Lunar New Year is celebrated across many Asian countries including Vietnam, Laos, China, and Singapore. How does it feel celebrating the new year with your family? (If you celebrate at all.)
For me, as a Chinese American, Chinese culture can sometimes feel distant. My family gets together over a large meal to celebrate the new year for good luck and fortune, and happiness and wealth. You know, all the good prosperous wishes. I reply back to them with a slight bow, "Happy New Year" or "Gung Hay Fat Choy" as I receive hong bao (a red envelope) from aunts and uncles. As far as Mandarin goes, wo bu ke yi jianghua. I sit at dinner with my extended family all around me wondering what would happen had I come out to everyone. The New Year is supposed to be a happy occasion and I'm left wondering if my coming out would be celebrated or silenced? What would they say or would my parents tell anyone at all? Will my parents feel ashamed? I can't quite imagine what would happen but I suppose we'll find out when the time comes.
Being part of the Chinatown parade is more than visibility. Don't get me wrong, it gives us huge exposure to the thousands of people who attend. But to see that I am a part of this collective of fellow API LGBT members & allies also reassures me that I'm not alone. This is why SGV LGBTQ Center exists. It provides a local safe space so I can navigate through understanding who I am and how to be comfortable as I am. I write in hopes of reaching others in the community who are going through, or have gone through, a similar journey. It's quite complex growing up in an Asian community and an Asian household as it is for any other ethnic community. For anyone struggling, please reach out to us because we're here to support you. So many great local orgs including API SGV PFLAG exist to provide resources so we can be at peace with some of the things that may be eating us up inside.
Wishing all of you a Happy New Year.