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Coming Out
Coming out, the most powerful form of activism (Part I)
Articles - Coming Out
Written by irene   
Thursday, 29 June 2006 00:00
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?

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 18:39
 
Fudan is coming out
Articles - Coming Out
Written by (Guest Writers)   
Tuesday, 27 June 2006 00:00

From kafka4prez in flickr.com

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.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 18:38
 
3 words, 3 friends, 3 aspects
Articles - Coming Out
Written by mint   
Sunday, 25 June 2006 00:00

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'.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 18:45
 
The Enemy Within – Internalised Homophobia
Articles - Coming Out
Written by (Guest Writers)   
Wednesday, 21 June 2006 00:00

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:

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 18:44
 
Dear Homophobe~
Articles - Coming Out
Written by AnJ   
Friday, 16 June 2006 00:00
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.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 18:30
 
Ooga Chaga Women (Singapore)
Articles - Coming Out
Written by snorkeem   
Tuesday, 09 May 2006 02:56

We are a women's support group for lesbian and bisexual women who meet in a safe space for face to face discussions to share, connect and support one another.
This is a support group for women who seek to come to terms with their sexual identity and who want to achieve a healthy integration of their sexual identity into their lives. The support group sessions aims at developing awareness in the self, relationships, community and resources available.

The OC Women's support group is back for its second run !

What The Sessions Are About

The sessions, like those from the first run is titled 'Finding The Me Within'. The aim of these sessions is for you the participant, to engage in a process of self discovery and understanding through the sharing of views and what you take away from each of your life experience. You will also be listening to what the other women participants have to share. In the sessions, we shall be focussing on each of your experiences in coming out, relationships with partners, family and work. We shall also be touching on how the law affects us and benefits us, sexual health and the different resources and assistance available.

As was intended with the first group, when the 10 sessions are over, you and the other women participants from this group can form an informal support group to continue being a source of support for each other.

What It Takes

Commitment in time, commitment to have an open mind, commitment to play it fully.
For many of you, this will be the first time being in a support group. How much you gain from it correlates directly with how much of yourself you allow to give.

When

Run 2 starts in June 2006 with 10 sessions carried out on 2 Saturdays each month, starting in June 2006 and finishing in October 2006

Group Size

Strictly no more than 12 women.
If you have what it takes and are interested in joining us, indicate via email to [email protected] no later than 20th of May 2006. If you wish to know more about Oogachaga, visit us at http://www.oogachaga.com/.

Voices of past participants :

- I have opened my eyes to important issues happening to women that need to be addressed. The experiences and knowledge that I've gained from OC Women are truly inspiring and empowering. I hope many others will get a chance to experience the support and comfort that OC Women has given me.

- OC Women support group has been effective in providing a safe and non-judging environment for its participants to discuss issues of the heart and mind. I discovered that even though each of our lives is unique, the challenges and gifts we face are varied and yet similar. Learning about the life paths and choices of some the participants has been humbling. If you push your limits and play it 100%, the group sessions will more often than not surpass your expectations.

- What has probably proven life-changing for me is the mere act of having participated in these discussions and the various social activities. That was a very practical way of learning to acknowledge my sexuality in the larger context of the life I lead. I feel that I have taken an irrevocable step. It is in some ways like climbing up and out of a cellar and
finding (to one's delight) that the steps leading back down have crumbled to dust; there is no way back down.

- The group became a playground where I could just be my fun-loving self with a group of buddies who, just like me have their own share of hang-ups and idiosyncrasies. It was good to laugh at myself and at one another. The way we united in our diversity was amazing. Sharing one's experiences was good for my spirit and bonded us in friendship.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 19:27
 
I just want what everyone else already has
Articles - Coming Out
Written by Jin   
Tuesday, 02 May 2006 00:00

 

A couple of weekends ago we celebrated my Aunt and Uncle’s silver wedding anniversary. It was a grand affair, 12 tables in a smart ballroom, dress code: Formal. There was a live band playing throughout dinner. A pastor family-friend said grace, and blessed my aunt, uncle and cousin. The emcee for the evening was their old friend who had also been the emcee at their wedding dinner, 25 years ago. 1 lady-friend gave a rendition of love songs, and 1 brother-in-law sang 2 love songs in Chinese! My uncle gave a speech, and my cousin gave a speech too…

There was a cheery buzz in the air. Everyone was celebrating my Aunt and Uncle being married for 25 years. More than that, they were celebrating the principles of love, commitment, and the covenant between two people who chose to spend the rest of their lives together. It was so touching and heartwarming, them being surrounded by all their family and friends honouring their marriage and commitment to each other for the past 25 years.

I sent a sms to my girlfriend asking her “Do you think we will some day celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary too?” And she replied “Of course” And when that day comes, this will be my Wish List. I want us to be celebrating with all our friends and families. Everyone joyous, and not simply acknowledging, but honouring, our silver anniversary. I want people to congratulate us as they arrive for the party. I want them to have marked the date in their diaries months in advance. I want them to put the effort into dressing up, and to ponder what gifts would be most appropriate on such a happy and significant occasion. A Wish List for me, but I merely want what every straight couple is now entitled to.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 18:36
 
I do it for you
Articles - Coming Out
Written by lublub   
Thursday, 13 April 2006 00:00

There we sat, side by side on the stone bench, watching the ‘A’ division softball matches as the sun went down. The breeze was blowing and it wasn’t too hot. And there we were, me and my softball teacher-in-charge, talking about the things that mattered that was closest to our hearts and was our common passion. Softball.

