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Using Pariah As A Springboard, Salon Asks LGBT Minority Youth To Share Their Coming-Out Tales

Pariah, the critically acclaimed debut feature from filmmaker Dee Rees, follows 17-year-old Brooklyn teen Alike, an African-American lesbian who is coming to terms with her sexuality and how it’s affecting her more traditional family.

Inspired by the film, Salon has been running “Pariah Personals,” a series of coming-out stories from minority and immigrant LGBT youth. Some have had an easier time than they expected, others have found it hard to be accepted by families who may carry long-held prejudices or worry about their chances as double minorities.

For Raul Rodriguez, 21, coming out as gay was less problematic than dealing with the fact that he and his family are undocumented immigrants.

Rodriguez, a senior at UC Berkeley, writes:

But just like being gay, being undocumented wasn’t a choice for me. It was something I discovered as I grew up.

I am originally from Lima, Peru. My dad was a pediatrician and my mother a teacher before we moved to the United States.

Growing up I always knew that there was something different about me; I just wasn’t sure what. I just knew I had an attraction toward guys, ever since I was about 9 years old and had a crush on a fifth grader during summer school.

I was 17 years old when I discovered I was undocumented. My dad broke the news to me that I wouldn’t be able to get a driver’s license because we were “different” from everyone else. His words were subtle but I understood.

The series ends today with an essay from Promduson Ok, a 24-year-old Cambodian-American who is the director of the youth-journalism project VoiceWaves.

Both Pariah and “Pariah Personals” should be considered required reading/viewing for anyone who thinks being gay in America is just about being white, privileged and fabulous.

Images via Raul Rodriguez, Focus Features

By:           Dan Avery
On:           Dec 30, 2011
Tagged: , , ,
  • 9 Comments
    • JayKay
      JayKay

      More racist nonsense from the left.

      Unless of course they already have a series of coming out stories dedicated exclusively to white, American-born teens as well. I’m guessing that they probably don’t. Just a hunch.

      Dec 30, 2011 at 4:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Stewart
      Stewart

      @JayKay: How is this racist in any way? It is a well known fact that homosexuality is extremely frowned upon among racial minorities and this will only serve to raise awareness. Just because there is a focus on racial socioeconomic issues doesn’t mean that something is inherently racist – get a grip.

      Dec 30, 2011 at 5:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Marcus
      Marcus

      Racist?Please 99% of gay media and what you see as gay today is white.

      Dec 30, 2011 at 5:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • CBRad
      CBRad

      @JayKay: I think they just want to focus on ethnic teens for this article because they have it way harder coming out, than those in white communities (generally-speaking).

      Dec 30, 2011 at 5:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Aiden
      Aiden

      @JayKay: God forbid we focus on non-white gays for even a second.

      Dec 30, 2011 at 6:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • scribe31
      scribe31

      @JayKay: Every day I believe that human beings are mostly well meaning people, and every day some ass like you proves me wrong. As a blk gay teen growning up there were very few role models of what gay life looked like for minority gays. For a long time, I actually believed that there were not any blk gay men. Until life goes on, I don’t think I ever saw any gay character on television that wasn’t white and male. KNowning that you are not alone, feeling that you actually belong somewhere in the world is a powerful feeling. Sort of like you feel at kkk meetings. So remember that, and stop trying to take peace away from other people you troll.

      Dec 30, 2011 at 11:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Shannon1981
      Shannon1981

      I love that they are doing this. These are stories that need to be told. Wish I’d had the chance- I am quadruple minority- gay, black, female(bodied), and genderqueer.

      JayKay, why are you such a troll? This is in no way racist. The more minority groups you belong to, the harder you have it. It is also a statistical fact that ethnic minorities, particularly the overly religious, ostracize their LGBT family members, particularly the T.

      Dec 30, 2011 at 11:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • RLS
      RLS

      Apparently this movie is great and I can’t wait to see it. Kudos to Salon for doing this as well.

      Dec 31, 2011 at 3:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DenverBarbie
      DenverBarbie

      Ladies and Gents,
      JayKay is an ironic troll (“JK”), don’t feed him (or her).

      But do see Pariah when it hits theaters somewhere close to you!

      Dec 31, 2011 at 4:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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