Dear Seema Aunty,
I am a 23 year old, brown girl from a brown land and I like other brown girls (and also girls of other colours). But you know how brown world is. They will never accept me – not my family. Suggestions?
Confused brown woman
I have been thinking about your question for a little while now; I want to give you the best possible advice. I had a friend, someone with whom I grew up, who is desi and lesbian. Her parents had been emotionally abusive and continued to do the same after she came out to them. It was a terribly difficult issue in their family.
Beta, I recommend you pursue other avenues of emotional support for yourself. Perhaps you are correct when you say your family will never support you. Create a family of friends who have had similar experiences as you and will understand what it has been like for you.
I did a little research and found a good page for you. It’s the Khush page on Sawnet’s website. Sawnet is the South Asian Women’s Network. It has listings for lesbian groups in the United States, India and in other countries. Here’s the link: http://www.sawnet.org/khush/ This page also has information about fiction and films that are germane.
Also, my dear, you are still relatively young. Please do not give up entirely on your family. Families do change over time. As your parents age, they may become different in their worldviews. I’ve seen this happen in my own family and friends’ families. Keep your eyes open and keep observing them. Perhaps there is a relative or a cousin that might be supportive? Perhaps your parents might come around? It might be that you are assuming incorrectly that they will not accept you.
In case your family doesn’t accept you and never does, don’t despair. You have many people who love you and accept you. However, it is painful to realize that your family is limited in their capacity to support you in some aspect of your life. A therapist who is a woman of color and/or lesbian may be an option to consider. Talking about this disappointment may be helpful for you and your mental health.
I wish you the very best. I feel for you, I really do. Sometimes brown world is a tough place to live, but you can do it and you can thrive. You just need to find your own place within it. If there is anything else you’d like to ask, please feel free to contact me again. Good luck.
A philosophy graduate of an esteemed liberal arts college for women, Seema Aunty has dedicated her career thus far in promoting causes for young women and the South Asian community. With a strong knowledge base formed from her own experiences growing up in a South Asian household, Seema Aunty advises young women on a variety of topics, ranging from family, relationships, and culture.
In her own words: “I know it is hard to reconcile the idea of rugged individualism with conservative desi values. Growing up was difficult. It isn’t easy to find a place for oneself in this world when we hear mixed messages about who and how we are supposed to be. I hope that what I have learned from my own life might be of some interest to young women who are now coping with difficult issues.”
If you would like Seema Aunty to answer your burning questions, please feel free to write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org. All submissions will be kept confidential.