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 Cuajleeg Kennedy Yang’s Journey Forward Narrative

Disclaimer:
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I am going to take a different route in this endeavor of sharing narratives of being queer Hmong/SEA.  I never had a difficult time coming out or accepting myself as queer.  I do have troubles seeing what is to become of us, queer SEA, in our journey forward after we have come out.  Although these past stories have moved me like never before, I have had struggles that have prepared me for coming out and thus my “coming out” story has not been as inspirational.

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Cuajleeg Kennedy Yang (2013)

Story #21

Before my parent’s divorce when I was around 8-9 years old, I was just happy being myself and loving the things that I did.  Although I had toy guns and action figures as a boy, I also had dolls and mermaids.  I loved what I loved and grew a fondness for mermaids.  This love for myself was reinforced and supported by my loving family who did not care that I had an affinity for “girly” toys.  I lived with this joy throughout my childhood and nothing could have been better.  Happiness was only temporary for me though, because it took the separation of my parents to force my own growth.

Initially, I was fine and accepted my parents’ divorce.  I knew intuitively that they just didn’t function the way they used to together anymore.  However, my siblings took things differently because this divorce broke them down and shook them up.  It was like a fissure that thrashed, tore, and destroyed what they once knew was home.  Some of my siblings remained physically and mentally strong, while others were still struggling; still trying to recover from a harsh events that turned into their reality.  Out of the strong and the weak, I was one of the strong and so I did all I could to aid.

Due to this unavoidable situation my mom went through many financial hardships trying to pay off bills here and there and maintaining a house. My oldest sister struggled and persevered just trying to hold the bond of our family together.  Some of my other siblings just shut down after the divorce while the others learned to cope with the situation.  The middle brother had grown up as an angry child only to have this divorce amplify those issues.  One of my other brothers and I became his outlet for anger and we were bullied daily by him. I was targeted more so than the other and my siblings saw that, but did not know how to respond other than just shrugging it off and blaming his personality.  Despite this daily struggle I helped my family with chores around the house, like washing the dishes, cooking, cleaning, laundry, and generally just tending to my mom.

I remember whenever I would go crying to my siblings or parents, because I was being bullied, they’d always tell me to be the bigger person.  This began sinking in because I then embodied it by brushing my own feelings aside, thinking that they were wrong to have.  There were moments in my life where I remembered just crying out of no where and not knowing why.  Crying out of no where and realizing that I myself was not even feeling sad.  Crying out of no where and then telling myself that I was weak for doing so. I remember looking into the mirror and training myself to learn how to not cry because I could not take being vulnerable and targeted anymore. What I did not know was that I had come to silence myself so much that I had become detached from my own feelings and emotions.

You would think that I could find solace from this over at my dad’s house, but that wasn’t the case.  I was one of the only children to visit him and sleep over on a weekly basis.  I knew that he loved me and I loved him too.  However before I would go, my mom would tell me that I was never going to be worthy of his love because of the sole fact that I was also her son.  I remember hearing from my father multiple times that my mother did not even love me and is only using me for child support money.  At such an early age, I had to learn how to interpret their messages because they were only protecting me from the harm that they had faced with each other.  This however also bred much distrust and corruption within myself, and also brought so much internalized pain and altered my idea of love.

I began seeing the flaw within all that I cared for, and in order to protect myself from the risk of any further internal mutilation, as well as of my own growing bias of those I cared for, I closed myself off and denied myself the one thing that I always wanted and knew: love. I suffocated my heart and crushed any feelings that began to flourish all because I would rather have dealt with that pain than the more overpowering torture of loving someone, only to realize that it was all a lie.  All that had laid where my heart used to be was nothing but an empty husk of hollowness that slowly pulsated, gasping for life as the void slowly crept inside and began growing within it.

Darkness was the only thing that that held my heart, free of judgment and unconditionally, I was all too eager to accept whatever embraced me in that way.  I came to love the one thing that had been there with me throughout all the tribulations.  It was the only thing that evoked me of my humanity while I already lingered so far off the edge.  It constantly reminded me of how alive I had been through the sufferings that I endured.  When I could no longer see with a clear conscious and vision, it was darkness that enabled me to feel instead.  The very sensation that I had casted away.  I flourishing in the shadows of my own isolation.

I became my own morphed beacon of hope.  My mentality evolved from corruption into my own truth of knowing, that in the end, I was always going to be alone in my own journey and that no matter how similar someone was to me they would never completely understand. There was a haunting tranquility in knowing that even though there are those who loved me, they will not always be there; and the only person to be there with me in the face of darkness will be myself. So from this, I learned how to stand on my own and thus began my transformation into who I am today.

