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"Open your doors and let us in"

on . Posted in Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity/Expression.

open your doors

This article is written by badriah and is reproduced with permission.

Read this if you are curious about the life of a homosexual. This is based on one person's experience and should not be taken to represent everybody else out there. *SPOILER ALERT No explicit or sexual content here*

Growing up with sisters was difficult as a lesbian because there were societal boxes that we need to fit into and I was a square trying to fit into a triangle.

My sisters like to look pretty and wear their hair really nice and I felt like the ugly one. Being the only one in my family with thick tight curly hair, I could barely do much to them to feel pretty. I hated wearing dresses. I feel like I needed to always keep my knees together or was afraid that wind might blow my skirt up or something. I feel extremely comfortable and free in pants. I always felt jealous of boys because they get to wear comfortable clothes while I was forced to wear itchy, scratchy dresses.

I remember vividly wanting my mum to buy a pair of jeans. I was maybe 8 or 10? I cried and cried until my mum relented. We were at Geylang Serai. There was a bazaar so I guess it was during Ramadan. It was a pair of black Lee jeans. I was so happy when I finally got it.

The toys I loved playing with as a kid was Lego and guns. I did not get to play these things as much with my sisters as I would have loved to but when we played with them I was super happy. Once in a while I had to play Masak-Masak or play House but I only enjoyed the times when I played a more "masculine" role.

I do not identify myself as a man. I just like comfortable and practical clothes and toys that allow me to build things or just run around shooting at things. We all have preferences, I prefer guns to dolls.

Yes I have played with a doll when I was young but what I enjoyed more was not combing Barbie's hair or dressing her up in her many clothes. It was actually building a dollhouse out of cardboard boxes and making it look like a real home. Maybe that's where my dream of being an interior designer started?

When I was in K2, I remembered playing on my own because the girls would play what I thought were boring games (masak-masak, dolls, etc) and the boys wouldn't let me play with them because I am a girl. So I would go to a box of clothes (for playing dress-up) and put on a pair of shorts, a buttoned shirt and a cap. My teachers saw me and laughed. I was so embarrassed that I took the clothes off as fast as I could.

That could have been my first experience of knowing I don't fit in. As time goes by, many aspect of society would remind me that I was a girl and I cannot do things like climbing or wear pants. Anything that they would lazily call "being a boy".

But I was not trying to be a boy. I was trying to be myself. Expressing who I am. I was old enough to have wants and desires. I did not see the limitations of gender. I only saw what I wanted to do. What I wanted for myself.

What I find weird is that when there isn't any man around, I would be asked to be the substitute. "Climb the window and hang the curtains for me." "Help me put the computer together." But when an able man is around, I am not allowed to climb windows or meddle with wires.

You are probably waiting to read about the juicy stuff. The part where I "decide" to be gay. That is the thing. There was no external element that "turned" me gay.

Looking back, my first crush was my kindergarten teacher. Not the one who laughed at me. But another one. She was kind and gentle. Full of love and passion. Smart and beautiful. I was kind of a loner and didn't have many friends but she made me feel included. She made me feel special.

My second crush was in primary school. It was a teacher. She shares the same birthday as me. She taught me from Primary 4 to Primary 6. I remembered her teaching about hobbies and asking the class to share. I loved to draw so I showed her a drawing I did of my favourite kindergarten teacher. My crush on my kindergarten teacher took a while to get over.

The crush on my primary school teacher was weird. I remembered having dreams of her being trapped in a room full of cats (she is afraid of cats) and I would rescue her from that room. Don't judge. I was going through puberty.

I would find many ways to get her attention. To get her to see me as somebody important in her life. In Primary 6, she overheard me talking about Hindi movies and heroes that I found handsome. (My friends' favourite topic of discussion. Who is handsome etc.) I said Amir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan. But in my heart I preferred Rani Mukherjee. That hair, those eyes, that voice! Anyways, she called me to the staffroom this one fine day and handed me a long bundle. My heart was beating so fast. I did not know what she gave me. When I got home, I found that It was actually 3 posters of Bollywood actors. I hung them up not because I loved looking at Amir Khan but because she had given them to me.

