Today marked another milestone in my life.
I was doing a bit of revision this morning (had to start now, even though exam is in August). Mom was busy in the kitchen. Dad was at work. Brother was in taekwondo class.
Typical non-working Saturday morning for me. I couldn’t be more wrong.
Ok, the signs were there. When we were still together, my ex-boyfriend had said that I would definitely be found out by them. ‘Parents aren’t stupid, you know. Besides,’ he said, ‘it’s almost as if like you wanted them to find out.’
And earlier this month, I posted about the hazards of not coming out. I have also posted about one of the conversations I had with mom.
Yesterday, I did think about coming out, as the things that I was hiding from them seemed to be piling up very fast recently and it was getting tiresome.
Looking back, I think it all added up. Somehow, by writing and blogging about it, I think I have psyched myself up unconsciously.
So finally, when my mom asked, “Are you gay?” I said, though still with some hesitation ‘Yes.’
I know, you must think I am out of my mind.
But at the back of my head, I was thinking, ‘That wasn’t so hard, was it?’ (Warning: You are advice not to try this at home, unless you are 100 percent sure that you are ready.)
At first, she kept asking, ‘You think you are gay? How long have you thought you are gay?
‘I don’t think, I know I am. How long? Since form three.’ (it was form one actually. I still don’t know why I shave off two years).
She then moved on to gay friends. ‘How many gay friends do you have? Who amongst your friends that are gay?’
‘None from secondary school.’
‘Then from primary school, got is it?’
‘Not that I know of.’
‘So who are those people you always chat online with anyway?’
‘I know them from the internet.’
‘Is Vincent gay?’ (Vincent is my best friend from secondary school. I am out to him, but still we are tight.)
‘Why can’t you be normal like other people? Girls are not attractive to you?’
‘No. And I am normal. Do you think I am not normal? I am still the son that you have always known.’
‘Yes, I know. But men and women are complementary. They fit each other sexually. How can two men be together?’
I avoided that for a while and added, ‘Besides, what most of the majority of the population do is not necessarily normal.'
Then I launched into gay myth-busting mode. Obviously, she needed more convincing about how normal homosexuality is. I gave her the usual facts: 4 percent of the male population, across all countries and cultures, are gay; existence of but undocumented cases of homosexuality in history (I mean, how many historians were or are gay?) and that AIDS is not a gay disease.
Apparently, she wasn’t as in the dark as I thought she was about homosexuality. She said that Chinese newspapers have reports and articles about homosexuals. They weren’t exactly negative portrayals, neither were they positive. They just presented the facts, which is more than I can say about the mainstream Malay and English dailies.
I can’t read Chinese to save my life, but I am real glad that she can.
‘Are you OK?’ (Stupid question, of course she was not OK.)
‘Don’t be too heartbroken.’
‘Of course I am heartbroken. Who would have thought that my own son is gay?’
‘Do you still love me?’
‘You are my son. Of course I love you no matter what. Nothing would ever change that. You think I’ll disown you or kill you or hurt you just because you are gay?’
‘Why didn’t you tell me earlier? So how come you have always denied it and assured me that you are normal?’
By hiding about my sexuality, I have also hidden a lot of other things about myself from her. I never realized to what extent, but now I do. My mom said she almost didn’t know me anymore. Yup, it was that bad.
She has no idea who my friends are and what I did outside.
She has always maintained that I could tell anything. Anything at all. I believed her, but apparently it was not enough. I didn’t believe that her love for me would surpass her desire to have grandchildren, daughter-in-law and keep ‘face’ (respectable reputation in society / how society perceives someone).
I was wrong. And I was stupid to have doubted her.
So, for every question that she asked, I tried to give her a clear, logical answer. The answers are all in my head anyway. It was the clarity part. I had to control myself from breaking down and crying like a baby.
Though there was one question, which I didn’t answer. ‘What about your brother? Is he gay too?’
‘Erm .. I wouldn’t know, would I? I think you better ask him that yourself.’
Of course, I have to make her promise not to tell Dad. He would definitely freak out and probably react very similarly to Justin’s (Queer as Folk) father. Clearly, there was no Brian Kinney to seduce me (though I sometimes wish there was), so most probably I would be the one bearing the brunt of his anger.
As you would have probably known, the relationship between my dad and I is not exactly rosy. It’s almost non-existent.
As such, my mom advice me to be nice to him, to show him respect, because after all he is my father. Furthermore, he’s old and how many years do you think he has in him? He will be devastated, if he were to find out that I am gay, exacerbated by the fact that I don’t treat him with respect.
I didn’t promise anything, I just said I will try.
She seemed to have taken it pretty well. I estimated that her tears could roughly fill a cup. It is still better than crying buckets, right?
Before she left the room, I gave her a hug. ‘Thanks for understanding, Mom. I love you.’