questioning for so long that whenever I finally came out, the majority of my friends already understood for some capacity or another. WHICH I had never really had a concern with. What I really battled with was that identity compared to what I noticed in the mirror.
I can’t remember when it started, but sooner or later in elementary college, I began to hate my skin. I’d avoid looking in mirrors or catching my representation in anything to avoid seeing myself.
By nine, I had been sure my brown pores and skin made me unpleasant. Regardless of the features on my face, I felt that the skin that held them all jointly was keeping me back again from actual beauty. The internalized racism I felt was extreme and affected the whole way I was raised.
Queer culture, and the alternative culture it appeared to be intrinsically intertwined with, was dominated by white figures. It was a culture of dyed and shaved hair, flannel, and substitute relationships like romantic relationship anarchy and polyamory.
I needed immediately fallen along with it after i discovered it. I don’t think I even understood at the time that I was trying to fit into queer culture. I simply wished to wear dark lipstick but whenever I attempted, I felt like the rest of my face got darker around it. The actual hate I sensed for myself distorted my eyesight, turning my face into a face mask I couldn’t tear off. I used to have dreams that my face was melting in the reflection in front of me.
The films and TV shows that featured queer characters which were available after i was growing up were always white and thin and beautiful. Even The L Phrase was whitewashed with Bette Porter (Jennifer Beals) as the only queer of colour in a cast almost entirely comprised of white women. I don’t think there have been ever any South or East Asian women on the ensemble at all, much less being major characters.
When I would attend my high school’s Gay-Straight Alliance group, the room would almost be entirely filled up with white people. This might be something I’d learn to expect atlanta divorce attorneys queer space I’d ever enter. I would come to expect to one of the few people of colour [POC] in the room, and for a while I accepted it because queerness appeared to just be a white thing.
I hadn’t heard about queerness beyond white areas, and the only out queers I knew were white. I thought I had been an outlier; I thought I had been supposed to make an effort to be white easily wished to accept my queerness. It didn’t eventually me that there have been other queer POC hiding too.
For people of colour, coming out can be a hard and sometimes dangerous experience.
For many of us, we result from cultures that have been colonized and exploited by European settlers. These settlers were only in a position to get that power by devaluing our own religions and ideals and instead elevating Christianity; introducing homophobia and binarism into ethnicities that once celebrated sexuality.
It’s no surprise that the violence that was used to facilitate this gets passed down through our family members. Some queers of colour opt to stay static in the wardrobe for years rather than appearing out of the wardrobe, or some have to enter a pseudo-closet position to maintain some type of romantic relationship with their own families.
Before being taken to the Caribbean, my family used to be Hindus in India. I can’t tell you which parts they were from or what their background was like or anything about Hinduism, because those tales are lost if you ask me.
My mom and my grandmother grew up convinced that Hinduism was backwards and uncivilized. But before the English colonization of India, sexuality and gender had already existed on a spectrum. It makes it even harder to see the backlash that POC can face from their families.
It wasn’t until very recently which i learned all about the Hijra community and it struck me how similar their history sounded to the oppression faced by the Indigenous two-spirit community.
For a large number of years, trans women were known as hijras and were considered divine or religious guides. However when India arrived under British rule, hijra, along with other types of gender variance and homosexuality, became criminalized, resulting in the current ethnic taboo on homosexuality and gender variance. The assault and stigma they face and have confronted historically is a heavy reminder of all the other cultures that have experienced under the violent hands of colonization.
I consider to experienced a considerably easy time coming out to my mother, an activity that took several years and many fights. The first time I arrived to my mom, I informed her I had been questioning my sexuality and I had been pretty sure I was bisexual. My mom cried and told my therapist that I needed help “figuring things out.”
From then on, sexuality became a topic that was skipped over, although sleepovers weren’t allowed in my house again until I eventually promised her it was simply a phase. I then had to come out to her twice after that, every time leading into a tense and uncomfortable conversation.
I remember times where white queers would gaming console me personally on my romantic relationship with my mom when they heard my developing trip with her, but I contemplate it an easy journey. I didn’t have to move out to feel safe and my parents didn’t shun me.
Having to explain a story like this – speaking to the homophobia people of color face at home – often means throwing logs onto the fires of racism. You are either an example of your culture’s oppression or you will be the mythical queer of colour. Every tale becomes a lesson on your traditions, on racism, or, most often, both. You must state variations in privileges, distinctions in experiences, differences in tradition.
Even worse, confiding about these incidents just becomes evidence for white people to prove that they are the most progressive: erasing the histories of their ancestors eliminating ours over the same progressive ideologies they now support. It’s just another reason to discriminate against spiritual POC and another reason to call them uncivilized.
These are some of the reasons why queer areas can be unpleasant for queer people of color – and why they require a space where they can meet one another and they can talk about these experiences.
“Since our culture has made being queer a taboo, Personally i think such as a lot of queer brown kids are hiding. It’s really uncommon to meet another southern Asian queer kid,” said Anusha, a South Asian lesbian from Toronto and a close friend of mine. “It’s nice to learn that someone else in your culture gets you. I know other POC queers are dealing with similar encounters, but we don’t have a tendency to handle these things well.”
We don’t face the same developing stories and the same dating tales as white queers do. I didn’t just move out of the suburbs and suddenly find my place in the queer community. Despite having internet dating, it appeared impossible which i was even attractive to other queers, and later as I did find other POC, it seemed that our appeal correlated to how dark we were.
I began to believe that it was because queerness was natural to whiteness. I thought that they were more intensifying, which POC were just too backwards to get with the times. The same manner that I thought the way my mom spoke was uncivilized, I thought my children was too ignorant to comprehend queerness. Then I started to find out about my family’s history, colonization, and compelled migration.
For me, I wasn’t in a position to really hook up to my queerness until I started to connect to my origins and history. It wasn’t until I met other brownish and Black and Indigenous queers that I began to feel at home in my own epidermis and my gender and sexuality. And I couldn’t understand how radical it was just to love my queerness as a brownish person until I understood the assault it took to place me here. I needed to surround myself with queers who appeared as if me, whose families spoke like mine, kept beliefs like mine.
I no more separate my queerness from my brownness. Now I understand that I can’t separate both of these pieces of me and I wouldn’t want to. Just like how I can’t individual my queerness or my gender from my identification, I can’t stop being West Indian. I tried to for a very long time, but I didn’t find home in myself until I ceased aiming to be something I wasn’t.
I’d never be at home in my own skin if I wasn’t surrounded by beautiful Dark and brownish queers who found me beautiful too.