Joshun Dulai is still getting used to sometimes being recognized by strangers.
As one of the models on the Punjabi-language poster for Our City of Colours, a Vancouver non-profit that promotes the visibility of LGBT people in cultural communities, Dulai’s face represents queer people to one of Vancouver's largest ethnic communities.
“Apparently, it’s [Our City’s] most requested poster,” the 24-year-old says. “My dad, who’s a teacher, said he saw it in his high school.”
Dulai didn’t come out until university, a fact he attributes to his own personal journey rather than to external homophobia.
“I was a very shy and awkward person back in the day and just really confused throughout high school,” he says. “It had nothing to do with people being homophobic. There were people who were out of the closet in my high school. My parents had gay and lesbian friends, and growing up I knew they’d be accepting.”
Dulai is the newly hired coordinator for Totally Outright, an annual leadership program for 25 young gay men focused on gay men’s health issues, such as coming out, gay sex, harm reduction and outreach work.
“We talk about things that a lot of gay guys don’t get to hear information about directly from experts. You don’t really deal with gay sex in high school; it’s all very heteronormative,” Dulai says.
“We talk about gay relationships. If you’re just coming out or you’re new to the city, it’s a very good way to learn about these things, develop self-confidence and make social connections.”
He is also planning the one-day Stepping Out youth conference, which will be held directly after the Community Based Research Centre’s annual Gay Men’s Health Summit in November.
Dulai credits the Totally Outright program for his passion for giving back.
“Trying to change things for the better and trying to help improve other people’s lives is when I started feeling part of a community.”
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