A young Asian man is facing the camera, his arm over his head as he pulls his T-shirt off. His chest is bare, showing a fit body, and his expression is neutral. The photo itself is done with various vintage filters, giving the entire scene a dream-like quality.
Jamal is a university student in the USA from my country: Kazakhstan, which (much to my regret) is an extremely homophobic country, where most gay people get married to someone of the opposite gender and never admit to being gay, not even to themselves. Out gay people practically do not exist there.
His dad, who is paying for his education, (and also every other male he knows) says that all gays should just be shot dead.
All of his numerous relatives, except his older sister, who is closest to him and supports him, are in his face about finding a girl to marry. (Extended families in Kazakhstan are very close and do not believe there is such a thing as ‘personal boundaries’).
How does he get his HEA in these circumstances, when it is impossible in his country and as for where he studies, his student visa does not allow him to work and getting a job as a non-citizen without a working visa as well as a working visa without a job is, to say the least, very difficult?
Where and how would he find his true love?
I’d love to read that there is hope for a gay man in these very hostile circumstances to beat the odds and find real happiness.
Genre: contemporary, new adult
Tags: hurt/comfort, college, non-explicit, homophobia, artist, barista
Word Count: 22,601
A huge thank you to Asselle! Without all your help and patience this novella never could have been written. Thanks for putting up with all my questions!
EVENT: Love’s Landscapes