06 March 2019 Posted By : Administrator

Why Lilly Singh's Bisexuality Is a Huge Moment for the South Asian Community

Remember the scene from Bend it Like Beckham—the 2002 hit about a girl coming-of-age in a traditional Punjabi family in the UK—when Jess’ sister’s almost in-laws thought they saw her kissing Jules and they called off the wedding? “Why couldn’t you like boys like the rest of us,” the sister asked Jess—short for Jasminder Singh—and the mother said, “Look at her bringing shame on the family.”

Well, Jess did like boys, it was just a misunderstanding, and later the wedding did happen. But the family’s reaction was right out of a handbook because being gay is still related to shame in most South Asian families.

Many South Asian families in the West still find it difficult to even talk about sex, and would rather have us believe babies are born from holding hands, let alone discuss sexuality outside of a traditional heterosexual relationship. So when Toronto-born YouTube celebrity Lilly Singh came out as bisexual on Twitter, it was nothing less than a historic moment for the South Asian LGBTQI community, given her massive popularity.

Singh’s videos, through her own unique Canadian-Indian perspective, were among the first to bridge the gap between being “brown” and being Canadian, breaking a lot of stereotypes about being Indian along the way. In some of her videos, she’s touched on the difficulty of having a conversation sexual in nature with Indian parents, whom she plays herself—dressing up as the quintessential Indian mom and dad to play Paramjeet and Manjeet. Lilly’s real parents—who are in some of her videos reacting to her sexy Instagram pictures while she’s visibly nervous about their response—migrated to Toronto from Punjab, a state in north India.

Hazel Ann Hunter, a yoga teacher and an immigration officer, came out eight years ago as a lesbian to her parents, who also emigrated from India to Canada for a better life and opportunities. “It was hell and traumatizing telling my parents,” Hunter told VICE. It was around this time she actually found Singh’s videos and even though they didn't have anything to do with being gay, they were about self-love—exactly what Hunter needed at the time.

“There was no representation at that time and I was looking to resonate with someone like me. I loved that Lilly was so open and vulnerable in her videos. She just has this unique ability to connect with people,” Hunter said.

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