In primary school, the girls always talked about their crushes and who they thought was cute. I said this one boy's name and the girls would tease me every time we got close. I did not really have romantic feelings for him but he was a really nice guy. Very smart and we had similar interests. I saw how girls talked about love and boys and i mimicked that. I went out of my way to try to make him my boyfriend. Even straight out stalking him.

I was confused. I thought that was what love is. You connect and find them tolerable. That qualifies for love. I found out years later that it was so much more than that and so much more incredible.

In secondary school, girls started having boyfriends. Boys don't really look at me much. But when I was in Sec 1, quite a few of the Sec 4s and 5s took notice of me. I was desperate to fit in. I would have probably been with any boy who asked. But my insecurities built a wall around me. I felt that I was weird and ugly and that nobody would ever think I was pretty or beautiful because I did not fit the mould.

I had this classmate. A cute butch. I secretly wanted to be her girlfriend. But she already had a girlfriend. There were a few known lesbians in school and I loved their company. I felt like we had a lot in common. I had no idea how much.

In Sec 4, 2 girls were caught kissing in an empty classroom and their parents were called down. I remembered writing my opinion about the matter in a journal for English class. Telling my teacher that their parents should not know about their child's sexuality to get them in trouble. The children should be the ones to inform the parents and steps should be taken to handle the situation in a safe manner instead of forcing the 2 girls to break up.

I got my first and only boyfriend at the age of 17. I dated a few boys from the age of 16. Met all of them in chatrooms. I did not connect with any of them at all till I met my boyfriend. He was a lot older than me and he had a good personality.

He loved guitars and so did I. Our relationship was short-lived. It lasted only 3 months and we probably only went out together like 5 times in that 3 months. We were better off being friends than girlfriend and boyfriend. I hated kissing him. I never had the desire to kiss him at all. I was hormonal and curious but the second it started, I wanted it to be over as fast as possible.

I don't think it was because he was a bad kisser. He was 26 years old and had many past sexual experiences. I just did not like it.

A year later, I started to realise that I was attracted to one of my close friends. I enjoyed spending time with her and just watching her. Things felt slow-motion when she was around. She had a very loving heart. She was kind and smart. She loved burping loudly. It was annoying but in a cute way.

One day, we were all playing netball, trying to train for NAFA sports day. I saw her sweaty skin reflecting the sunset. And once again, it was slow-motion. I stopped myself when I realised what I was doing. I was falling for my friend.

I came up with the stupid conclusion that it was a while since I last dated anybody. So I went frantically looking for a man to stop me from going down the "wrong path". I tried so hard to look pretty. Asked my sisters to help me shop for nice clothes. I needed desperately to be straight.

But all that was foolish because I could never be attracted to men in that way. I love men. I love hanging out with them. Doing lame stupid things just for fun. But I can never see myself being happy married to one. Because my heart seeks out women.

But my religious upbringing tells me it is wrong for 2 people of the same sex to be together in that way. Prophet Lut's story is always used to show how much Allah hate homosexuals. That is what the religious people would say. I felt depressed. There was nobody I could turn to for clarification. There was nowhere I felt safe to be. I was a sinner in the eyes of Islam and I barely did anything.

I felt just as I did in secondary school. Sad, depressed and suicidal. But I was lucky that this time, I was in an art school. A place where it was safe to express yourself. Be who you are. I saw a few homosexuals on campus but I was too cowardly to seek out any of them.

It took me months of self-hating and lying to myself before I gave in. I wanted to be happy. To feel alive. I reasoned with myself that I was being too hard on me. I literally have not done anything truly sinful. I guess kissing a boy was sinful? I'm not sure. Did not even enjoy it.

Anyways, after coming to terms with my sexuality, I searched online to find people who are like me. And I found a community of girls. Women that I still look up to. Strong, resilient, smart, funny, all the kind of things that are not really visible in the world.

Strong women would seem to be portrayed as cold and heartless in the media. But these women were different. They were strong-willed and brave and at the same time, down to earth.

