Speaking as a heterosexual in my early 20s, it would be impossible for me to write an article about the struggles that the members of the LGBTQ+ community face today, although I can say one thing: The LGBTQ+ allies are here for you all, and we know you are struggling; we may not have experienced the struggle ourselves, but we know it’s there, and we’re here to help you bring awareness to the people who don’t.
Here is the story of one member of the LGBTQ+ community on the day she came out.
I am a 24 year old gay woman, and I’m proud of it. My parents aren’t, but I am. I think I was only 7 when I first started feeling different. I was always ashamed of it; more specifically, I was always in denial of it. It wasn’t until I entered college did I start accepting that I was gay. I had my first girlfriend and for the first time in my life, I felt happy. So happy that I wanted to share that happiness with my parents. I wanted to show them who I really was, but I knew they wouldn’t accept their daughter as a gay woman. I knew they wanted grandchildren, and despite the oh so obvious fact that I can adopt. To them, it just wouldn’t be the same. My then girlfriend and I went through a number of issues, but none of them compared to one issue in particular: she was a secret I was hiding from my parents.
I built the courage to tell my parents one day. My then girlfriend and I walked to the dining room one evening where my parents were sitting in silence with their phones in their hands. I wanted to handle this the way I would when ripping off a bandaid: quickly.
“Ma, pa, girlfriend ko po.”
My parents stared at me in silence for a good minute. My dad then asked me to send my girlfriend home, and for me to go up to my room ‘cause he couldn’t look me in the eyes just yet. He wasn’t ready, and that’s okay. It took a while for me to get ready to tell him, he had every right to take his time to process this information.
After about an hour or two, my parents came up to my room. My mom sat by my side on my bed, while my dad stayed standing by the door. My mom reminded me that she loved me, and that what was going to happen was beyond her control: They were making me move out. According to my mom, my dad couldn’t handle my “condition” because it wasn’t normal, and he wouldn’t accept me as his own until I would come to my senses. I was so angry at my mom for allowing this to happen, but I decided to suck it up and give in to his wishes.
My dad stayed with me in my room as I packed a bag to stay at my girlfriend’s house. He said nothing to me. He drove me to her house as well. It was the most silent car ride I’ve ever been on. People would ask me how I handled the situation so well. I didn’t defend myself, I didn’t even try to explain the whole “Love is love” speech. I gave in to what my dad wanted, and left. But let me explain why it was easy.
I know who I am. I know the amazing things I’m capable of, and I know the people around me love me. None of the great things I am bound to achieve one day are because I’m gay––it’s because I am me, and who I am is something nobody can take away from me.
Long story short, my father and I reconciled last year, and I moved back in with my family. My father and I don’t have the greatest relationship, but I would like to believe that being able to have dinner with him every night is his way of saying he loves me no matter what. However, the sad reality is that even if my story sounds sad and dark, there are worse coming-out stories out there yet to be told, and I am one of the lucky ones.
To my fellow members of the LGBTQ+ community, I understand the struggle, and my heart goes out to all of you––to all of us. Never let anybody take away the good heart that you hold, because not everybody is going to shun you out. There are people who will accept you. Myself, included.Lee, 25*
Despite the fact that society still has a lot of growing to do, it’s great to know that society has grown as well, and that more members of the LGBTQ+ community are accepted today. A handful of the older generations have learned how to accept people the way they are, and it is a milestone that we are here to celebrate. Love is love, and it is heartwarming to know that more and more people are starting to agree.
To all the members of the LGBTQ+ community, we have a long way to go before the entire world recognizes how we are all one and the same, however, we here at The Scoop Asia can guarantee one thing: We stand with you. We are with you. Happy Pride Month.
*Names have been changed to protect identities.