Meet The Man From A Strict Sikh Background Who Is Educating South Asian Communities About Being Gay

The nominations are open for this year's Attitude Pride Awards

Born into a traditional, conservative Sikh family in the 1980s, Attitude Pride Award 2017 winner Manjinder Sidhu’s sexuality and his struggle to accept it drove a wedge between him and his parents.

Like many young gay or queer boys, he was verbally taunted at school, but describes it as teasing rather than bullying.

“The kids would call me ‘Woman Gender’ instead of Manjinder,” he recalls. “If they said it to me, it was fine, but I felt ashamed when they said, ‘He’s gay, miss,’ in front of the teachers.”

At home, which he describes as being “like a war-torn country” where gay people were never mentioned, he tried to brainwash himself into being straight, repeating mantras to himself every day. His mental health suffered from the weight of expectation he felt from his parents, who both speak only limited English.

“There was the expectation of marriage, of wedding proposals,” he says. “My parents bought a huge house because they thought my wife and my kids would live there.”

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