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1 of the 7 Tales of Pride Featured in LOV Magazine.

Posted by Mandy Randhawa on July 12, 2011

I actually didn’t imagine the consequences. I just knew that pleasing my parents wasn’t a good enough reason to marry a man, and that I had to be true to myself, no matter what.

Before I came out I had some awareness, some feeling, of what would be the worst-case scenario for me – losing my family forever. But I never let those feelings fully form into thoughts. Some part of me knew that if they did, I might be too afraid or overwhelmed to act.

There is no right time or right way to come out, and the risks and available resources are always different. Everyone has to assess what’s right for them. In my case, being East Indian, a woman, and gay made for a series of difficult personal and emotional challenges.

I had experienced shame from my parents for years before any of us knew I was gay. My family lived in India until I was fifteen. In India, children, especially girls, are an extension of their parents. As I grew into a freethinking teenager, my parents became ashamed of some of my actions. My mother, brother, and I were sent away to Canada, to save face. From that moment on, I became the scapegoat for the pain and suffering of the rest of my family. By the time I knew I was gay and had a girlfriend, I didn’t think things could get any worse.

But for a while things got worse. I tried for a long time to live through the pain, to stay strong, to try harder, until the toll on me became too great. Finally, I stopped seeking love and acceptance from my family and recognized the love and acceptance I already had in my life.

I did end up losing my family, and that was certainly hard, but the thing is, it wasn’t the worst-case scenario. In fact, my life now is better that it ever was. It is truly my own. I have a new family with my partner, my friends, and an incredible community. And I don’t feel I’ve lost anything, because I’ve gained so much. I gained myself – not only in terms of being out and gay, but also in terms of loving and accepting who I am.

The journey wasn’t always easy. I was tested in many ways. But the difficulties spurred me into taking action to make things better for others. I support various LGBTQ causes and charities as one part of that. And the Flygirl events are motivated by that goal. With Flygirl, we strive to create spaces where people can experience acceptance, joy and freedom. Our events are designed to inspire openness and compassion in everyone who’s there.

It’s clear to me now that coming out wasn’t only a choice between the love and acceptance of my family and living my truth; it was about choosing to fully embrace and accept who I am.

You can read other amazing stories shared by Barb Snelgrove, Ken Coolen, Ryan Clayton, Romi Chandra Herbert, Blue Satittammanoon and Nelson Culligan at LOV magazine online. Thank you for the opportunity LOV mag!

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