It has been and still is such a lonely path that I continue to tread on.  Overwhelming sadness that crawls through me and makes me motionless at the most spontaneous of times.  What seems like demons whispering into my ears and twisting my mind.  Pushing people who care for me away and bringing myself solitude just so that I can feel the familiar and welcomed touch of sadness to rush through me and have me feel something if anything at all.  Realizing that moments of true happiness has escaped from me and then already being so out of tune with myself that I was never present to experience them.  The most unbearable feeling of all though are the moments where I sense a state of surrealness within myself.  The feeling radiates coldness as well as warmth through my body, but I have become so numb that it even happens; it is as if I am undergoing an outer body effect.  Purgatory would seem is the closest definition that I have to describing it.  Neither feeling good or neither feeling bad, just there as if I was nothing at all and what seems like a moment just stops and feels like an eternity.

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Cuajleeg Kennedy Yang (2013)

The only things that seemed to have grounded me into reality was different aspects of myself who made me, me.  Part of that is myself identifying as a queer hmong man.  I had previous thoughts about this in middle school when I would be called gay on a weekly schedule, but I never thought of it as an insult nor was it spoken to me as such.  It was nothing big for me though, I was not going to let folks define me anyways.  One of the only examples was that I remembered this boy who was very handsome named Jared who just had an amazing smile, amazing hair texture, and style.  Sadly he moved away when it came time to high school.  Other than that one singular attraction, I hadn’t really thought about my sexuality back then.

This did get my mind going about what I really did find attractive, in terms of man or woman.  I began thinking and coming into realization that I had a different and stronger attraction towards men.  This was not coalesced until my sophomore year in high school because I was able to better articulate and have more access to resources to learn from.  I was more equipped to look up terms and definitions to identify myself more.

I officially “came” out to my sister when I was able to define myself.  It was just a weekday and my sister was in her room.  I had gone in very quietly and just said that I needed to talk.  When I finally told her that I was gay, she consoled me and said everything would be fine.  During that time I had cried and only after I “came out”, did I realize that I had nothing to cry about because there was and is nothing wrong with being queer.  After this, I never came out again because it shouldn’t be an “obstacle” that us queers, majority of the time, dread looking forward to.  I am fine with expressing my sexuality but it is but a part that contributes to a larger picture of the whole person that I am.

When seeking out help and friends from the gay community, I was mistaken by many folks whom were interested in other things.  I was not looking for sex at all and only looking to expand my perspectives and insights as a queer Hmong man.  One thing that I do remember was that majority of the people who messaged me were old white men.  It was fine but when they were only trying to dominate me, that was when I had enough of them.  I did message out other folks with more diverse backgrounds but only things I received were silence or ignorance.  I was so done with this and so I went back into my mind.  I did this to find out and process why and how racist and sexist the gay community really is.

Having become my own support, I was able to rely on myself again when I was not receiving support from the gay community. I casted them aside because they were nothing but a mirror of the oppressive ways that I did not need or wanted to be a part of.  I once again shut myself out but I am glad that I did this time because I was then able to seek out more specialized support with other Queer Asian Folks whom were not internalizing racism and sexism.  This then has lead me to being great friends and acquaintances with wonderful people who do great work with racial, social, economic, and intersections of all injustices in our world.  (MWSM)

There are also a lot of things that I wanted to incorporate into this story and how each aspect of my life had intertwined and affected one another, but for the sake of time and my own sanity, I have chosen a few major events that have shaped me.  Other things that I wanted to incorporate were: White Supremacy, Racism, Race, Classism, Sexism, Sexism within the Gay Community, White Supremacy within the gay community, body imaging, Social Justice works, and much much more. If you all have any questions, I am a core member of MWSM so feel free to send me an email Cuajleeg@mwsmovement.com a phone number can also be provided via email.

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If you’re compelled by Kennedy’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 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.

Xhokeezheng Photography

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 Pheng’s School Challenges and Discovery Narrative

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Story#14

Pheng is a  year old and identifies as a gay male residing in California.

I didn’t realize it until the end of my freshmen year in high school. I’ve always been attracted to men – both physically and emotionally. I guess I was just so used to ignoring my true feelings because of how I grew up.

Growing up I always was surrounded by girls, rarely guys. I just felt more comfortable around them than anyone else. I would do so much with my aunt and cousins (all female) whether it be playing house, playing with their barbies or stuffed animals, and even watching movies of Barbie, princesses, mermaids, you name it.

