Raising UP Jackie’s Realization & Navigation Narrative

comingout-Ubin-Li

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.”

WeddingPhoto1

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

o.canada.com

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 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.

jh

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 the Hmong American Bisexual Narrative

A Miao woman in China.
Photo by: Pius Lee http://www.dailytravelphotos.com/archive/2009/03/24/index.php

Story #3

Emo Miao Girl is a 19 year-old bisexual Hmong American woman from California.

In the year 2009, I was a sophomore in high school and I had a friend who claimed that she was “bisexual.” At that time, she was my friend. Of course I shared with her my problems and my curiosity of liking girls. So knowing she was bisexual, I looked up to her for advice here and there just like anybody would. At the end of the year, she moved and we became very distant, however, I eventually found out she was fake the whole time! I also learned that she claimed herself as bisexual simply for others’ attention! Anyway, my bicuriosity kept thriving into the rest of high school.

That was when I had my first and last girlfriend. I was not sure of what I was doing or wanted. I was confused at that time about my sexuality. So I gave it a try and from there I liked the feeling of being nourished by a woman. I knew that it is a woman whom I would share the most common interests with, not to mention the same sensuality with our bodies too. My attitude at that time was that only another woman could understand and love me the way I wanted to be loved. It was a great feeling that I felt, just like how any other couple would have felt.

Coming out as bisexual was difficult because of the fact that I am Hmong. I did not want to make my parents look bad and ruin their “reputation.” I was also afraid that my friends would not like me anymore if they knew about my sexuality. However, after a few months of feeling this way, I no longer cared. I showed off my pride with different colors and began hanging out with a different group of people. I began telling friends about my sexuality even if they did not ask me about it. I wanted to just shut them up so that they would not be so curious anymore.

A scene from the film Miao Miao. Photo credit from: http://www.withanaccent.com/2013/05/08/netflix-instant-files-miao-miao/

A scene from the film Miao Miao.
Photo credit from: http://www.withanaccent.com/2013/05/08/netflix-instant-files-miao-miao/

Facing my parents was the hardest experience for me. I was worried about how my own Hmong people would view me. I could already imagine what my parents will say or do to me if they knew. There seems to be so many things that they dislike in our generation. It seems as if they were born to hate things. They are upset when a daughter dyes her hair, cuts it, goes out, stays up late, or have a friend or boyfriend over. This seemed all too typical of Hmong parents. I am not saying all parents are like this, but I know so many Hmong parent who are like this. I knew the answer all along if I were to come out to my parents. The Hmong community is just too strict, conservative, traditional, and uptight about family reputations. I do not think I will live to see the day where people like us will be accepted by all of society, including the elders in Hmong society. Aside from my parents, even some of my own friends began to keep their distance from me because they thought I was going to hit on them. How sad is that? Soon, I noticed that many people were keeping their distance from me even though I was just a stranger to them.

I have not heard about any Hmong queers growing up. However, my curiosity began to peak and I began to Google about Hmong queers and Hmong LGBTQ to see if there was anything out there. Sadly, the first story that I stumbled upon was about the couple that had committed suicide many years ago. It makes me extremely sad when I read tragic stories like this.

No Apologies Quote credit by: https://www.facebook.com/AwesomeBiQuotes

No Apologies
Quote credit by: https://www.facebook.com/AwesomeBiQuotes

Now, I am out to everyone. I do not care what people think or say about me anymore. It is my life and I want to be myself. I myself am open and supportive of everyone. I do not judge others. We all have a reason why we are the way we are. We are all human beings. We all struggle in life and share problems within society. I would not want to see someone I care for suffer alone.

The main reasons why I came out as bisexual was because I came to a point in my life where I did not care anymore (about what people thought about my sexuality). It has been 4 years since I first was aware of my sexuality. In my experience, most men are asses! Yet, I dated the wrong girls as well! One mistake of my life was dating a girl who was a player. Right now, I am happily in a relationship with a man, my high school sweetie. He understands the struggles that I face. He is a supporter of the LGBT community. Even as an LGBTQ person, dating has been difficult. I just want everyone to be careful with who you fall in love with. However, stay true to who you are. Everyone will dislike you if they know you are fake, and that might include yourself, who is being fake to your own self.

Please share your story by clicking on the link below:

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.

HND Conference IMPACT Award: VOTE for LINDA HAWJ

Thanks for visiting our website! We’ve been hiatus for a while after the 2012 Election Campaign, but we’re back and refreshed for 2013. To start off, we want to invite you to take 30 seconds to support and get to know Linda Hawj a change maker in our community through 2 actions below:

1. VOTE for Linda Hawj for her Innovation, Advocacy, and Mentorship for the Hmong National Development Conference’s (HND) IMPACT Award. –https://www.facebook.com/HmongNationalDevelopment/app_162850930432266

2. If you VOTED for Linda Hawj, to ensure she is the Top 5 IMPACT Award Recipient by February 14, 2013 at Midnight (Central Time), you must help by copying and sharing the information below in the quotation marks on your Facebook page/social media:

“Never before, has there been a Hmong lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer recognized for their leadership, community organizing, art, and as a change maker in our Hmong community, nationally. Since this IMPACT AWARD is part of the biggest Hmong National Conference in history, we want to support Linda Hawj who identifies as a Hmong lesbian/queer womyn, to highlight her as an Innovator, Advocate, and Mentor. In the past 4 years, she has changed many people’s lives through courageous leadership, community organizing, commitment, and love for her Hmong community.”

CLICK ON THIS LINK TO VOTE FOR LINDA HAWJ and Thank you! :
https://www.facebook.com/HmongNationalDevelopment/app_162850930432266

* If the browser you’re using doesn’t work, try Internet Explorer or Safari. Voting from your phone will not work.

Deadline to cast your vote for Linda Hawj for HND’s IMPACT AWARD is February 14, 2013 Midnight (Central Time).”

Linda Hawj canvassing at the St. Paul Hmong New Year about the 2012 Election.

Linda Hawj canvassing at the St. Paul Hmong New Year about the 2012 Election.

Linda’s BIO:
Linda ‘Nkauj Xwb’ Hawj is a multi-disciplined Artist utilizing writing, poetry, spoken word, hip hop and filmmaking as forms of self-healing, empowerment, reflection, and to speak truths that are often silenced, marginalized or eliminated by oppressive systems. As an activist, she advocates for justice through multiple lens: gender, racial, reproductive, immigrant, refugee, and Hmong transgender and queer justice. In 2012, she was Minnesota’s St. Paul Field Organizer for President Obama’s Grassroots Campaign, and organized to defeat the MN Marriage and Voter ID Amendments.”

Thank you so much for your support and please remember to share your support in inviting your family and friends to vote for Linda Hawj via Facebook!