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Asifa Lahore: Coming Out Stories

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Didn't always believed I was female. I When I hit puberty I kinda realize I was attracted to boys and I guess the time because like trans visibility was so low. I mean I go there. I'm chatting about like the late ninety. S I didn't see any trans people around me born and bred London. So I do not see Trans people around me so gay. People just assumed that I was gay. And did you articulate it to anybody? Then those people that you were gay. Did you ever commit your family's Life Gordon? I obviously like I'm from British Muslim background My parents are from Pakistan. And I'm proud of those identities but when I was growing up I felt really conflicted and I felt like I couldn't be myself and coming out was good. It was never on the table. It was one thing that I don't think I would have. I feel the time I'd never have the courage to tell my parents about me. Being who I am boy what. What did you feel the reaction would be? I think at the time I just assumed that they wouldn't understand. They wouldn't understand because Number one in like my mother languages of Job Like there's no word for gay Although I knew of at the time you obviously know that you know the word gay exists the word lesbian bisexual but in my own languages I have no idea how to say it and the other thing I thought obviously was religion would play a part of growing up inherently knew that it was wrong to be gay but I didn't know why but I just knew it was wrong. Say I just kind of didn't tell anyone so were you actively going to the mosque researching involved in pro. Yes I mean throughout my life. I've I wouldn't class myself. As someone who's like staunch by the book Muslim many people would consider me very bad in the sense that you know. I don't pray five times a day. I'm lucky if I make the the mosque. Once a week fostering down I give to charity. I believe in Gods but many people would consider me quite a liberal Muslim. Shall we say so as a child who busy going to the most can not having this conversation presumably some point you came around and you know what I've got the strength and this is the right time to hardshell. Ticky light it until more star gay. Yeah and I'll tell you exactly when it was so I sort of came out in two stages as gay one was when my younger sister found my diary I was sixteen. She was ten and she came to me and she said look. I know I've been reading a diary and I was like she had found out. I tell me about sister really sneak into my room but yes. She basically kind of confirmed somebody known minds. I live shows. I look. I'm cool with it. Just turns out MOM and dad because they're not going to understand that and because a lot of trouble so Kensington myself and it was only when I was like twenty two twenty three and I was at university. And that's when I kind of came out and all hell broke loose. And what's so? Obviously my mom and dad did not understand what it was to be gay I thought maybe there was something you know something wrong with me sexually in the sense that maybe. I don't know I remember. My Dad asking me was. Is there anything wrong with your quin or something or having right but I am discussing so many like personal things with your mom and dad is like cranes sit down conversation in the front room talk in the front room in my bedroom? It was me my mom and my dad. I don't think they wanted anyone else to hear what was going on. But they ended up basically taking me to like the local. Gp IN THEIR WORLD. They thought okay. There is something medically wrong here. Obviously like the doctor who again was from an Asian background in his sixties really stood up for me and he said look You know there's nothing that I can prescribe your son and I understand the struggles and the challenges around like culture and religion. But this is something you're going to have to deal with as family so I was then taken to the mosque and I ended up discussing so many things with my mom including like though a few things on the table one was celibacy which was never going to happen. I mean that boy I mean I was not going to tell my folks and my community that I wasn't a virgin but I wasn't but you actually discussed this with the Emma Lee. Yeah I mean Celibacy was quiet. It was like if you remain Saliba and you know you don't have same sex relationships you'll be fine. You know that was. That was never ever going to happen. The second thing that was really put on the table was marriage to a female. And the idea that if you marry then it will kill you like. Oh you haven't had sex with a woman once you're married and you have sex and you have. Children is Kinda like that side of you. Will you'll forget side of you like it. Won't it won't have happened so you must have felt very isolated insensitive. Nobody understood what you really go. Through a yeah. I felt super isolated. I mean my gay friends did not really understand. They will allow you just reject. Until why don't you just leave family and my Muslim friends obviously did not really know about me. I mean I I was living like double life and under that pressure at the time of sort of coming out. I felt like a really dark depression on. I ended up agreeing to like Marriage to like my first cousin in Pakistan and I was in that engagement for good six months. Did you meet this play around my cousin like when I was young on on frequent trips to Pakistan there was a period of my life like in my early teenage years. I lived him back some for for years. So you know I knew her and We were always good friends but you know when this whole she bang happened. It kind of felt like into really dog depression. I knew it was only when you know I I was put in touch with like lgbt charities in London where I began getting counseling. I'm where I began getting support I began meeting other gay Muslims and other LGBT Asian people. And I kid you not emma up until that point I really believed I was the only Asian Games village really really really I did. And that's a hard place to be really really hard because I kind of like felt like I was like a soldier at the time. Battening everything on my own. And you can't like he contact all these things on your own all these issues and it's only when I kind of felt like okay. I've found my people I've found my tribe. I went back to like my mom and dad and I said look. I'm not going through with this. I'm definitely gay. You know I'm not going to be forced into marriage to my female cousin and although you know my mom and dad will okay fine. There's nothing we can. No one can be forced to do this. It did Craig quite rift in the family because my first cousin is such a close relationship and stop me like going to Pakistan for such a long time because I was kind of a bit of a bit scared ashamed a bit like why did I you know why did I do that. Did she. Accept it did her family except in the end at the time but years later like you know one side come out and once I'd gone once I'd like established a successful career once I was out out to the world and once I went back to Pakistan like a good ten years after the incident they understood. Then

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