Yesterday must have been “Homosexual Visibility Day” or “Let’s Be Out, Proud and Loud Day”. Two major weekend dailies have articles regarding us. And they were not tucked in one corner of the page.
Let me start with the Sunday Star.
I was flipping through the Star and one of the features was about fathers and how their children perceive them. The headline read ‘Teens grade dad a C-', based on a survey conducted by Reader’s Digest.
I didn't bother reading further, as another headline caught my attention - ‘Dad accepts son’s sexuality and still loves him’. For the full article, click here.
My father met my boyfriend just before Chinese New Year, and was polite to him. The gesture meant a lot to me because it signalled his acceptance of my sexuality. Throughout my teenage years, I had thought that my father hated me for being gay.
I remember how his snide remarks about gay people would hurt me so badly. I’d stayed silent, void of all feelings except hurt, and just stared at the wall.
My father is the typical Chinese businessman – must have a good education, must have a good career, and must have face. He never talked much and was always busy with his work. He disciplined my brother and I with his belt.
I will always remember the moment my mom found out I am gay. We were on the highway , she stopped the car and broke down in tears. Looking at me in the eye, she said: “No matter what, you are always Mummy’s son”.
That is one cool dad. And I suppose mothers usually are the one who would love unconditionally, even though the truth is hard to swallow.
The other mention was in the Aunt Agony column called Dear Thelma. There was yet another mail from a gay man, after a break of two months from the last one. This time, it was from an almost 30-year old guy. The title was “Looking for love”.
I grew up as a lonely boy, and lacked love and attention at home. Life was hard as my dad struggled to put food on the table. I understood the situation and except for real necessities like books and school fees, I wouldn't ask for money from my parents.
While in primary school, I grew fond of a popular teacher. I guessed he noticed it and started paying attention to me. It turned out that his interest in me was purely sexual in nature.
He asked that I performed oral sex on him and even though I knew it was not the right thing to do, I did it anyway just to be close to him.
Moving on to a boys’ secondary school, I became interested in good looking schoolmates but managed to suppress my feelings. My following sexual encounter did not happen until I was in college. I would have sexual fantasies with him but the morning after, I felt extremely guilty, confused and angry with myself. He tried many times to talk it over with me but I have refused to speak to him.
Ever since then, I have been struggling between what my heart desires and doing what I think is right. During quiet periods at the office, I became so lonely and depressed and resorted to gay chat-rooms on the internet to solicit sex with other men. For a while, I felt relieved, thrilled and excited, but it wasn’t long before I came to my senses and felt deeply ashamed of what I had done.
It's been four years I have managed to restrain myself from engaging in any sexual activities. I get on well with women but will distance myself if I sense any one showing interest. I can’t seem to accept their love and affection yet at the same time, I detest being a homosexual. I doubt if I know what love is even though I am approaching 30.
How can you find love if you detest yourself so much? The guilt and shame, the choking rage, will always be a barrier to your quest for love and happiness.
Poverty and loneliness could have steered your need for love and attention. But homosexuality is a personal sexual inclination, the desire and love for someone of the same sex. Perhaps your first sexual encounter with a male had triggered such desires and subsequently, you find yourself drawn to men. But if you are uncomfortable and confused about your true needs, seek psychiatric help.
You are right to have stopped having indiscriminate sex with multi-partners for quick and easy relief. The emptiness after, the lack of fulfilment and the feeling of being used would have added to self-disgust and shame. But subduing your needs and desires, hiding from your feelings and having to keep the women at bay can be very tiring and self-defeating. You will soon want to give up on yourself, give up on love. Where is your zest for living, for enjoying life’s precious moments now?
Stop hating yourself. Understand your own needs without discrimination. Homosexuals are not diseased, abnormal creatures. They love, they bleed and they breathe as we all do. But perhaps you are truly not one. There are many guys like you who are able to change their sexual orientation after they have gone through group and self-therapy.
You also need to come to terms with the past and rest the guilt and pain. Understand that you were a victim of sex abuse. Your teacher was the callous perpetrator who had used your youth and innocence. Your college encounter was a test of your feelings and urges. Unfortunately, you found it difficult to accept and comprehend. So you started running from yourself, avoiding the truth and hiding in shame all these years.
Denial is more painful than the truth. When you have to keep away from love to avoid the pain, how can you be truly happy? You are afraid that you cannot love a woman as much as you fear you love a man. It’s time that you seek help and come to terms with your own sexuality.
Date some women, be friends with men. Let your heart decide. Do not be afraid anymore. Man or woman, there is no shame in love.
I felt that Thelma gave a balanced and unprejudiced advice. Or at least as best as she could. She said that homosexuality is not the disease, but then went on next to say many guys like you who are able to change their sexual orientation after they have gone through group and self-therapy.
Clearly, she has been taken in by the reparative therapy propaganda.
But she redeemed herself towards the end, suggesting that Confused come clean and face the truth.
I also love the last bit. Man or woman, there is no shame in love.
How very true.