‘Out On Main Street’ by Shani Mootoo

This story, entirely written in Indo-Trinidadian dialect, is narrated by an Indo-Trinidadian (self-identified) butch lesbian living in Canada in the 1990s. Accompanied by her femme girlfriend Janet, she goes to an Indian sweet shop in Vancouver’s ‘Punjabi Market’. There, and through a series of interactions, her Indianness is challenged by her inability to name the sweets correctly (they carry different names in Trinidad) according to the waiters, and by her queer identity. With its ironic tone, the story questions rigid definitions of Indian identity and belonging in the diaspora.  

First published in Out on Main Street, Press Gang Publishers, 1993

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