What does hotpot! mean to me?

Growing up I searched for representations of people like me in my life and found none. During my senior year in high-school I just kept thinking about how exciting it would be to go to college and find a community of queer people of color. Finally, I would find people who would understand the intersections of my ethnicity and sexuality. People who might understand the pressures I underwent as I came of age…the expectations of me from my immigrant Filipino parents, my Filipino community, combined with the expectations of mainstream American society.

It was my freshmen year of college and I eagerly attended a few of the LGBT club’s meetings. Though the members of the LGBT club were friendly I couldn’t help but feel completely out of place. All of the members were white. I couldn’t believe it, my college had promoted itself as full of diversity! If they were so diverse then why was I the only non-white person in attendance?? Disappointed, I couldn’t bring myself to go to any more meetings. I felt that in order to belong to this club, I would have to relinquish my Filipino identity, and I had no intentions of doing that.

I then found that there was a Filipino association and attended a few of their meetings. They were also welcoming and friendly, but I got the feeling that my sexuality was not going to be openly accepted. It reminded me a lot of my Filipino community back home. This time, in order to belong I’d have to go back in the closet. Yeah, right! I stopped attending the Filipino association meetings too.

At that point, I had decided that the community I had hoped to find simply didn’t exist. At least, not anywhere near me. So, when I heard about hotpot! this past spring I was completely surprised. Being part of hotpot! means so much to me I’m not sure I can put it all into words. It’s an incredible joy to find a community where I feel like I belong. I’ve found a space where my different experiences and identities are cherished as part of me as a whole, rather than made invisible or undesirable. It’s been amazing, fulfilling ..and so much more.  I ❤ hotpot!

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2 thoughts on “What does hotpot! mean to me?

  1. Hey, I love your story and totally feel you!
    I recently attended a hotpot gathering last Sunday and it was AWESOME.
    I am really happy that you found your place 🙂

    Peace
    RAM

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