Raising UP AV’s Not Alone Hmong Bisexual Narrative

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fencesitterfilms.tumblr.com

Story #22
AV is a 15 year-old, Hmong American, female, bisexual, and Christian from Wisconsin.

I was probably at the age of 13 when I first noticed that I was attracted to people of the same-sex. I always thought that being bisexual was a choice. It took me awhile to actually admit to myself that I liked both boys and girls. I found it easy to tell my friends and parents. It seemed my parents were willing to accept my bisexuality, especially the fact that my mom wished I was a son. So as I became older, I tended to just open up and tell others that I am bisexual. However, I do feel embarrassed sometimes when I reveal that to others. I felt like people were getting into my businesses. I didn’t like that my family members would ask me why I like girls. They would constantly ask if I have a girlfriend. I felt annoyed because I am a teenager and I wanted people to mind their own businesses.

I do not have a specific reason why I came out. On a specific occasion, we were partying and out of nowhere I started making out with a girl. I felt like I pressured that person to do it, but she said she was fine with it. Therefore, people started to notice I was a bisexual and it felt okay because I did not have to hide it anymore at that instant. It has been 2 years now since my friends know about my sexuality. However, those who do not know do tend to become very upset when I tell them now. Overall, my relationships with everyone is going fine, except my relationships with my siblings, and especially my sisters. They do not like it. They always think that I am lying, but here I am, I want to tell everyone that deep down inside me, I do like girls.

I don’t have much to say about coming out, however, because I did not feel that it was not hard for me to open up to others. However, for those who have a harder time coming out and opening up to others, especially gay men, I do feel very sorry and for them. I think their fathers will be especially hard on them. I encourage them to keep trying and to follow their heart. I am able to say that I am accepted by my parents and friends. For this, I would like to thank them for understanding and loving me. I will and want to help and share stories with those who are Hmong LGBTQ, especially those who are going through hard times in life.

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thitbokho.wordpress.com

Sometimes I do feel that the Hmong community is supportive, or at least aware, of  Hmong LGBTQ. I have have seen videos of Hmong LGBTQ that are out, and have done videos. Knowing that I am not alone, and knowing that I can accept the fact that I am bisexual makes me happy. I believe people who are LGBTQ exist everywhere in Hmong communities across the country. The problem is that it is hard to open up and be out, especially since rumors and gossips spread quickly. However, I encourage those out there to open up and go meet new friends. Who knows, you might even meet your future love.

I am involved in a Hmong organization called Hmong American Women Association. One day, the counselor was talking about being LGBTQ with one of the volunteer there. Her name was Sooya. I give credits to her because I think she is amazing. That is all that I have heard anyone speak openly about being LGBTQ. I think the organization can provide others with sources about being lesbian, gay, or bisexual.

If you’re compelled by AV’s story, we invite you (if you identify as Hmong LGBTQQI) to contribute your narrative to our collection and documentation by taking this 5 minute survey: http://tinyurl.com/HmongLGBTQQIStories

©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.

Raising UP MT’s Living in the Light Narrative

The Pink Choice

invisiblephotographer.asia

Story #20

MT is a 15 year old gay Hmong male living in Minnesota.

I started to like the same sex when I was around 7 or 8 years old because I wasn’t attracted to women and I couldn’t have feelings for them. I saw boys as more “cute.”

I came out because I wanted to be free to be who I am and to stand up for myself. I wanted to fight for my own freedom and stay true to my real identity. I think it’s been around 3 years now since I came out. It’s true that relationships I had with some people have changed because those people have called me names. Now, those names have become a joke and we all just laugh about it and go along with it. I mean, people feel more comfortable to be around me now since I am a straight up person about myself and show them the true self of me, I guess people are okay with it the fact I am gay.

I think the younger generation of the 21st century is more accepting than the older generation of Hmong people. I honestly have told people straight up and asked them questions about me being who I am and some of the answers from them are pretty okay-ish. One reply that I have heard the most when I asked them was, “I am cool with gay people but as long as they don’t do gay s*** to me then I’m cool with it.” This response was mostly from boys and it made me feel more comfortable being around them to express myself and be myself.

I have not heard any Hmong LGBTQ stories but I have three friends two are gay and one is bisexual. 🙂

Being who I am as a gay man, the issues I’m facing is trying to be this Hmong guy who is himself with his own freedom. Also, I’m trying to live in the light and not in the darkness of a community that is not educated enough about this reality and its social life that exists today in society

If you’re compelled by MT’s story, we invite you (if you identify as Hmong LGBTQQI) to contribute your narrative to our collection and documentation by taking this 5 minute survey: http://tinyurl.com/HmongLGBTQQIStories

©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.

Raising UP Jackie’s Realization & Navigation Narrative

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mochimag.com

Story #19

Jackie is a 22 year-old, Hmong American lesbian from California.

