Sher Vancouver is a non-profit for LGBTQ South Asians, their friends, families and allies. Founded by Alex Sangha, it hopes to reduce the alienation, depression and suicidal ideation of people dealing with sexuality, gender and coming out issues. Sher Vancouver completed 10 years recently, and held a gala called DesiQ to mark the occassion. At the event, Alex’s mother gave a speech that received standing ovation from the guests.
The speech has been reproduced below, courtesy of Alex Sangha:
Dear Friends of Sher Vancouver, Welcome and congratulations to Sher Vancouver on their 10th Anniversary. Keep up the good work. I am proud of all of you.
I am going to share my thoughts and feelings on this special occasion on how I came to terms with my very unique and different son, Alex.
I have a very strong faith. In Sikhism they teach you that the entire human race is equal and that God is one. We are all human beings. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. It is our duty to support and help each other and especially help those who are the victims of oppression and discrimination.
All the wonderful people involved with Sher Vancouver over the last ten years are providing a selfless service to a very vulnerable group. I have talked to many members of Sher Vancouver over the years and I can say that Sher Vancouver is saving lives. It might be your son or daughter who is at-risk. Sher Vancouver is creating safer and supported and connected communities.
My best advice is to love and respect yourself and others. It was not easy for me to accept my son but I learned a lot over the years. I was hurt, worried, and concerned about his well-being. I was afraid that someone might hurt him or hurt his feelings.
How will my son live alone in his life? How will he have children? He is a sharing, caring, and sensitive man. I went for counselling. I cried in the office. My son insisted to move away from home in Surrey and go to Downtown Vancouver or London, England. He said that in Surrey, he felt out of place. My counsellor agreed with my son’s decision.
Every time Alex moves out of the house and goes away he states that he does not want to come back home. I was so sad. I explained to him that he can return home anytime he wants. My door is always open for you. And so he did many times. Coming back and forth.
Alex was different even in pre-school compared to his two brothers and his cousins. He would dress up in girl’s clothes and play with the girls in the neighbourhood. He had one friend who had a big doll house in the backyard and he would spend all his time there.
I feel our South Asian community really does not understand people like my son. They think it’s a choice. I believe my son is a blessing. He did not choose to be different. All children are unique and special. We should celebrate these differences.
I continue to love Alex like my other two sons. I accept him 100% as he is in my heart. Yes, I did struggle and tried to find answers to why my son is gay. Alex explained to me one day that everything in nature and creation is diverse. Why would sexuality be any different? We are not all the same.
Just like a field of flowers has many colours, the human race is also very colourful. I suggest always love your children as they are. Every child wants to be loved and accepted. Many gay kids fear that they will be rejected by those they care about including their mother and father and brothers and sisters.
Support your children, let them grow, and live happy and healthy lives. Please love your children as they are, and do not tell them to change. They cannot. They are born this way.
And finally, I am very happy that Alex has an adopted son Kayden in his life now. I am a proud Grandmother. Our family is complete now. Kayden has been a blessing in our life. I am grateful to God for everything.
I wish all of you in Sher Vancouver the best of everything in life.
Nothing worth fighting for was ever easy. History is on your side. Be strong. Be kind. Be grateful you have each other.
God bless and love and peace to each and every one of you. Thank you.
Jaspal Kaur Sangha
Mother of Sher Vancouver Founder Alex Sangha