Yermay Yang is a 33 year-old Hmong Queer Christian from Wisconsin.
I first noticed that I was attracted to the same sex when I was in college. I realized that I was okay with liking beautiful women and that other people were not like me. When I finally understood what it meant to be a queer person, I felt liberated. My whole life made more sense.
I wanted to come out so that I can live my life and not have this burden of hiding who I am. It was hard to have a relationship with my mother when I was still in the closet. When I finally told her, it felt like I could start to have a relationship with her again. Coming out was hard on me and my family. I am sure it was hard for my siblings as well because they also had to “come out” about having a queer sister. My father did not speak to me for a year. Through it all, I know my parents love me regardless and always welcome me into their home.
I am out to my family and close friends. My parents were the main people I officially needed to come out to and then they told others in my extended family. My life is not all about being queer so I only tell people I feel like it is needed.
I do not feel that the Hmong community as a whole is supportive of LGBTQQI people. People still measure things in heteronormative terms. Sometimes queer people do not know how they can fit in within the larger Hmong community, so it makes it even harder for non-queer people to see how we as queer people can fit in. This is perhaps the reason why I have not heard of any past history or stories of Hmong LGBTQQI people.
Finding acceptance and a place within the Hmong community is still an ongoing issue that Hmong queers face today. Sometimes being queer can take over a person. That is, they will only be known as that “gay person.” People start assuming things about what they are like and what they do. Because of this distorted view on what it means to be a LGBTQQI person within the Hmong community, Hmong queers find it even more difficult to live their lives.
If you’re compel by Yermay’s story, we invite you (if you identify as Hmong LGBTQQI) to contribute your narrative to our collection and documenation by taking this 5 minute survey: http://tinyurl.com/HmongLGBTQQIStories
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