Culture //

It’s a struggle, but that’s why we exist

By Kuhen Devan.

“It’s a struggle, but that’s why we exist, so that another generation of Lesbians of color will not have to invent themselves, or their history, all over again.” ~ Audre Lorde

I don’t have a sense of there being a living gay People of Colour scene in Sydney. If one exists, it’s well hidden. Gay People of Colour only exist to be absorbed and diluted into the mainstream gay culture, which means allowing white gay people to define us – their ideas stereotypes, preferences, tastes, visions, fetishes, of what Asian black brown spice rice migrant – should be. If you don’t want to live in their boxes, you have to make a new space for yourself and stitch your own identity anew, taking bits and pieces from whatever feels right, and experimenting until you find your own culture.

I wish I knew other politically aware gay People of Colour who wrestled with all their competing labels and identities, and refused to let one label swallow the others. I wish I’d had a mentor or someone to show me what to do. I had to learn the things I do now by making mistakes and gaining my own experience. Maybe in the future gay boys who are black and brown, and thinking about what that means to them in a majority white world, will find something I wrote useful and say, ‘Hey, we’re all trying to navigate new paths and forge new identities… maybe we could work on them together in an organised way and learn from each other, instead of each having to remake a new lonely path on our own…’

“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” ~ Audre Lorde