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Coming out, the most powerful form of activism (Part I)

on . Posted in Coming Out.

I was sitting outside the lecture theatre, having a short break with a friend after a particularly draining and exhausting lecture.

She is someone I knew since my junior college days, when she was in the same CCA as me. We were never close friends, but somehow a strange streak of fate brought us together again, when we ended up in the same faculty in university, and happened to take one same course for that particular semester.

It started off as an innocent conversation, but it did not last that way.

In the midst of talking about skin care and beauty tips (Engineering girls are girls too, so what do you expect? Duh.), I mentioned that actually if she knows gay men, they will be a good source of information for this particular topic. Of course it is a stereotype, but it is not a completely groundless or invalid stereotype. I spouted this comment casually, and I was not contemplating about revealing my sexual orientation to her, not even at that point of time.

Her eyes widened. My heart seemed to miss a beat.

She replied, ‘How come you know gay people? I don’t know of any actually.’

‘They are my friends who tell me that they are gay, lor.’ It was hard for me to contain my cool, while trying hard not to choke on the curry puff which I was eating.

‘Wow. That is amazing, I don’t know of friends who are gay.’

(Are you kidding me? There is one sitting right in front of you now!)

In that split second, a sudden impulsive urge washed over me. She did not seem to be homophobic. Why don’t I come out to her?

I started to tell her about my gay and lesbian friends. She also told me stories which she has heard, like how a guy friend of her is extremely homophobic because another guy solicited sex from him, and how the only lesbian she knew is a butch who was staying in the same hostel as her. I was steering the conversation towards a direction, that gays and lesbians are normal and well-adjusted individuals, simply with different preferences. It is just like how some people are born to be left-handed.

She listened attentively with awe, while I opened the door to a world which was completely invisible and shielded from her. She admitted that she was very ignorant of the different communities in society, and I assured her that it is fine, as long as she keeps an open mind and refrains from passing hasty judgments. I hinted that she needs it, because it is very likely that she has gay and lesbian friends as well, just that they have not come out to her.

Unexpectedly, she exclaimed, ‘You know something? Now I feel envious of you. You have friends who tell you such intricate details about themselves; they have given you such a precious gift of trust!’

I knew it is true, and I should not deny this gift of trust to her anymore. ‘Do you know why I told you so much about gay and lesbians just now?’ I asked. She looked at me with the quizzical look in her eyes. I stole a breath, and said, ‘That is because I am a lesbian.’ I was careful to articulate every word properly and slowly, for fear that she would ask me to repeat, and I would lose the courage to say it once again.

For the moment, she simply stared at me. I could visualize how she was absorbing this piece of information, but I had no means to see how she was processing it. To my immense relief, she laughed, ‘Oh so that is what you were trying to tell me all along!’

It was getting late, as the lights along the corridors flickered on, and fewer students were milling about. Despite this, we had no intention to pack up and leave, as I was explaining to her why I identify myself as a lesbian. I answered the usual questions such as when did I realize that I like girls, what do I plan to do about it in future, etc. I also spent a long time asserting that there is actually no such thing called ‘gay lifestyle’, for it is just a collective identity, and not a lifestyle.

She blamed me jokingly, that I effectively switched on her ‘gaydar’, and she would start to suspect all her friends who are single and who have yet to indicate interest in the opposite sex. I could not stop laughing upon hearing that.

‘Come to think of it, I have two aunts who are still not married,’ she pondered.

‘Hmm’ can it be that they are’’

She protested, ‘But they don’t look like they are!’

‘Then do you think I look like one?’

She admitted, ‘No, you don’t.’

I chuckled to myself, and took a big bite out of my curry puff, triumphantly.

(To be continued.)



# victoria secret 2010-02-01 23:51

victoriasecret said,

June 29, 2006 at 10:39 am

wah… she is cool…

eh.. where is part II?

actually i ever told a fren about my tendency to like women.. and she didnt believe me at all… =)
# Mier 2010-02-01 23:51

Mier said,

June 29, 2006 at 10:55 am

Part 2 up a day or two after. ;>

Coming out to good friends is powerful. It’s like a walking testimony that gay people are just everyday people; nothing too unfamiliar.
# rrafel 2010-02-01 23:51

rafel said,

June 29, 2006 at 11:57 am

hey.. well done! sounded so smooth and composed the way you educated her. very inspiring. haha.
# victoria secret 2010-02-01 23:52

victoriasecret said,

June 29, 2006 at 1:44 pm

hahha ,,, i think amajor needs to teach us how to tell a fren without making her screw up.. or how to make her believe what we say.. =P
# xSpert 2010-02-01 23:52

xSpert said,

June 29, 2006 at 3:12 pm

Niceeeeeeeeee, but you could be honest and tell her at start :-) You didn’t trust her or what???? anyway…….. it ended well!!! That’s what’s important ;-)
# Amajor_resonance 2010-02-01 23:52

Amajor_resonance said,

June 29, 2006 at 4:51 pm

victoriasecret, so far I haven’t had any case of people refusing to believe that I am gay, because I am so sure of that myself. I can explain exactly why I identify as a lesbian, why I am sure it is not a ‘phase thing’, why I am sure that I am a lesbian and not a bisexual woman, and why do I see the need in identifying myself as queer and coming out to people.

We need to be sure of ourselves before others can take us seriously. :)

And if I meet people who refuse to believe me, so be it. I see no point in wasting my time to try convincing them. If they insist on believing that I am merely ‘confused’ or ‘going through a phase’, I respect their beliefs but they can keep these comments to themselves.

xSpert, she is not a close friend of mine at all. Just a casual friend. I am extending the ‘coming out’ influence further out. All my close friends know, and I am telling this to casual friends as well now.
# g 2010-02-01 23:52

g said,

June 29, 2006 at 5:50 pm

heya you write well. this is a good read, as was your other article ?�???????�??. thanks for sharing your views and experiences and putting them across so eloquently.
# xSpert 2010-02-01 23:52

xSpert said,

June 29, 2006 at 6:28 pm

Sorry……….. I know, it’s diferent telling some things to friends and “friends”…………. I was under impresion that she IS your friend……… that’s why I’ve said that…….. sorry

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