Jay Koria - LGBT role model

Senior case worker

My role in Hampshire County Council

I am a senior case worker within the Alton Adult Services Team. In my 9 years of working for Hampshire County Council I have always tried to make sure the equality and inclusion is part of my work as am extremely passionate about promoting equality. I was the founder of the Hampshire County Council LGBT+ Staff Network!

My identity

I identity as an Asian Gay Man. I knew I was gay from the age of 8 years old. Being Asian and gay has not an easy journey.

Not only did I have my own issues to deal with in terms of accepting my sexuality I also had the extra challenge of living in an Asian culture where being gay was and is taboo. I am the oldest of my siblings and I was under a lot of pressure to conform and get married. I had told my parents that I was gay and they refuse to acknowledge my sexuality and pressure to get married carried on, if fact it was so great that I nearly got married! It went as far as me meeting the person and went on dates and a date was set for the wedding. A few days before I was going to say “I do” my aunty phoned my parents and told them that we were making a mistake and the girl was not suitable for me. I dodged a bullet there! After I moved out of my family home and back to London. My mum still did not stop putting pressure on me and one day we had very honest conversation about how we both felt let down. After that chat my parents stopped with the pressure to get married.

Moving to London in the 80s was mixed there were lots of fun and sadly also a lot of difficulty times as I had to deal with racism. So it was a fun time!

The gay scene in the 80s was ok expect it did not seem to have a place for a chunky Asian gay guy like me - I found that I was a niche market. Dan liked that and I am delighted to say that Dan and I have now been together for ….years and got married in …. not just a gay wedding but also an inter ethnic marriage (white British and British Asian) My family has now accepted me for my whole self and Dan and I are now part of the whole extended family.

Why it is important to be a role-model

Growing up I did not have any positive role models that I could relate to as a Asian gay guy, the Asian gay guys spend their life in hiding and conceal their true identity they either end up marrying (heterosexual marriage) or they are excluded by their family and their community. My sexual orientation is more important to me than my ethnicity – I can’t hide that I am Asian, sexual orientation is still too often hidden or ignored. Through it all I was never afraid and I hope that my story will give someone the courage to be their full authentic self.

Jay Koria