DreamingInJune is a Hmong American female residing in California.
I identify my sexual orientation as Pansexual-Queer and I am Atheist. I first noticed I was attracted to the same-sex during high school. I was never crazy about boys unlike the majority of my girl friends who were in and out of opposite-sex relationships. I tried to talk to boys but never took that next step of being in a relationship. One day, one of my siblings began dating someone of the same sex. I had always kept an open mind about homosexuality [same-sex relationships] because I read yuri and yaoi, which were manga books that had characters in same-sex relationships. I began thinking about my own sexual identity and knew I was always mentally attracted to girls, so I didn’t see anything wrong with keeping an open mind if a girl wanted to date me. I changed my sexual orientation from straight to bi-curious because I didn’t want to restrict myself from experiencing relationships with either just a woman or a man.
I am using this DreamingInJune pen name for my own confidentiality because I am not out to my parents or relatives. They suspect that I am queer because I showed little to no interest in men, marriage, or having children. Once, my mom had asked me if I was a lesbian because I attended an all-girls college and never had a boyfriend during that time. My mom brought it up because one time I was trying to cheer up my sister who was dealing with low self-esteem, I joked with my sister that I would date her if I was a guy. At that time, I told my mom that I wasn’t a lesbian, because I am still trying to understand my own sexuality, and didn’t want to share that with my parents until I figured it out. Most of my siblings have been open-minded about me because they have explored their own sexuality and had been in relationships with same-sex partners or explored.
I am out to my friends and the larger LGBTQ community. The first time I came out to friends was between 2005 and 2006 when two of my friends wanted to add me on myspace. They saw my sexual orientation as bisexual and they asked me, “You’re BISEXUAL?” and I replied, “Yeah, I’m pretty sure I am. I’m attracted to both genders.” After that, my two friends started to scoot their chairs further away from me. I stared at them and said, “Just because I’m bisexual, doesn’t mean I’m going to jump on you.” They replied, “Oh,” and scooted back some more. It’s silly that they both found me on Facebook and later on, and I discovered that one of them identifies herself as a lesbian.
I feel that there is a rising positive energy of support for Hmong LGBTQ people that is beginning to exist in the Hmong community. I believe that the younger Hmong generation are more supportive of LGBTQ issues and people in their willingness to have dialogues about it. I have had conversations with many younger Hmong folks because they know someone who identifies as LGBTQ. It seems that the older generation is confused about the experiences and what it means to be LGBTQ, because of the language and cultural barrier. There is no word for gay or lesbian in the Hmong language, so it is difficult to explain what the LGBTQ experience is to the older Hmong generation. Another reason is because they aren’t exposed to it and when they are, they do not want to talk about it.
My first time hearing about Hmong LGBTQ people was in 2009 while I was writing my ethnography paper. I found the article in Fresno Bee Newspaper, “Embracing the Forbidden | Pa Nhia Xiong,” http://mn.gov/capm/pdf/HmongTeenSuicideReport.pdf. This was one of the first articles that I discovered that had content documenting Hmong LGBTQ issues and people.
I think that one of the many problems that the Hmong LGBTQ community are facing are the individual cliques that exist. The community is not solidarity as with each other, so they only want to be associated with friends that have the same sexual orientation and/or interests. Another issue is the lack of activism and presence of Hmong LGBTQ people in Queer or larger spaces. By this, I do not mean that all Hmong LGBTQ individuals need to be activists but be informed to take some sort of step forward when the common theme of our struggles are having to be one foot out of the closet and the other in to appease our families or harmful policies leaving us vulnerable to hate crimes and speeches.
An issue I would like to bring up with the Hmong LGBTQ community is to have conversations around virginity and sex. I have never been in a relationship nor a intimate sexual relationship with another person before and I want to talk about what it means to be a virgin. I’m not saving my virginity until marriage nor am I in a rush to lose it. It’s about finding someone, trusting them, having consent, and having good vibes with that person. So far, I haven’t found that person, but I have been criticized and pressured by both straight and LGBTQ folks to lose it. By that, they tell me to get drunk one night and do it, or to find an acquaintance and do it, but I can’t separate sex and feelings. I hope to have more conversations with the community on peer pressure and consent. I hope that this story makes all of us reflect on our own story and gives one the excitement to share one’s own story through MidWest Solidarity Movement’s Raising UP the Hmong LGBTQQI Narratives.
©Linda Her and MidWest Solidarity Movement, 2011 – 2013. All rights reserved. Unauthorized distribution with the intent to sell, use and/or duplication of these images, audio, video, stories, blog posts, and materials on this blog without express and written permission from this blog’s authors and/or owner is strictly prohibited.
Excerpts and links as stated by MidWest Solidarity Movement members may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Linda Her and MidWest Solidarity Movement with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.