Closet Talk: A Panel Discussion

MD Tanveer Anoy speaking on the panel

“Coming-out stories are always fascinating to listen to, but unfortunately I don’t have a gratifying coming out story to tell. I haven’t come out to my parents yet. I don’t know when I will.” I paused and took a deep breath. In a big hall, I was speaking in front of over 30 people. I had never been a speaker on a panel so when I was asked to participate, frankly speaking, I wasn’t quite sure about it. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to share my queer life story and my struggles with unknown faces at the university. Though I was a bit hesitant, I agreed to take part. Some stories need to be heard to create an impact and make a difference in society.

‘Closet Talk’ was arranged by Safe Zone, a division of Student Affairs at Fayetteville State University. I felt very honored to be one of the speakers of the panel discussion. I recalled how growing up in a conservative society in Bangladesh, being queer wasn’t and is still not an easy journey for me. I shared my struggles to live with my identity and sexuality in a country that rejects any kind of movements which contradict the values and regulations which they have created. Generally, people love to put other people into boxes. However, the people who reject boxes and society’s norms are promptly called a disgrace to society. I concluded my narration by saying that the moment I put my feet in the United States of America, I no longer felt like a criminal for my identity. The feeling was surreal. I could not accurately express it using words.

The context is the same all over the world, but the struggle is different. My story might be different than other students on the panel, but we share the same vision. Speaking in front of many university students wasn’t an easy task to accomplish! However, all the people in the room appreciated my narrative and encouraged me to keep fighting for my community.

Thank you World Learning and Global UGRAD for reshaping my persona!

Written by Tanveer Anoy, 2018-2019 Global UGRAD student from Bangladesh at Fayetteville State University