Once you’ve crossed the biggest barrier of inviting your parents into who you are, you may feel you have to ‘come out’ again when you start embracing who you are. For example, last year was really the turning point for me in bringing my parents into my identity as a gay Indian South African Australian woman, and they can no longer deny my sexuality to themselves but now I feel I have to ‘come out’ again in living as who I am and especially in creating this website, Ethnic LGBT+. This is not an initiative I have shared with them as I fear they would find it all too much too soon but it is something I continue to do as I know the importance of resources like this as someone who would have really valued this throughout my ten year and continuing journey of ‘coming out’.
I wanted to share that this is an experience common to those from a culturally and linguistically diverse/ethnic background. Another person of colour LGBT+ individual who explains this well is Patrick Abboud who is of Lebanese/Palestinian descent:
“In my culture as in many ethnic cultures family is everything and the risk of losing my family was too great so I suppressed who I was. When I first marched in the mardi gras parade in Sydney 10 years ago, I was cloaked head-to-toe as a Sheikh as I wasn’t ready to come out. Now I am hosting the Gay and Lesbian Margi Gras for SBS and am nervous because my family don’t know I’m hosting it. Hosting the event feels like a ‘second coming-out’.”
“They’ll see me on the TV which they are used to, of course, but not as an openly proud, young, gay Arab-Australian representing all the amazing people that I hope to reach out to.”
Abboud said if he was asked five years ago to host the event he would have said no way, but felt he needed to make a change and wanted to send a message of support and acceptance to anyone who is in the same situation.
“Now I am ready to tell my story because I see how much it’s changed my life. I am hoping it will inspire other young people especially young people from diverse cultural backgrounds that there is a way for them to be who they are. Coming out isn’t for everyone, but at least by seeing someone they can identify with, it might just give them some sense of hope that it is possible to be who they need to be.”
Reach out to counselling services like Twenty 10 if you’d like to talk to someone further.