As much as being queer and Indian can be a pain, being queer and at a large university can be pretty sweet sometimes. Even though my college town isn’t the most liberal place in the world, there’s still an active Pride Center and a pretty strong queer advocacy community. One of the events that the Pride Center puts on biannually is a drag show. Since my first year here, I always saw the posters and thought that a drag show might be fun, but somehow I never actually got tickets and went. I started dating my girlfriend during the last academic year, and she got us tickets to the spring drag show. I didn’t know what to expect, but it was simply fabulous. So much glitter, and Lady Gaga, and gayness, and gay friendliness! There were both drag queens AND kings, which totally blew me away – I somehow was only expecting drag queens, but I loved how the gender bending went every which way possible. The spring drag show was basically amazing, and it was the first time I held my girlfriend’s hand in public, which was a major milestone for me. The only downside of the night was seeing this other desi girl there, and subsequently feeling the need to act super straight for the 3 minutes in which we interacted. This other desi chick is ultra feminist (and aren’t feminists supposed to be queer friendly?), but given that she’s a desi and thereby prone to the desi gossip circle, I’d always been cautious around her. Even though she seemed to be a queer ally.
Six months go by. It’s time for the fall drag show, and I’m still totally head over heels for my girlfriend, and she’s adorable and gets us tickets for the fall drag show. We dress up (fact: my already attractive lady is just smoking hot in a tie) and go early so we get super amazing seats…and right across from us, in the VIP section, is the desi chick. Now, the VIP section is reserved for sponsors, organizers, and close friends and family of the drag kings and queens. Knowing that she’s neither a sponsor nor an organizer, I figured she was friends with a performer. I was kind of miffed that desi chick (let’s call her DC) was sitting so close to us – I mean, you can’t really hide hand-holding and sneaked kisses and cutesy looks from someone sitting 3 feet away from you. And I’m not in the mood to actively try and hide my relationship anymore. So girlfriend and I carried on like normal, and I decided to deal with the consequences if/when they happened. We kissed and took cute pictures and put our arms around each other, and did the regular couple thing. If DC looked over, which I’m sure she did, it wouldn’t have taken more than 2 seconds to figure out that I’m a total homo.
One of the drag kings comes and sits next to DC, and I realize that the drag king is her good friend who I’ve seen with her a lot. Girlfriend comments that DC dances with her in all of her performances during the show, but that all seems normal to me. I mean, straight people can dress in drag, and queer drag kings can have straight best friends. The drag king would always make her way over to sit by DC in between items, but I shrugged it off. I don’t actively try to “seek out the gay” in desis anymore, because as a society, we’re incredibly homosocial and simultaneously homophobic. But girlfriend remains solidly convinced that the drag king is queer and something is up.
And then, THEN, as the drag show ended and the girlfriend and I were making our way out, we passed them, and DC AND THE DRAG KING WERE HOLDING HANDS. AHHH!! Do you know what this means?! This means I might not be the only gaysi on campus! Girlfriend and I had a very intense discussion about it on the way home – DC’s apparent lack of interest in boys (which every desi girl can play off as just being a good Indian daughter), DC’s closeness to the drag king (who is her REALLY GOOD FRIEND. Or “really good friend”.), DC’s penchant for social activism (queer people and public sector work!), DC’s general distancing herself from the campus desis…it could all make sense!
I realized I could debate it in my head all day, but it wouldn’t get me anywhere. So, I asked her to coffee. We’ve got a tentative coffee date for sometime later this week, and I’m totally going to ask her. I don’t really know how I’m going to phrase it – I’ve never asked someone what their sexual preference was before! Well, okay, I have, but that was after I was asked first, and reciprocating that question is far easier than initiating it. But I’m so positive she isn’t straight, and I’m so excited about it! How cool would it be to have a friend right here that’s going through the same things? I’ve never met another queer desi in real life, but I’m beginning to think I have met one…and just didn’t know it 🙂