I also wanted the average South Asian to read this article and actually acknowledge that hey, gay desis do exist. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned about our community, it’s that topics that are not socially acceptable are swept under the carpet, coined taboo, and spoken of in hushed tones. Well, not anymore. I realized after two weeks of drafting that the best way to do this was to be rid of inhibitions and write with simple honesty: Hi, my name is Kashif and I’m a Gay Indian/Pakistani/Sunni/Shiite/Punjabi/Muslim.
I grew up on the outskirts of Houston, Texas in one of the largest South Asian communities in the United States and am the son of strict, relatively conservative Muslim parents. My preteen years were spent in constant transit: school, weekday Quran study and Sunday school at the local Shiite mosque. If there were any points constantly being driven home by my parents, it was the importance of school, religion and image. Whenever taboo issue came up in our family, my parents would go into extreme damage control. They were like a PR powerhouse in the South Asian community, able to spin any story into general acceptance.