Coming out was difficult. I lost a few friends. People who I trusted with my secret. They came back and told me they were uncomfortable around me. Because I started being touchy feely. I had never hugged anybody when I was growing up. The act was alien to me. I felt uncomfortable with close contact. But after I became clear of who I was, I was no longer afraid. But my so-called friends took it like I was trying to hit on them. Why is it that the ugliest people think they are so irresistible?

Yes I had a crush on ONE girl in our circle of friends. It does not mean I want to sleep with every single girl I see. I am not a whore. I was in love with her heart, mind and soul. I never thought of sleeping with her. In fact, I just wanted to hang out with her more. Hear her talk. Bask in her energy.

As soon as I felt alive again, I was shot back down. Alone again. No friends save for a small number who couldn't care less about my sexuality. They see me for who I am and not what I am.

The first time I kissed a girl, it was so much different from kissing my boyfriend. I felt like I was floating on air. Everything around me did not exist in that moment. It was just me and her. But that kiss ended abruptly because she wanted a one night stand and I basically wanted to take long walks on the beach with her, whisper sweet nothings in each other's ears and start a family together. And I didn't even know her name.

I am not saying that every girl out there should kiss another girl. I'm saying that for me, that was what I felt. And my search to find THE ONE continued. I dated many girls but nothing came of it. We would go for dinner, talk, and do normal date-like things. But none of them felt perfect.

There were those that I felt a connection to but they didn't feel the same way about me. But I did not give up. Until I met the perfect girl for me. She came into my life just as I got my shit together.

We hit it off right away. We took a while to finally make our relationship official because we were too shy to tell the other our feelings. We have been together for 1 1/2 years now. We have plans of starting a family together. But every time we picture our wedding, the same issues kept coming up. Will our family join us to witness the union. Or will they cut us out of their lives.

I struggled between keeping on the path of my religion and being true to myself. The decision was difficult. I felt torn. I was not super religious. I only prayed once a day. But as I continued struggling with my internal conflicts, I got pulled further and further away from my faith.

It came to a point where even during prayer, a voice in my head would tell me over and over that I was a sinner. I stopped praying and eventually forgot how to pray. Years later, I came to realise that the voice was the voice of Satan and that he was using my own faith to pull me away from it. I tried trying to pray again but the same voice would come in the form of religious leaders and other people of faith.

I would love to pray again but every time I step in that direction, I feel like my family is hoping that I will stay away from homosexuality. I have not stopped embracing Allah. But I prefer to connect to Him without anybody standing in my way. Religion should not be denied to homosexuals. And we should not feel that it is exclusive to heterosexuals.

Islam is a religion of love and kindness. But all I got from the people of faith is hate and discrimination. I have seen girls who used to wear tudungs take it off because they felt cast out from the religion. The number of Muslim homosexuals is very few. Not many were brave enough to embrace who they are and the religion.

I hate to see this happen to so many people. Stop the hate and learn to love instead. Nobody is asking you to be gay. Just open your doors and let us in. Don't shut us out because we are different.

Maybe there is a reason why homosexuals were created by God. Maybe it is to bring new understanding to Prophet Lut's story. Personally, I see it as God's hatred for adultery, not being true to oneself, rape, causing hurt and harm to others, greed, promiscuity. These are all huge sins. Sodom is the only example where there was a mention of same-sex sexual acts. But homosexuality has existed everywhere for a very very long time.

It is a fact that a straight man would naturally feel attracted to a straight woman and a gay man would be attracted to another gay man. Nobody is forcing anybody to be gay. But wouldn't the world be so much better when everybody is living an honest life filled with love and understanding for one another as opposed to hate and lies?

A lot of things are already messing up the world. War, hunger, and a dying planet. Homosexuals only make up less than 10% of the world population. Our existence is not the problem. We are just another diversity that was added to the human race. Nobody is above another person. The only one that has power is Allah and he knows what we don't know and he sees what we don't see. My trust is in Allah and I know that he made me a homosexual for a reason. I refuse to continue living in fear of losing the people that I love. I believe that He has his reasons and I will continue living my life based on my morals. To be an open, honest, committed and loving woman.


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