Five questions with amazing queer South Asians from around the world

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What was it like growing up?

Interesting!

Born and raised in Pakistan (growing up all over) till the age of 18, I went to college in the US and lived there till 2005.  Now I call Vancouver home and am a proud Canadian of Pakistani origin.  Growing up in Pakistan was interesting.  I always knew that I was “different”, and was made aware of that in cruel ways and taunting jeers by my peers.  When I came to the US for college I was able to finally think for myself.

How did you come out?

Slowly!

I realized at the age of 23 that I am fine, normal and not alone.  I came out to myself.

When I did come out to others, I came out in college in a very inclusive environment surrounded by close friends.

I had being doing Improv Comedy with a college troupe for some time and they were the first to know. So Improv has been a huge creative outlet and source of support in my life. I still pursue this passion through Queer Prov –  I am a Main Cast Member, and current President of the Society behind it.

Coming out to my immediate family was (and still can be ) an uphill struggle.  At age 23, I was dealing with the labels the American society felt necessary to categorize me by: Muslim, Pakistani and now an openly Gay Man.  Yet none of those made sense to my Pakistani family.  I was the first one who had come out in our family, which is a Western and New World concept.

I was put through some harsh realities and learned some tough life lessons.  And so did my family.  I learned to be patient and forgiving – a tough lesson but it took a long time for me (and my family) to learn.

Things are not perfect but I am finally at a point in my life where I can proudly tell my near and dears ones that this is who I am, this is where I am at and you can meet me here!

 

What has been your inspiration in life?

One Word:  Family

My Step-Grandmother was a Woman who went against the tides.  I grew up admiring her grace and her courage.  She survived the brutal Indian Sub-continent partition, sacrificed her marriage so that her Husband can have children and raised her late Husband’s family as her own.  She lived a good life and defied all odds to stand up and support what she believed in: Her Family.  

This zeal for life was passed down to my Father (not her biological son) who also excelled in what ever he set his mind to.  I am inspired by them daily and aspire to achieve such greatness through such humble deeds.  

What has been some of your greatest achievements?

Staying True to Myself:

When I look back at where I started my journey and where I am at now, I feel like I have traveled the world in order to be myself.  Yet during this journey I never lost sight of who I am.  I was raised to be an honest person and that foundation has brought me here.  I had stood against some incredible odds and challenges, sometimes knocked down by some great forces.  But I kept getting back up because I did not want to lie anymore and pretend to be someone I am not. I was just being honest with myself which in turn made me more open to others. And by doing that I was able to set myself free from years of subjugation, norms and expectations that were not true to me.  I become a better human – not just for myself but also for people around me.

What is your message to the world?

Take one step

One day (I know and hope) none of us will have to tell or explain to the world who we are.  Times are changing, things will evolve. But for now – Just be willing to admit to yourself who you are – honestly and sincerely – That is the first step.  Once you do that – you would surprise yourself.  I admitted to myself I am Gay.  I took that step for myself, and now here I am!

Aamir Khan was born and raised in Pakistan, lived in the US and now he calls Vancouver home.  He is a proud Canadian!

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