This teacher to me was special. Our relationship was so different from the other teachers that I have in JC. Other teachers were more distant and more of an authorative figure (or a dispenser of education and whom I saw as nothing but a vessel of knowledge from which I could harvest). They were never human to me. In the sense that I couldn’t feel like a person of equal worth in their presence. JC teachers weren’t like university professors whereby students are generally closer to them and are on first-name basis.

We were also quite similar in person, both being ex-captains. Plus, we had to work together to manage the team and thus I felt close to her. Compared to other teachers in JC, I sincerely respected this teacher a lot.

For me personally, I will only come out to those people who are unlikely to accept my homosexuality…if and only if they mattered to me and were important in my life. To me, an act of coming out can be an act of love, because it shows that I cared enough to want to share this secretive part of my life with you. This deeply personal story that could have been conveniently kept under wraps. But no, I do not wish to lie to the people I love. I want them to know me in my entirety. Homosexuality included.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 February 2010 16:29
 
the Ex-Gay auntie!
Articles - Coming Out
Written by Jin   
Friday, 24 March 2006 00:00

It was last Thursday. I had tea with my aunt’s ex-gay friend. Actually I had met her once before, so when we met this time, we just started by chatting about things in general. We talked about bars and clubs, because she is a musician and has been playing in nightspots her whole professional life. (This was some hip 47-year-old, OK!)

The conversation was very informal and friendly all the time. Mostly she was just sharing about her past and telling me about her experiences. She was not offensive or patronising or condescending. She didn’t say “If I can change and be straight, you can and must do it too”. I think I was just (as usual) preparing myself for the worst. Having never met anyone who hails from the ex-gay camp (pun intended), I half expected this lady to be a Bible-thumping, verse-spewing, self-righteous, re-virginised prude who would stare down at me from atop her high horse.

But she actually seemed quite normal. Her stand is that though homosexuality is wrong, maybe it is just part of my journey. Maybe it is just a phase that I have to go through to experience something or other. (I’m fine with that. People are allowed to draw whatever conclusions they wish, as long as they are not offensive, or trying to force me to believe what they believe.)

I’m relieved that she did relate to me with respect and I also appreciate that she did not try to force me to want to change. In a way, I am glad that she did take the time to talk to me. Because she was just talking in a normal, non-threatening manner, it did feel like just a friendly relaxed chat. And I was able to be myself, be authentic in my responses to her, and when sharing about myself too.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 18:35
 
Where do I go from here?
Articles - Coming Out
Written by Jin   
Sunday, 12 March 2006 00:00
So today at 5pm I’m supposed to go meet up with my aunt’s ex-gay friend. (How did this happen?)

Yes! I finally came out to my uncle and aunt. This was two Thursdays ago (every time we have dinner at their house it seems to be a Thursday). After dinner, we were still loitering around the dinner table, and I said to my uncle ‘I have something to tell you, I am gay.’

It was something like jumping into a chilly swimming pool on a hot day. You are comfy and warm on the deck chair. Yet you know you want to go into the pool. You know it’s going to be deliciously cold and refreshing once you’re in, but you also know that the transition, the split second that the icy water hits your sun-warmed skin, is going to be a jolt. So you steel your nerves, grit your teeth, take a deep breath and jump in.

And once I had said it, it really was kinda like being underwater; a shiver ran through my body and I was still holding my breath and adjusting to the shock of the transition. And there was silence. A few seconds where everything sounded very distant and dull.

I said to my uncle ‘But you knew that already, didn’t you?’ and he nodded. Finally he started talking again; there were questions, I answered honestly and openly; my aunt needed to fetch a glass of water, her spectacles and her Bible; my sister and cousin sat quietly just giving me moral support; and on the whole it went quite well.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 18:49
 
And i loved a boy
Articles - Coming Out
Written by AnJ   
Thursday, 09 March 2006 00:00

Is it wrong for us to be so happy?

-From the series “P.S. I love you”-

This picture of a girly one, an androgynous one and a squirrel got me laughing. The squirrel seems to hold a wistful or puzzled look. And the couple appears to be asking the furry animal, “Is it wrong for us to be so happy?” You got to know a bit of my history to know why i had barrels of laughter upon seeing this… When i was with my ex-boyfriend, i called him “Squirrel”.

In the aftermath of the break-up, there are many friends, male and female alike, who told me not to “lose hope”… because some boy will come along someday and whisk me off my feet… and he would be Mr. Right… and that I don’t have to “off-guys” just because i had bad experiences. That was their first response when i told them the next person that i am dating is a girl. I was amused by their reactions. Deeply rooted in their unconsciousness: a girl involved with a boy will not fall for another girl, unless she received deeply etched scars from some male bastard. And deeper than this is the notion that: Lesbian relationships are of second class order.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 February 2010 18:34
 
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