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In my graduating class, there were four people of color: me, my cousin Natasha, and two other people. I found myself in love with someone unfamiliar, whose world was vastly different than my own, and who fell outside of the cultural safety zone I knew so well.
There were seventy-three people in our graduating class in 2001. Being with white women was the opposite of my own life, a life I felt so disconnected from as the daughter of a formerly incarcerated woman. I fell in love with a Sri Lankan woman named Dinushka.
We tried to arm ourselves with the tools we thought we’d need to effectively combat the naysayers: the family and friends who didn’t quite understand us or our sexuality or why we would want to be together.Later that year, I found myself in my first college relationship with a woman who had the most beautiful red hair, a killer smile and eyes that made you believe you were the most important person in her world. It was indeed a pattern, this desire to date white women. In my relationships, I found a kind of social acceptance I didn’t often find elsewhere. Born in Sri Lanka during the height of the country’s civil war which began in 1983 and ended in 2009; her family fled their home country.Also, brown and black women had never appealed to me. Eventually, they immigrated to the United States when she was 5 years old.And when we decided to exclusively date one another at the age of twenty-five, I knew I wanted to be with her — forever.I would learn very quickly what this meant for our respective families, in particular, for our mothers.
I wasn’t afraid to share my differences, my background, and my blackness.