My memories bring me back to always not fitting in with the guys while playing sports; they played too harsh for me and used too much profanity for my taste. So instead I played tetherball with the majority of the girls; I was the best of course. But every time I did try to play with the boys, now that I think back, I was just being taken advantage of. I wasn’t there to play, I was there to be used, to catch the ball and hand it over to one of the “better” guys. Absolutely ridiculous. Playing tetherball with the girls though, that was a joy. I was always so competitive, so passionate about my doings when around them; I was comfortable. I just didn’t fit in with the guys, they did things out of my interest; video games being one of them. When I try to hang out with them, it just didn’t seem right. It was awkward, and let me mention, boring. But having hung out with my female cousins so often, I grew to have a feminine personality, and I’m admitting it now. My gestures, the way I talk, and the way I walk; it was something else. And for that, I was bullied and tormented my whole childhood.

Growing up I was a careless child, or so I thought. When being called names and such, I recall ignoring them, yes, but at the same time – I was dying inside. I hated myself and how and who I was as a person. None of my girl friends at school seemed to notice anything of course, but the guys did. We’re talking elementary school here, I was so young. At my elementary school, there was a certain group of boys in my grade and the next; they were my bullies. I remember being called gay, gayass, f***** fag, loser; you get the point. Like I said, I ignored the majority of it; after all, I’ve been doing it since forever.

One time at one of our annual school carnivals, one of those boys called me a “fag” and pushed me on the ground, scraping my knee. It was bleeding and I didn’t know what to do but kneel on the ground huddling my bleeding knee. I remember my sister Yer being there too, coming out of the crowd and shoving him while screaming something like “What the f***, why’d you push my brother?,” as he walked away chuckling. I still need to thank her for that. I think I was bullied so much throughout my elementary years; I didn’t even care much anymore.

Another situation I recall is having been dared to touch a girl’s butt to prove to a student of my grade that I wasn’t gay. Of course, I attempted it but I didn’t end up doing it. At the end because of talkers a couple students and I got escorted to the principal’s office. I did my part of the explanation, and didn’t get in any trouble. I guess my good grades and relation to my principal saved me from trouble. He knew me, I was everywhere. I was probably the biggest troublemaker at the school; but I had good grades and supporting teachers so I never really got in major trouble.

The last of my drama in elementary school would have to be when I got 3 of the 6th graders (I was in 5th) in trouble, possibly suspended (I don’t recall), for calling me gay. I was switched seats, and sat by friendlier people. I think I made such a big deal of being called “gay” that our principal addressed the situation at an assembly. Now that I think about it, I feel pretty darn special for him to have made a statement protecting my rights (not directly, but I got the feeling).

As far as my childhood in elementary, family wise, I would have to say it was just as bad; but different. I took it more personal, because it was my family, cousins, that kept bugging me and calling me names. It was usually my cousins that were teens and in their twenties. I was always questioned about who I hang out with, the way I talk and walk the way I do, basically everything. Like I said, I’ve been trying to ignore negative comments so much I got used to it; therefore sometimes I just zoned people out. Maybe it was because I was mad? Disappointed in myself? I know I just didn’t ignore their comments, because if I did, I wouldn’t be writing this. I wouldn’t recall those hurtful remarks that scarred me as a child. All the things I chose to ignore, today, is everything about me.

Some of the things an older cousin of mine have said to me when I was a kid, I still stuck to me till this day. I do so because it’s one of the reasons why I am able to reflect and admit to myself that through out my childhood to my freshmen year in high school, I was running away from this big truth to my life. I hear his exact voice saying this every time I think about it, “Pheng, if you ever turn gay, I’m going to kick your ass.” Me, feeling like a glass that just hit concrete; shattered. A little was the content, more it was because he was one of the very few of my cousins that I truly look up to. Since then, I grew to be more afraid of what others thought of me.

Growing up and going to middle school I told myself that I was straight. Even bisexual was out of the question. I looked at girls only. I had a couple girlfriends, which definitely made my parents happy; and me, temporarily. But I can’t help but think back on checking out all the guys at school. I could remember more cute guys than I could remember the girls. Boys in the locker room, them playing ball in the gym, everything about guys excited me. Teacher, substitutes, my fellow classmates, the list goes on and on of my attraction towards them but of course too scared and ignorant to admit it to myself; so I continued thinking the way I did about “being gay”, that it was a bad thing.

