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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Identity » Worried about my friend

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Author Topic: Worried about my friend
Member # 51804

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One of best friends is going through a bad time right now, and I could really use some advise on how best to help him.

He's gay and his family is Indian (and Hindu, if that helps) and they're being really unaccepting, in fact they're trying to make him straight :s.

We met at university and he's out to everyone here, and his friends at home. He's been involved in our LGBT society and LGBT activism and is generally really happy. He came out to his parents a couple of months ago and when he came back to university he said it went okay, that they'd had an awkward AIDS talk, but it was otherwise fine. A little while later, when his parents came to visit, they gave him some seeds to eat which were supposed to make him straight (though he said the person his parents got them from would probably have said that they would help him resolve his sexuality or something, not that they would make him straight, because they would know nothing could just make him straight; though I think regardless this makes his parents' views pretty clear). He was definitely more depressed this last term, he self-harmed once to my knowledge and gave me or one of our other friends his scissors for quite a bit of the term. I made it clear he could talk to me, but he seems to be laughing it off and not talking about it.

Now, term has ended so he's back living with his parents. Today he told me his parents were taking him to "pray away the gay" and then later that he's been told this is a phase, but he will turn out straight and get married and have kids, but will have a brief gay affair; unless he gets a boyfriend soon, in which case he will "be hooked into the evil gay community forever" (his words, some sarcasm). Again, he seems to be laughing it off. He also said he hasn't really seen his friends since he got back (though it's only been a week) so I don't know if he has support closer to home.

I've told him he can talk to me, and he's free to come and stay with me any time. I don't want to push him into talking if he doesn't want to, and I realise I'm coming at this situation from a privileged position (my white, liberal, middle-class family have been accepting, if sometimes ignorant, of my sexuality and I've never experienced this kind of heterosexism myself), but I want to support him as much as I can.

Any advice? Do you know of any resources which are more specifically aimed at situations like this?

Posts: 134 | From: UK | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Is he connected at all with any local LGBT groups now, around where he's living?

It sounds to me like you've offered the good stuff to offer, and have done what you can here, making very clear you're available for support or as a safety net.

How much support he needs or what he needs will be up to him. For sure, for some people, things like this would be devastating, while on the other side of the spectrum, some folks don't internalize this kind of stuff and can laugh it off.

Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Ouch. What a tough situation. It must be particularly hard for him living with his parents at the moment. You sound like a really supportive and self-aware friend though, and he is lucky to have you around.

Are there other Indian and minority ethinic groups in his friends circle and your LGBT society? Maybe people who have gone through similar struggles with their families?

My family is Sri Lankan and when I came out to my parents, they too tried to pray away the gay. As far as I'm aware, they're still praying. I found that counselling really helped at that time. Mostly because my family made such mean homophobic comments which I started to believe myself, and I really needed a kind objective person to remind me regularly that my sexual orientation could be a wonderful happy thing too.

Particularly if your friend is depressed and self-harming, talking to a counsellor at university would be a good idea. It can be difficult to suggest that kind of thing as a good friend, but if you're worried about his safety, then it is important to do so.

If he is interested, there are some specific resources and support groups for young Asian men which appear to be based in London. However, even if that's not where he lives, I'm sure they could point him to some local support in his region. Try the following groups as a start:

Naz project London

The Lesbian and Gay foundation

One resource that I particularly like and you might find helpful to watch for some perspective is "Brown Like Me" (It has some young people from the Indian subcontinent but based in Canada, talking about sexual identity and family issues):

"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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Member # 51804

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Not as far as I'm aware, no. Though he has LGBT friends at home too. I just had a quick google and there seems to be a support line in his area.

Thanks [Smile] . It's good to here I'm doing the right thing. I guess now I just have to keep being there for him and trust him to ask for help if he needs it.

Posts: 134 | From: UK | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 51804

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Thanks eryn, sorry I didn't see your post before.

There are a couple of people we know at university who have gone through similar (and worse) problems with their family; who I know he has talked to, though I don't know whether he talked about this.

It's great to hear that counselling helped you through your struggle with this; I have used my university's counselling service myself, so I think I could suggest that without it being too weird.

Thank you for the resources, I really like the film [Smile] .

Posts: 134 | From: UK | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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