The month of June is Pride Month. This is a month to celebrate the LGBTQ2SA community while educating society and shading light on the discrimination of this minority. Although I am still hesitant to disclose this part of who I am for fear of how I will be received and treated, I myself identify as LGBTQ.
Since I was a young child, I knew that something besides vision was different about me. However, it seemed as if I was the only one who thought the way I did, so I never discussed it with anyone. Even as I got older and topics such as LGBTQ were discussed in high school, I always pushed back for fear that it would resonate with me. I outwardly displayed hatred and disagreement for the topic, when I was really struggling with it on the inside. The first-time I mentioned my true feelings of who I am to someone was after I had left high school and I knew I wouldn’t be spending the majority of my time there.
When I finally disclosed this to a former teacher, it felt as if something had been lifted off my shoulders because finally, someone else knew something about me that I had pushed down for so long. After this point, I slowly began telling certain friends whom I knew I could trust.
Now, even though most of my friends and some of my family know, I am still hesitant to disclose who I am when I meet knew people or in non-LGBT places. I have definitely had people make comments about how “biology doesn’t work that way”. People have refused to acknowledge who I am, even within group settings. People have also made me feel guilty for who I am as they state that I am stepping on their fundamental rights by who I am, which is quite unfortunate.
This is why I am glad that Blind Beginnings now has a Diversity Committee (which I am involved in) to learn and discuss issues such as LGBT, race, etc. Not only has this made me feel more comfortable expressing my true self, but also made me proud that an organization I am highly involved with is truly limitless and is not just limiting itself to blindness. Blindness doesn’t discriminate, so there will be others like myself who have to learn to live with multiple minorities and talk about how to navigate that. Even though being a part of the LGBT minority myself is still a struggle for me, I can’t wait until I can embrace it like I do with blindness.
by Harjinder Saran (Jinnie)