Then I hit high school, which would be about 2 years ago. I still considered myself straight. Through middle school and most of my freshmen year when I was asked if I was gay or even bisexual, I made sure I immediately reply, “no” or “of course not”. That seemed to help suppress my feelings towards men. Not until I found online resources, press about gay equality; it was then that I had to at least think about it. Events that really impacted my thoughts of life and people in general was some of the educational conferences I applied for and got into at colleges in California. Pursuit of Higher Education (POHE) and ShadowNite at UC Berkeley were the most life-changing experiences I’ve ever had. There was such a diverse group of students there, everybody fitting in regardless of race, personal differences, or sex orientations. I then was not only motivated to pursue high education; but to pursue myself. Reach the heart of my soul, hug it, comfort it, and tell myself that I’ll be okay to be what I want to be. I thought a lot about it, and couldn’t deny the truth. At the end of freshmen year I progressed to thinking I was bisexual.

Sophomore year is when I came to the realization and understanding of my true self, I am simply gay. I could tell you that I am so much of a happier person now that I am able to express myself in the ways I want to. I don’t have to say things that’ll hide my identity. I don’t have to deny the fact that I truly am indeed attracted to my same sex. I don’t have to deny me. I am truly happy, I am satisfied, actually grateful, of the person I’ve become.

Now here’s what everyone’s been waiting to read — my coming out story. I actually just came out to my dad, him being the last one to know in my intermediate family, about a month ago. It was harsh, as for things happened very oddly. My close friends and siblings in my household knew about me being gay and they were supportive; which I’m thankful for. But let’s start with coming out to my mom, who is a very nice lady. I would always tease about having to tell her something. One night, she came and laid next to me on my bed. She asked in Hmong, “What do you need to tell me?” I said like I usually do, “nothing Mom, I’m just messing with you.” And eventually after constant questioning and assumptions, I told her. Her reaction took me by surprise. She stopped talking, stared at me, and I saw the rage build up in her little by little. Looking at me straight in the eyes she exploded with questions like, “who told you that?”, “who’d you hear that from?”, and ended off with saying “I don’t want to hear those words from your mouth again.” I was devastated. Out of all the people in the world, I would at least expect her to understand and accept me for who I am. She was my mom. I was disappointed and felt uneasy. For the next couple of days I randomly feared that she may do something to me, just because she and people of my religion were so against it. After all, I am the first Lor in my family to be gay. But of course I was just thinking way too much. My mom later then tried to convince the rest of my siblings to persuade me to change who I am, they simply shut her down. They supported me and argued against my mom. My mom is now slowly, but progressively, coming to an understanding of who I am and that it wasn’t easy for me, all that I went through to be who I am today.

The story to my dad finding out about me, is an interesting and emotional one. My relatives from another state started talking about me I guess. Started spreading rumors, messing with my step mom, my dad, and my older sisters’ head. They were so confused and shocked about what they were hearing; that I was gay. My dad called me out of my room, to sit next to him and discuss my situation with him as a few of my family members were present to support me. He asked if I was going to confirm that the rumor is true, or deny it. I tried my best to slowly let him know that it wasn’t just a rumor. I could of lied to him to make things a lot easier, but I honestly couldn’t; and at the end I admitted it to him. He was speechless. He lectured me, as he started choking in tears. I did the same as I just shut up and listened. Tears after tears, I grew a little stronger. I started reasoning with him, as he kept on repeatedly saying that I couldn’t fulfill my duties as being a person, being Hmong, if I was gay. He was furious, he didn’t want to hear a word from me, and nothing I said would change his mind. And I know him too well, I argued the least I could because I just know there was no point in arguing with my dad.

It’s been a month or so since I came out to everybody. I know my parents are disappointed in me, upset, a little of everything. But I can’t do anything other than hope and keep hoping for their understanding. It’s tough, it really is. Especially when you look at your parents and see disappointment in their eyes, no joyful facial expressions at all sometimes. But there’s something I know and they know, is that I’m not a half-bad son. My grades are good, I’m involved in school, I work and support myself, in what way have I not satisfied their wants and needs other than now? I have a strong feeling that one day it will all be better. That time will heal this brokenness between us all. My parents are unconditional lovers and I have no doubt they’ll still be there by my side at the end.

