Many South Asian Americans treat queerness as an “otherness,” passing it off as an intangible Western concept. But prominent LGBTQ figures such as Jamil, “Queer Eye” star Tan France and Lilly Singh, host of “A Little Late with Lilly Singh” provide relatability and representation, members of the community say.
“It’s this level of euphoric excitement, at least for me and at least for some of the folks that I’m talking to, around just seeing folks who look like that and who their parents could see and be like, ‘Wow, OK. So maybe this is a thing — this might be real,’” said Khudai Tanveer, membership organizer for the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance.
YouTube personality Andy Lalwani, 24, tells NBC News he feels inspired by France because he is an openly gay man who doesn’t shy away from his culture.
“I’m half Indian, and I don’t really see a lot of people still on the internet that represent that,” Lalwani said. “So seeing some people who will relate to me, like Tan France, is the best example because he also does bring a lot of that stereotype down with how people who are South Asian men should dress, or should act.”