|My sister is gay
We are just like everybody else
September 5, 2002
We always knew something was different about my sister who is younger
than I by 5 years. She wears her light brown hair, short and she does not own any
skirts. When she was 5 or 6 she would dominate any games she was playing.
Later on, my mother wondered why she has so many male friends but does not date any
of them. Why certain famous Iranian actress keeps calling our home and asks to talk
to her when she is out with her "best friend".
My sister is gay. She is a girl who likes other girls.
I live with a male partner. I have gone to gay pride parades to support my gay friends
when I was at university. My closest friend is a bisexual Belgian friend whom I treasure
as she was with me in a few up and down times of dating world.
Yet my sister told me she's gay only a few days ago. I wondered why. It is true we
have lived most of our lives apart. We have in appearance little in commen. I resemble
a sort of Nigela Lawson/Brook Shields type of a woman when she resembles a more Demi
Moore/Selma Blair type of girl.
My little sister is now a woman, who likes other women.
I am thinking of my last conversation with my parents.
"Why is she not dating anyone? You know what sexual frustration does to a woman?
No wonder she is losing weight."
Now I recall long time ago when I tried to explain to my mother about my gay friends.
Her reply was "But dear, why would a woman be content with another woman? What
else is down there that would amuse her?" She was refereeing to lack of a penis.
Then I remember my mother's comments about a male family member and how he was not
the man he should be to some aunt who divorced him long ago. As children we were
never told the details. I laughed. My mother laughed. I shared a sexual joke with
my mother. I was told something about her sexuality, which I was not, allowed to
I guess my parents are happy with each other. After all they have lasted all these
years and they never travel without each other.
I was working on my postgraduate work. A few male friends considered the field of
women's studies strange ("So you hate men? Are you a feminist?").
I would wonder if I could ever share something about my academic work with a heterosexual
male who had some sort of understanding of the subject. Somehow I should have guessed
things about my little sister a long time ago.
"I did not feel comfortable about sharing some things with you," she said.
"But you know you could. You know you can always tell me everything."
She paused. "So how would you feel if I told you my friend who visited me last
year, was a 'friend'?"
"You mean the girl from London? The exchange student girl Maman said was too
Now she laughs.
I am sitting here and thinking, Iranian families are full of strange secrets. After
all we are just like everybody else.