Like everything in my life I was first “awaken” when I was in third grade (roughly 8 or 9 years old). If you know me, you would know that it was a big year for me. It started with the discovery of Santa’s identity, realization that childhood is not like time and space (it has an ending point), and my curiosity for girls. More about me – I was born and raised in San Diego, CA. I have one older sister, two younger brothers, and a set of loving Hmong parents. San Diego has a very small but well connected Hmong community. Our Hmong New Years are still held with sharing free food on a selected date, and we have no entrance fees. Let’s just say that it is so small that I have yet to meet face to face with my first Hmong lesbian or Hmong transgender. Coming from such a small community, I did not want to be the talk of the town. When I was younger  I remembered feeling that God had screwed me over. Besides blaming God, I blamed myself for years over my sexuality.

Coming out – I was around 15. The first person I told was my sister. I told her that I was bisexual (It turns out I was gayer than I expected, I identify myself currently as lesbian). After telling her I came out to my friends and finally the hardest part was my parents. Well, the thought of telling them was not the actual event. My mom thought it was a phase (later on she realized that I was super gay and did not see how she could have missed it, and my dad think it’s a choice). When I was 15 years old I was a very depress. I did not know who I was my purpose in life or if someone would ever love me in this lifetime. I met this little cute Mexican girl and we dated for 2 years before going our separate ways. She taught me important lessons, first and foremost that I could love someone. Secondly, I could be loved by someone. Lastly, the purpose of my life is to be happy and share that happiness with others. Now a days, I am going to work and school full time but I am more hopeful and willing to change for the future. I also dream about owning a nice house, have a nice job, and hopefully come home to a lovely wife. My mom has given up on “it is just a phase you’ll get over it”. My mother has since moved into “I hope you find what you’re looking for, and please stay happy it makes me happy.”

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theguardian.com

I honestly don’t know if the Hmong community will be accepting of LGBTQIAs. I have yet to experience the wrath or love from this community. What I do know is my father is the closest thing I can connect with when it comes to Hmong Community. He is very old school and we still practice the traditional afterlife supper. A few months ago, my father has asked/informed me that he would like to see me married to a nice man, have kids, and have someone to take care of me when I’m old. The first few times he has remarkably caught me off guard. How do I tell my father that my sexual interest and desires without coming off too strong? He is the only man in my life I find lovable. I told him that I did not want to be the second wife (like all my aunties), I didn’t want to single-handedly support my “kids”, I didn’t want a deadbeat husband (like most of uncles, cousins, and brother), and that boys didn’t make me happy. I told him of my dreams: I wanted independence, an education, a home, a great job, and a woman to share it with. I cannot believe that I sold him my lesbianism with higher education. My father is all for it. He still thinks it’s a choice but is willing to accept it if I do well in life and he does not have to support me. To this day I think he thinks that by his little girl being a lesbian means he was a bad father.

Like every Hmong American lesbian with internet access – I Google “Hmong Lesbian” and came across the Hmong double lesbian suicide pact. It broke my heart to know that it was the best answers they could come up with. The girls could not overcome the “now moment” and resort to suicide. Other than that I am a part of a Hmong LGBT group on Facebook. Otherwise my association is with more with non-Hmong American LGBT groups and friends.

If I was to fully ever come out over Facebook this is what it would say. Its important because i want to be open with myself and be ready.
For those who don’t know – I guess today is as good as any day to come out as a lesbian 😀
For those who do know yeah I know it’s about time.
Questions I don’t want to hear.
How do you that you are really gay if you never dated a man, how do you know that you won’t like it, and lastly what are the chances of you marrying a guy?
To sum it up for those who won’t get it. I have a question for you! When did you first realize that you were straight and what are the chances of me seeing you marrying someone of the same sex?
I know it is hard to take it in BUT your little Jackie is a little lesbian!

My sexuality is on a need to know basis. I am open to all my friends, and my inner family. I do not flaunt my sexuality at work, because my personal life and professional life are separate. If someone would like to know anything about me, my life is an open book and all they have to do is ask the right questions (portraying to work or life of course – whichever I may classify them under).

Nepal LGBT Games

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If you’re compelled by Jackie’s story, we invite you (if you identify as Hmong LGBTQQI) to contribute your narrative to our collection and documentation by taking this 5 minute survey: http://tinyurl.com/HmongLGBTQQIStories

©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.

Raising UP John’s Painful Past to a Brighter Future Narrative

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sites.dartmouth.edu

Story #18

John is a 20 year-old gay Hmong man from California.

I remember the first time I came out was to a classmate in the 2nd grade. The classmate asked me jokingly, “John, which guy do you like?” I told her I liked a certain boy in the 4th grade and I answered with his name. It was the most shameful day of my life. The girls in my class yelled and hollered that I have a crush on this guy and it made me cry. Ever since then, I was constantly bullied by the girls in my class until recently. On the other hand, I came out to my high school teacher that I was confused of my sexuality. I knew I was either bisexual or gay but in the end I found out I’m attracted to men.

The first reason why I haven’t come out yet to my family is because of my parents would be angry for ruining their last name. Secondly, it’s hard and it’s going to be difficult for them to accept a Gay family member in their home, especially if I brought over a boyfriend to hang out. Lastly, I’m not so sure if I can get married with my partner, so I’m not ready yet, but probably one day I’ll confront them.

