What you can do
Picture of Manjinder Singh Sidhu

Manjinder Singh Sidhu - LGBT History Month Stories

I was born into a traditional, conservative Sikh family, where neither of my parents spoke English very well.

I discovered my sexuality at the age of 11 and at first I did not know what it was.  I was afraid every day due to the arguing and thought I would be disowned. By 13, I accepted who I was. I feared being forced to marry a woman, being disowned or killed. I focused entirely on my studies so I could be financially independent and stable.

I first came out to a teacher at school, then to a friend at 16 and work colleagues at 18. I was only properly out to friends at my university (UCL in London). They would ask about my coming out to parents and I would tell them I didn’t think about it.

I almost ran away from home. I lived abroad for many years, working for human rights. As work life became mundane and I couldn’t find a boyfriend, depression and loneliness took over. I was suicidal and I hated my parents. Luckily I got into positivity and spirituality, reading books like The Secret. 

So, when I lived in Israel, I started telling people that my parents accepted me - even before I had come out. Because of this, my coming out over text message to them was the easiest coming out story. They were relieved that their son was talking to them properly. They said they would provide for me and love me no matter what. I went back home - I wasn't running away anymore - and explained to them about me being gay in Punjabi. My mum thought I was going to become a woman, as there was no literature or support in their language.

Hence why we started my YouTube channel. I help people all across the world in their languages and from a positive spiritual perspective. If you fear the worst in coming out, you're more likely to bring that, because your vibration, energy, behaviour and attitude to your parents will be based on fear and separation.

It’s with this in mind that I’m writing my new book, Bollywood Gay, with a pamphlet inside in different languages, out in February 2016. We need more ethnic role models, literature in different languages and collaboration with different religious organizations and community groups. Indeed, the Sikh community has been very supportive to me, whilst coming out and since the video activism. Our local gurdwara was very supportive. And since then I have started an Out of Purdah initiative, where we speak to various religious organisations and community groups empowering LGBT South Asians.