Are You A T+? Please Take Our Survey!
Hi and Happy New Year!
It’s been a long time since I’ve done a post here on LD so I am pretty psyched that the subject of my first post in almost a year is one I particularly care about, and the first post of 2014!
As some of you may know, my sister Dechen and I are half Kalmyk-Mongolian and Tibetan. We have always appreciated growing up with two very different cultures in our family with similar spiritual values and cultural traditions, but we knew they were ultimately two very different communities. My first post on Lhakar Diaries was about identity and my experiences growing up in two cultures. I spent most of my childhood in the Kalmyk community and most of my adult life being involved with the Tibetan Freedom Movement, and in that time I noticed how isolating it can be for one to participate in a community that sometimes makes you feel like you are less than you are because you might not know all of it’s cultural mores. Maybe like me, you’ve spent evenings sitting awkwardly through dinner conversations you are more or less excluded from, because you don’t know the language everyone else is telling that killer joke in. It sucks. No one likes to feel left out.
It is with that spirit that a friend of mine coined the term T+ while we were still students, because like me, she felt insecure at times and felt strongly that whenever a person born to parents who are both of Tibetan heritage they would often say that we were half, the word itself implying that we were less than their full-blooded Tibetan selves. So, in the true spirit of reclaiming and reframing this reference, she said we should call ourselves T+ because we are Tibetan plus more! Yes, we are Tibetan but also Kalmyk and French and Canadian and Japanese and Indian and Nepali and Australian and so on! So many combinations that are too awesome to list!
The main reason I am writing this post is because we are running a survey for T+ folks around the globe to find out if you would be interested in meeting up at a gathering or informal conference. Even though we are an ever growing number of people, there has never been an initiative before to bring T+ people together and for us all to get to know each other and share experiences and stories. This future T+ gathering is just an idea right now but provided we can show that we as a group want this to happen, it could become a reality!
Whether you’re half-Tibetan, quarter Tibetan or your great great great grandmother was Tibetan, whether you speak Tibetan or not, you’re still T+ and we’d love to hear from you. So what if you speak (a little) Tibetan with a Jersey accent and your momo shapes never come out quite right? We’ve all been there! We want to get together in the spirit of T+ solidarity with plenty of diversity too!
So if you are T+ and awesome and want to get together, please fill out our survey here by 31st January, 2014: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/3G8WHHM
Please forward this post and the link to all your T+ friends and I will get back to you next month with an update.
And finally, thanks to Lodoe Laura Photography for her wonderful portraits. If you haven’t seen her portrait series of T+ youth, please check it out, I’m sure you’ll catch some familiar faces in there.