I come from a very loving, conservative Indian family. Throughout my entire 27 years, there has never been a shadow of a doubt that my parents and my brother love me. We’re a family that jokes around immensely. Our home has all the light, laugher, and love that you can imagine. As great as they are, my parents have always shared a traditional mind-set whereas my brother and I are more progressively minded.
My parents are from Punjab, a region in India that is known for being the land of 5 rivers. They grew up near by each other in remote villages, surrounded by lush green fields connected by roads lined with rows of eucalyptus trees. Much like the flow of the rivers that bless Punjab, the people follow a steady stream that sticks to their coveted set of rituals. My parents followed what everyone else around them had done: they helped take care of the land, went to school, and eventually agreed to go through an arranged marriage. A lot of people tend to misinterpret this as my parents being forced against their own will. Arranged and forced are not synonymous to each other. My parents may have barely known each other when they got married but they’ve been together for over 30 years and have worked tirelessly to build a foundation for my older brother and I to thrive on.
My brother and I grew up in Texas. Once we began school, we questioned everything. American parents are more lenient about spending the night at other people’s homes and having relationships with the opposite sex. Indian parents? No chance in hell for either. My parent’s strictness is why I’ve always struggled with being bi-sexual. When I was a teenager, there were many times I wanted to blurt it out but I knew my parents would not take it well. Like any other brown family, it’s always “what will people think?” My brother and I never cared what people had to say. Personally, I’ve thrived off not giving a shit. I’ve always been respectful towards the Indian community I grew up in but I never agreed with sticking to tradition. The more I grow up, the better I get at mastering the art of being a light-switch. Around my family and their community of Indian friends, I’m the dutiful Indian daughter. To everyone else outside of that circle, I’m a bi-sexual beauty. Confident, fun, and always chasing after the next adventure.
Last summer, my brother was in my room talking to me about this girl he’s been seeing. That’s when I finally came out and told him i’m bi. To my surprise, he gave me a huge hug and told me he’s sad its taken me 26 years to tell him that. He also said he wasn’t surprised because I never spoke to him about anyone I’ve dated. I explained that I didn’t want him to get suspicious over gaps in my dating life when I’d be with a woman for a while. He totally understood, then he got excited about the prospect of us going to a bar to pick up women together. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that straight bars aren’t the best pool for me to find women in but I’m grateful that he had the best reaction I could imagine. I know my secret is safe with my brother. He assured me that if I end up in a serious relationship with a woman, he’d be there for me when I come clean to our parents. He also said that on my future wedding day, he would be the first to party on the dance-floor regardless of which gender I end up with.
These days I’m feeling lighter and brighter with my brother being unconditionally supportive. Maybe in the next few years I’ll have the courage to tell my parents and the rest of my family, maybe not. Nevertheless, I’ll always have my brother in my corner, sparring away all the judgment.