Being BAME and LGBT+: My personal coming out story

In our latest LGBT+ Network Member article, Community Pharmacist Vimal Patel shares his personal coming out story. He also explores what it's like to be both BAME and LGBT in the community.

Tue 13th April 2021 The PDA

Coming out of the closet was unquestionably difficult. When you are both LGBT+ and BAME, it is especially hard as there is double prejudice. One would have thought that the BAME community would be more accommodating, considering that they face their own prejudices, mostly racism.

However, I have found less acceptance from the BAME community regarding LGBT+ individuals. I consider that the issue is more of a cultural one in instances where family and standing in the community are placed over the needs of the individual.

For example, something as simple as marrying somebody of a different caste, religion, or race in a heterosexual relationship can create issues and tensions, with bickering amongst the community. Try and imagine telling them that you are LGBT+, which is often considered taboo.

I have had issues within my own family circle in coming to terms with my sexuality, but with the support of my extended family who is wholly supportive of me, we are slowly getting to the acceptance stage.

It is taking time, but education and perseverance, and being able to answer their questions have enabled my family to understand the topic of LGBT+. It was never easy coming out, but I will not change who I am to please society and others.

From my experience, we need to help educate some people within the BAME community to understand that times have changed and that LGBT+ individuals are a part of our society just as much as any other members. It is time that the subject not be considered taboo and it should be discussed more, as the only way forward is through dialogue with different members of the BAME community.

 

By Vimal Patel (he/him), Community Pharmacist and PDA LGBT+ Network Member

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