I won a Lammy!

Here’s the acceptance speech that Cecilia Tan kindly read for me at the Lambda Literary Awards ceremony in New York on Thursday night.


Thank you so much to the judges and to Lambda. It’s a real honor to be the first winner in this brand new category of bisexual nonfiction. And it’s a testament to many many people’s courageous efforts to tell their truths, over many years, that both of these words – bisexual, nonfiction – can now be taken seriously, one as a sexual identity and one as a creative literary identity. Thank you.

I’m grateful above all to my family, both the family I was born into and the queer family I came into, without whom this book could not have been written.

Leaving India is a book about migration and migrants, and so the thing that seems most important to express in this moment is my fervent wish that we as an American LGBTIQ community can find the IQ, the intelligent queerness, to take a stance on this increasingly critical national issue of immigration.

This is our issue. Because we, maybe better than any other Americans, know what it means to cross borders without permission. We know why it is sometimes necessary to transgress lines that other people, in their over-righteous morality, have arbitrarily drawn to divide our our families and our communities. We know the needs and desires that direct us to challenge the law or even break the law, if it is the wrong law for our bodies, for our hearts. In the heartlands of this country, for many generations now, every queer person has been an illegal intruder. And only through our brave work is this alien status beginning to change.

So I hope we can build alliances and continue to strengthen our incredible community, which includes and has always included immigrants, and the children of immigrants — with or without books to their names; with or without the right papers.

Thank you very much.

(Ron Hogan, who was my marketing manager at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt until recently, created this nifty little ad that ran on the Lambda Lit website during the time between when the finalists were announced and the awards ceremony.)

7 thoughts on “I won a Lammy!

  1. Pingback: The Outer Alliance » Outer Alliance Spotlight #49: Celebrating Bisexuality

  2. Pingback: Minal Hajratwala » Blog Archive » Award Roundup

  3. Pingback: Minal Hajratwala: ‘The IQ in LGBTIQ’ — Lambda Literary

  4. Congratulation Minal, WELL DONE!

    From a fellow author and traveller . I also have left family and friends behind in Surinam South America where between 45 and 50% of the population is of Asian descent;India, china and Indonesia.

    see petronella breinburg @ amazon.co.uk

  5. I wish I could take the credit, but I just conceptualized the ad — the HMH design team did all the work of making it an actual, awesome thing!

    Of course, it helped that we had such a great book to celebrate in the first place.

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