Rishi, Copywriter, New York City

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong

Rishi, in his own words:“I can’t tell you how inspiring it is to see gay men from all across the world sharing their stories. It makes me think of how different coming out would have been for me had I seen something similar, which is why I’d love to share my story with you in hopes that some little Indian boy out there will read it and know it’ll be ok.

Growing up in small-town Texas, I knew I needed to be in New York after my very first visit. I was giddy at the thought of living in a city where I could be myself, an out gay man, and mature as an individual and professional. So in 2008, only a few short months after moving to NYC, I came out to my parents. I don’t regret many (if any) things in my life, but I do regret not telling them in person; I wrote a letter, left it in the car and hopped on a plane back to NY. The months that followed were probably some of the hardest times of my life. Being a first generation Indian-American, there were huge cultural differences in my parent’s view of homosexuality; that it was a choice, unnatural, and I should keep it to myself and not come out because that would be selfish. I remember, within the first 4 months of coming out, my parents flew me home once a month to talk in person about my “situation” and those visits ended up just turning into 48 hours of a screaming match.

But like most things, it all became easier with time. Within a year, conversations were productive, minds opened and guards went down. It’s hard to believe that in the last 5 years, my parents have gone from wanting to send me to a sexual re-orientation camp, to openly telling our friends and family about me and my wonderful boyfriend moving-in together. Just this past week, my Dad emailed me the following when DOMA was struck down: “SC has spoken! Increase in awareness backed by legality. Indeed a landmark decision!”

I’ve always been proud to be a gay Indian man and have never backed down from that feeling in the face of ignorance. But now, with my parents unconditional love and support, there really is nothing stopping me from living my life the way I’ve always wanted and imagined, and for that, I owe them everything.”

7 comments

  1. smily

    I would like to say that people needs to mind their own business. I wish people / Family member should keep their point of view to themselves about how person should live their life or give advice and meddle in to family member’s life unless ask for advice. They think that they know best for other or make negative statement without knowing what is going on in to other person’s life. I am happy for you. I believe that people need to understand that whatever makes you happy, “You should do that”. It is individual’s choice. All the best :)

  2. Ben Brooks

    Great story! Rishi, I find it fascinating how each person comes out. A letter left in the car before a flight is a new one! So glad your parents have found their way.

  3. krishna

    first i have to thanks to kevin for the project u r doing ,and i krishna 29 a gay from india .rishi wrought that some little indian brothers out there will read ,and rishi u wrought that ur proud to be a gay indian man .i very very impressed rishi ji . and my story is near to u .my parents r seeing matches for me , god is seeing game because i am the only son to my parents ,how can they agree my life style .and till now one can not suspect me as a gay because of my behavior . so please be with me my dear friend ,brother for giving me ur support for every mood ,this is the first mail i posted to a gay man my very handsome brother rishi . and to the purest heart of kevin . because our indian culture and traditions are rich and broad ,but the people around it r very … so ple support me ,and ple visit india once.i well come u .

  4. prantikghosh

    hello Rishi :)
    My first blog post was bout me coming out. I did the same with my family and friends when i was 16, followed by confronting a homophobe couple of months back in an international conference in college and claiming my sexuality in front of hundreds of people. Sheer love and support can do wonders and that event changed everything. I am 19 now, in my second year of college in Pune (India). Your post was not only relatable but also simply heart rendering. There are no words in my vocabulary to express the feeling an individual has when their family accepts them for who they are. It’s over whelming, especially for the fact that they live in anticipation for so long as to what the family’s reaction would be like. My siblings and friends embraced me with open arms. They couldn’t care less if i was gay or straight or bisexual. My parents had a hard time coming in terms with me being bisexual. They still do. We just pretend that we never had the conversation. Reading your story gives me hope for i honestly do believe that good things happen to good people. And can i just say it is so cute that you have a boyfriend. If you are ok with it, i’d love to get in touch with you and be on a regular correspondence. Cheers :)

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