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I’m my opinion, the Hmong community is not really supportive of Hmong LGBTQ, because some of our parents or family from Laos or Thailand is still really old fashioned. They don’t really think about sexuality besides beginning a family or having a career in becoming a doctor. I believe that most LGBTQs in the Hmong community should test their family members to see if they do care whether or not their children are LGBTQ.

My little brother is the baby in my family and told me he was gay at age 16, but he was scared to come out, and so, I understood him. I’m a big brother that he mostly follows and talks with to express his feelings.  I’m glad that I became a part of his world to influence him to be a strong and brave person…

For now, my issues are confronting my parents; my confidence depends on some people, for example, some straight guys that understand LGBTQ, because there are some that don’t like gay guys around them. It makes them badly nervous and it makes them think that we only want to have sex with them, but we aren’t. We are just trying to build a relationship with other gay men and connections with everyone.

Some of my friends and teachers understand my issue and it makes me feel like I have another family who understands the feeling and pain I’m going through this whole lifetime.

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glsen.org/respectny

If you’re compelled by John’s story, we invite you (if you identify as Hmong LGBTQQI) to contribute your narrative to our collection and documentation by taking this 5 minute survey: http://tinyurl.com/HmongLGBTQQIStories

©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.

Raising UP JV’s Transformation and Desire for Consciousness Narrative

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Saving Face (2004)
queerious.com

Story #17

JV is a 25 year old, Hmong American, identifies as a lesbian and residing in Wisconsin.

When I was 13 years old. I was felt confused, unsure of why I had such feelings for the same-sex. So I did what every pre-teen did, I hid it from myself and everyone else. I tried my best to be normal.

I’m out to my parents, all my cousins, and my friends. I made choice not to come out to my elders, out of respect for my parents. I choose to come out because I didn’t want to live a lie anymore. I was tired of living a double life. I was tired lying to people I love. When I first came out it was hard, my parents took really hard. They didn’t speak to me for a few months. I mean I understood why they were so hurt by choice. It’s been eight years now since came out to my parents and things have changed a lot. My parents have done 180 and they support my choice. I mean don’t get me wrong there is still a longs way to go but I’m truly blessed to have wonderful parents. I’m also very proud of both them for making such a great change.

I honestly don’t feel that the Hmong Community is very supportive. I feel as if we exist only in the shadows of the Hmong culture because it is such taboo for our culture. It’s something that is frowned upon and never spoken of. Though we exist, we hide to save face.

I think that the main issues is just acceptance from our community. We’re all still Hmong, even though we’re gay, lesbian, transgender, bi, or queer. Hmong blood pumps our veins and into our hearts. We are all Hmong before we’re anything else, so why can’t we be accepted?

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hmongthrills.tumblr.com

If you’re compel by JV’s story, we invite you (if you identify as Hmong LGBTQQI) to contribute your narrative to our collection and documentation by taking this 5 minute survey: http://tinyurl.com/HmongLGBTQQIStories

©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.

Raising UP J.H.’s Growth and Patience Narrative

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Story#13

J.H. is a 31 year old, Hmong American and identifies as a gay male residing in California.

I believe I was in the 5th grade when I knew that I was not like my other males friends. It was my first time watching the movie Pretty Woman and I just thought that Richard Gere was the hottest guy that I had ever seen. I don’t remember feeling abnormal because I had older sisters and I just thought that it was normal.

I came out because I felt that it was part of growing up and accepting yourself, but I’m not out to my parents. I just can’t find the right time and the right words in Hmong to tell them. I also remember that when I came out in the 90’s, I felt like I was the only one. I was the only Hmong person at every gay event that I went to. It wasn’t until the early to the mid 2000s when I started seeing and meeting other gay Hmong folks.

Unfortunately, I haven’t heard of any Hmong LGBTQ stories but I do know that in my family there are men and women who lived their whole life as a single individual until they day they died. I think there isn’t much support in the Hmong community because being gay is “new” and  I strongly believe there is a lack of the Hmong community support.

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If you’re compel by J.H.’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

©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.

Raising UP Yermay’s Family Acceptance & Recognition Narrative

Sept 099Story #12

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.

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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

©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.

TAKE THE SURVEY BELOW: Raising Up The Hmong LGBTQQI Narratives: Coming OUT Process

PLEASE TAKE THE SURVEY HERE: http://tinyurl.com/HmongLGBTQQIStories

Fam, Friends and Community!

PLEASE TAKE THE SURVEY HERE: http://tinyurl.com/HmongLGBTQQIStories

You are invited to share your Coming OUT stories and progress as Hmong lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and intersex (LGBTQQI) individuals. We will be sharing your Coming OUT stories on our Blog: mwsmovement.com. This is an ongoing effort, and we will be posting the first story next Friday, June 21 to celebrate Pride Month. Sharing your story can transform other Hmong LGBTQQI’s lives, and be a story of change to educate others, especially our Hmong parents, family, and community. Celebrate Pride Month with us by taking 5-10 minutes of your time to help raise our narratives, click on this link now: http://tinyurl.com/HmongLGBTQQIStories

 

Please share widely!

Thank you,

Linda