Hello, my name is Anu (she/they), I'm a second-year master's student, going on for a PhD in Water Resources. Recently, I’ve started to think more about unanswered questions about my history and identity. I am mixed, Punjabi and white, so growing up a lot of Indian people would say I was not ‘actually Indian’. I faced rejection and struggled with that for a long time, but now I feel more secure and want to explore who I am more openly. I joined the Twin Cities Bhangra team, and that has been a true joy. Doing Bhangra with my family at events has made me feel closer to my roots, and dancing more often has helped that grow.
My grandfather had to cross the border during Partition and passed away when I was younger, so I never heard his story. While driving to Duluth last summer, I called my mom and finally started a conversation about it. I asked, “Mom, Nanaji had to move during Partition right?” She said yes and then talked about how she heard that they faced violence during their journey, but didn't know many details. No one talked about it much. I had heard a little about Partition growing up, but it wasn't until recently that I internalized its violence and how it affected my family. I wish to know more of that history.
Last summer, I came out as genderqueer and bisexual. Most of my family was supportive, but there were some relatives I hid this from, as I didn't know if they'd understand. I had this moment where I was being more open and confident in who I was than ever before, but still partially concealing myself. I’m the only openly queer person in my family, so I’ve never heard if I have queer ancestors. I feel like because of colonization it is so taboo to talk about, and we miss out on a lot because of that. I’m the eldest child out of all my cousins and siblings, so I feel it’s important for me to show them that even though we don’t talk about this as a family, it is okay to be open about it. I hope to explore queer histories from the subcontinent to fill in this piece that's been missing. I'm glad that I've stepped a little out of my self-consciousness so I can dig into what being queer and Punjabi means to me, and I'm excited to continue that journey.