Malik Chaudhary’s contradictory upbringing led him to question everything.
Chaudhary was born to immigrant parents, grew up gay in a traditional Muslim household and attended a Catholic high school. His parents are from India and Pakistan, countries that have historically been at odds.
Amid conflicting cultures, Chaudhary, a teaching fellow and doctoral student at UCLA, said he found his refuge in language and literature.
“(My upbringing) made me sensitive to differences,” he said.
Chaudhary, a native speaker of English and Punjabi, began to learn French in the first grade. He has since become fluent in Arabic and Urdu, the official language of Pakistan.