Care and Loyalty in the Closet: A review of scholarship on sexual identity disclosure in queer South Asian women


  • Pooja Marwaha University of Edinburgh



Queer, Family, South Asian, Relationships


This paper highlights a gap in scholarship on personal and family relationships of British queer South Asian women and queer women of colour. It enables fields of study within queer theory, family sociology and intimate relationships to move beyond Western normative frames when looking at queer individuals  and their relationships. Existing research on queer people of colour is limited and, where present, rarely focuses on diasporic British queer South Asian  women. This paper looks at the diasporic context and highlights why the South Asian family unit should not be categorised as homophobic. It looks at how notions of ‘coming out’ and ‘the closet’ are Westernised and Eurocentric. It also looks at the use of ‘the closet’ as a shield emanating from a place of care for the family and self. This paper also presents queer women of colour as individuals who are moving beyond a binary of being queer and ostracised from family or  as pretending to be straight to remain in their family, asking if this can also be the case for queer South Asians. Finally, throughout this paper, the discussion  touches on the concept of ‘chosen families’ and how it may apply to queer South Asian women.