Time for another installment of Building Bridges, where we facilitate, then publish a conversation between two people in different life stages who have something with gender, sexuality and/or relationships in common. This time, our intergenerational pair is two women who have had their sexual orientation and identity shift for them during the course of their lives.
We hear a lot about generational divides. What we hear much less about are the bridges: how people of different generations can and do connect; how we can support and help one another and each offer the other things of great value.
I'd like to start a new series at Scarleteen to address some unique first-person experiences while also looking at generational differences and similarities, divides and bridges.
Although I think of myself as South Asian, I was born overseas and have always lived in a Western country. Our family still carries many of our traditional values from back home and we have a large community here. I came out to my parents around 3 years after having my own realizations. The impetus for this was that they had started to look for marriage partners for me.
My boyfriend has a problem with sex, I know him very well and I know he's not just being a guy. He likes to play around a lot but he's very iffy about me touching him I don't know how to help this or what to do... he did have a really terrible experience when he was younger but he's had long term relationships and he has slept with other women but only 2....
My family is supportive of my life, as long as they get to ignore the queer part. I know they can't handle it so I don't talk about it with them. As for my community of colour, the only one I've ever really been a part of is my mom's church family, and I know they wouldn't be able to handle it either.
Being queer and South Asian isn't easy; being queer and mixed is harder, because any community can put it down to the OTHER identity group. That said, my Indian grandmother has been incredibly supportive, and no one has written me hate mail or disowned me. I'm very grateful for the internet, and for the time I've spent in larger cities. Both give me a sense that there's someplace I might sort of fit in.
Being attracted to men didn't bother me as much as how that attraction would play out. There aren't many black MSMs in the media so it was hard for me to reconcile my race and my masculinity with my attraction to men. I felt as though I would be seen as weak or effeminate by others.