Rad Reading: "Coming Home: Queer South Asians and the Politics of Family"

by Abaki Beck

Text: Coming Home: Queer South Asians and the Politics of Family

Author: Alok Vaid-Menon

Quote to Highlight: “I want to suggest that our attachments to our blood families are not only sentimental, they are political. This sentimentality, this angst, this emotional labor is legitimate political work. Our turn toward our families of origin is part of a strategy of intimate organizing – a type of political work that often gets erased or dismissed  by dominant white and masculine standards of queer visibility.”

Quick Summary: This beautiful personal essay discusses the politics of family as a queer South Asian, though is relatable to other communities of color. Alok discusses two main points: that strong family ties are a form of political organizing that is often delegitimized, and that South Asian families (Alok's family) are not transphobic or homophobic because they are "culturally backwards" or not "educated enough," but as a response to trauma, orientalism, and racism. They argues that the oppression faced by South Asians often results in their rigid support of heteronormativity as a form of survival and protection, which distances them from their true cultural roots. Through this lens, Alok is interested in navigating their queerness within their family.  

File it under: Queer of color critique, family, activism, community

Type of text: Lyrical personal essay


POC Online Classroom strives to make readings and resources that celebrate the intellectual tradition and knowledge production of marginalized communities more accessible. Rad Reading is a new series that highlight texts to read and writers to support! We will post every Tuesday.