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

Written by irene 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?

Fudan is coming out

Written by (Guest Writers) on . Posted in Coming Out

From kafka4prez in

About a couple of months before I entered Fudan University in Shanghai, I received the news that it was going to offer undergraduates an optional course in homosexual studies. I am going to take that module, and maybe even excel in it, I thought. Ha, fat chance.

The module had an intake of 100 students, and over a thousand students were vying for those sacred places. First-year students didn't even have a chance, actually. Students had to save seats for themselves from lunchtime till when the class starts at 6.30pm. About an hour before class starts, many students are already inside the classroom to secure their seats, by 6pm the classroom is filled with people standing around waiting for the excitement to begin and cameras take their positions as well. Many people from outside the campus join the crowd too, and it was virtually impossible to even get a glimpse of the head of the guest speaker by 6.30pm from the doors and windows of the classroom.

The course was conducted mainly by different guest speakers every week, who touched on issues such as homosexual sex affairs like money boys, and on more serious concerns like discrimination they personally have faced. I myself only attended one lecture on lesbians and many people have walked out of that classroom more informed, acquainted and eager to find out more.

3 words, 3 friends, 3 aspects

Written by mint on . Posted in Coming Out

This is written by Mint.

After a moment of silence, I looked straight into my friend’s eyes with trust and sincerity, and three words came out of my mouth.

I said, “I like girls.

Friend A is from Shanghai. She came to Singapore when she was 13 years of age. After almost 10 years, she is “Singaporified”- speaking in Singlish and eating laksa. However, when I spoke the words above, I was not sure if she could accept it due to her upbringing by her conservative parents.

Thus, before she replied, I said, “ok, you’re allowed to stand 3m away from me next time.”
“No! I will stand closer, ‘cos I know I’m not your type.”
Thanks friend, you really know me well.

A friend once told me that when she came out to her friend, her friend asked, “why didn’t you like me?"

Silly question indeed.

Nonetheless, I came up with a good reply cum rebuke just in case I am faced with the same question:”Hey, you are straight but do you fall for every single man under the sun?!”

Alas, I have yet a chance to showcase my 'proudly created rebuke'.

The Enemy Within – Internalised Homophobia

Written by (Guest Writers) on . Posted in Coming Out

I’m dreadful when it comes to remembering people’s names, especially Chinese ones. But I have a better memory for the conversations which I have, especially if the conversation is memorable because it is witty, engaging, enlightening or even downright annoying.

One conversation which has stayed in my mind is the one I had with a another lesbian when I was first coming out, and she eventually became a good friend. She was sharing her experiences about living as a lesbian in Malaysia with me and during that conversation she mentioned,

“Gay people can be very homophobic because of their internalised homophobia.”

Being unfamiliar with gay issues at that time, that statement came as a surprise to me. After all, I thought, how can we be the very thing which we detest in others? It is easy to point the finger to another group and say, “They are responsible for the injustices brought against me.” It is quite another thing to look inside oneself and realize that the same elements of prejudice may indeed exist inside oneself.

What is internalized homophobia? My friend explained that it happens when a gay person feels that being homosexual is wrong or immoral. In other words, internal homophobia arises when a gay person is unable to accept and love her/himself as a homosexual. We are bombarded everyday by hetero-centric themes, images and stories, so much so that it has become a hardwired notion in most of us that being heterosexual is the only way to be. Anyone who doesn’t fit into the heterosexual mold is considered to be deviant or going against nature. It can be very difficult to overcome these deeply ingrained beliefs.

Internalised homophobia has much to do with being in the closet. I was in the closet for 15 years and during that time, I kept denying that I wasn’t gay, because being gay was not “normal” and being not normal was too frightening to contemplate.

Much as I tried to suppress it or run away from it, these feelings of my strong attraction towards women kept coming back but I kept telling myself that I wasn’t gay. How did my internalized homophobia manifest itself? Here’re a couple of examples:

Dear Homophobe~

Written by AnJ on . Posted in Coming Out

Dear homophobe:

I used to get angry for extensive periods when you cross my path. But these days, after a few encounters, i realized… many homophobes sing the same old song.

Like a broken record.

Your Profile, Persistent Homophobe:
1. Ignorant of homosexuality and the literature behind it.
2. If not ignorant, out to twist results of studies done.
3. Weak arguments- unable to substantiate why homosexuality is “wrong”.
4. Generalization of stereotypes.

There is a well of information that you can draw from, from this site, from the forums, to try understanding our community.

But you chose not to.
No no, you rather wallow in your ignorance and familiar ground. People like you cannot think out of the box you were born in… You are stuck.

And you love being stuck!
Because if you ever know us as people, you would be astounded by how human we are… and yet how strong we are.

That is a defeat you cannot swallow.

You don’t want to believe that we can be happy. You want us subjugated and converted. Perhaps you want us eliminated from the surface of this earth.
And you would do anything in your power to achieve your means- which is to try to steal, kill and destroy.

You TRY to:
Steal our happiness.
Kill the depressed among us with religious judgment.
Destroy the peace-loving image we have- which indeed we are.

But guess what…?

You ain’t gonna win.

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