Being gay, it’s never easy to express your sex orientation. There are always different thoughts and opinions out there of LGBTQQI people like us. We’re still the same person as we were yesterday, maybe one or two things have changed, but does that make us a bad person? It doesn’t, not one bit. Yes, you’ve changed, but you changed for the better; for yourself. Resources and support is out there, in social media, community organizations, or even clubs at school. Be sure to surround yourself with them, it’ll do nothing but benefit you. I live in Fresno, CA, and the community is as supportive as can be. Although the Hmong community in particular may not be as open to it as I would like; I am here to make a change. Take a stand, represent us people of color, and make sure that future generations can feel as comfortable in their own shoes as can be.

gay-love-quotes-754x567

http://www.icatpic.com/

My advice to anybody and everybody out there is that it gets better, just be patient. Those struggles, those tears, those years and years of confusion and possibly even misery, that’s all hard work. To define who you are, to find yourself, and build yourself to be the strongest person you’ll ever know. That’s the challenge and at the end of the day; it’s just up to you to decide who you want to be tomorrow. Be patient, embrace the love and support around you. You’re living in a world of rainbows, just keep your head up and smile, embrace your true colors.

If you’re compel by Pheng’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 Pao’s OUT of Hiding Narrative

40% Homeless Youth are LGBTQ & the number 1 Reason is family rejection. - Photo Credit: http://queerability.tumblr.com/post/47796790712/40-of-homeless-youth-are-lgbt-the-1-cause-of

40% Homeless Youth are LGBTQ & #1 Reason is family rejection. – Photo Credit: http://fenwayfocus.org/2012/10/spiritday2012/

Story #11

Pao is a 17 year-old, Atheist, Gay man from Minnesota. (Pao is not the real name of the person of this story)

I first noticed that I was attracted to the same sex at the age of 5. I was very young, but I knew what I felt. Growing up, my sister would always dress me up, and I actually liked it. I wouldn’t say it was her fault that she made me gay, I chose to be gay. To me, it felt so right liking a guy. I believe I should have every right to feel what I want to feel without someone judging me. Overall, I feel happy because it is who I am.

Asian Amer Drag Queen Photo Credit: Leland Bobbé from http://www.walltowatch.com/view/8556/Drag+Queens+Before+and+After

Asian Amer Drag Queen Photo Credit: Leland Bobbé from http://www.walltowatch.com/view/8556/Drag+Queens+Before+and+After

Sadly, I’m not out yet. The main reason is that I brought up the conversation to my mom. She never asked if I was gay, but she always told me stories of other gay people. My mom told me these stories so that I wouldn’t turn out like them. But I am gay, which she doesn’t know about. It’s that fear that I have, even though I don’t mind telling her. I asked her if she would kick me out of the house if I were to be gay, and she stated that she definitely would. I am waiting for the right moment when I can tell my family and friends that I am gay, so I can stop hiding who I truly am.

I have never heard of any Hmong LGBTQ, nor have I heard any stories of Hmong LGBTQ and how their parents treated them when they came out. I only know of my own experiences. I think parents have specific views and goals that they want us to achieve for them. One example is getting married and having grandchildren. It’s weird to see a gay guy marry another guy to their eyes. Some parents are accepting and some others are just too traditional. They fear that we might lose our Hmong tradition.

I believe an issue I am facing right now is having to live up to a standard that society holds us to. The issue is having to tell my family that I am gay, and opening up to others. There is no problem with me at the moment, but when the time comes I will handle the issue and deal with what needs to be dealt with. Most of all, I think we fear being gay. There’s no shame in being gay, but we just don’t want to be looked down upon. We still have the fear that is always at the back of our minds. That is why I am only out to certain people. Those people are my good friends. They understand me and they love me for who I am. It is comforting and wonderful to know that my close friends are not ashamed of me for being gay.

GLBTQ Atheist - Photo Credit: http://www.thinkatheist.com/group/glbtqatheists

GLBTQ Atheist – Photo Credit: http://www.thinkatheist.com/group/glbtqatheists

Hmong Atheist - Photo Credit: http://www.hmongatheist.com/

Hmong Atheist – Photo Credit: http://www.hmongatheist.com/

If you’re compel by Pao’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.

Come Celebrate MINNEAPOLIS PRIDE with Us!

 

HAPPY PRIDE WEEK! Come Celebrate Minneapolis Pride with us and meet other Hmong LGBTQ people! We have awesome activities that you can have FUN and learn at the same time:

  1. History of PRIDE through multiple communities and their stories.
  2. What is PRIDE beyond the glitz and glam?
  3. Where do you, we belong in the history of PRIDE? Mapping and documenting our stories into Pride History.
  4. Learn & research about LGBTQA organizations in your area that provide services you need.
  5. March with us at the Trans and Dyke March!
  6. Soulfriday Dance Party.

*If you haven’t filled the Raising UP the Hmong LGBTQQI Narrative Survey, please do so here: http://tinyurl.com/HmongLGBTQQIStories

For more information about celebrating Minneapolis Pride with us, please contact us at: linda@mwsmovement.com or txoov@mwsmovement.com. Thank you!