Now for those of you who do not already know this already (although I don’t really think that there’s actually that many of you who are THAT clueless)…I’m gay, yes, gay, with a capital G-A-Y. Now, I know there’s that whole global debate about Nature Vs Nurture going on, but for me, I think it’s more of nature than nurture. I mean, as far as I can remember, I’ve NEVER been really been attracted by the opposite sex in that sexual way. I mean, sure I can appreciate beauty in the female form, but it’s more like wanting to have them strut around a runway in pieces you pick out for them, like playing dress-up with your vintage Barbie, not so much like wanting to “bonk” them. Since a young age, even when I went to the movies or watched TV, I was never really that drawn to the female leads. For instance, I was glued to “Magnum P.I.”, “Remingston Steele” and “The Saint” cos of Tom Selleck and Pierce Brosnan, I was fixated on Sean Connery instead of the Bond girls in the James Bond movies, I was drooling over Tom Cruise in “Top Gun” and Patrick Swayze in “Dirty Dancing” and “Ghost” rather than their leading ladies in those films. But the thing is, I never knew why I felt the way I did, and because I was the first born child in the family, my parents and relatives more or less chose to “shield” me in some sort of “protective bubble”, away from all vulgarities, sex-related topics and “the dark side of life”. Believe it or not, I did not even know what sexual intercourse or masturbation or erection was, or how babies were made until I was 17 years old!
But even with all that shielding and protecting, I still ended up discovering about sex on my own, in a harrowing incident. When I was nine years old, reading by myself in Times Bookstore on Level 3 of Plaza Singapura (while my parents were shopping in Yaohan supermarket downstairs), I did not understood why I was overwhelmingly drawn to this muscular teenage guy in a white tank top and red shorts. I just felt this uncontrollable urge to want to follow him out of the bookstore. I ended up being led by him to the restrooms where he tried to molest my privates at the urinals. If not for someone else entering the restroom at that precise moment, and the guy splitting from the scene, god knows what he might have done to me then! As the guy didn’t manage to get very far, and I just stood there at the urinal in a stunned daze in the usual urinating position, the guy who came in didn’t noticed anything amiss and just went into one of the toilet stalls to “do his business”. After I composed myself, I then left the restroom and went back to Times Bookstore again. I never told my parents or anyone about that incident until years later as an adult, when I could come to terms about it.
That incident became some sort of a wake-up call to me. Even though it still terrifies the hell out of me when I think back to it, even to this day, the whole ordeal strangely also had another effect on me. I found that this touch by an attractive, well-toned male against my naked skin turned me on and made me very excited. Because I did not know what heterosexual sex was all about back then, much less gay sex, I became very confused as to all these strange emotions that were flooding my mind. I only knew that reading those erotic gay stories scribbled on the back of the toilet stall doors back, when I was at that age, gave me the same thrill as the guy did when he touched me.
Because I didn’t understand what being gay meant during those younger years, I always assumed it to be something dirty or monstrous or freakish and didn’t want to be regarded as that. So when I had crushes on my male classmates then (a band major, a NPCC sergeant and a field hockey captain), it was all very pure and innocent – as in, I honestly never thought of them, not even for a second, in a sexual way, I only admired them for their positions as leadership figures in their ECAs and wanted to be their friend. Physically speaking, I was more mesmerized by three of our hunky P.E. teachers back then.
So anyway, nothing major happened for the next couple of years. And then I turned 17 and entered junior college and then polytechnic, and discovered the internet! From the internet, I stumbled accidentally upon gay websites while searching for pictures of hunky male celebrities, and FINALLY discovered and understood what being the word “gay” really meant and what both heterosexual and homosexual sex were all about. But as I was scared of venturing into the unknown, and of being ostracized by society and rejected by my family and friends for being different, so instead of following my heart, I went into serious denial of my true sexual identity. So I started convincing myself I got to start dating girls and pursued three of them in the next three years (coincidentally, they all had medium length hair, were rather slender in built, conservative by nature, kind of demure, and had names ending with “ee”, ha, ha, ha… I guess I thought that was the conventional stereotype of “the good girl”). Anyway, as can be expected, I found myself not being even remotely being physically attracted to these three ladies, even though they were really quite attractive. In the end, when the three of them rejected me, I didn’t even feel that dejected, only perhaps a little disappointed at the notion of someone rejecting me that’s all.
At the same time, my interest in members of the same sex began to burgeon as the days, months and years gone by. And I became bolder, venturing into the internet more and more to browse on websites on this subject matter, jotting down telephone and pager numbers off toilet doors and even attempting to contact a few of them, but chickening out in the end!
It wasn’t until I turned 21 and finished my BMT training did I finally found the inner courage to come out of the closet and declared my sexuality to the psychiatrist in camp. Naturally, she was skeptical about my inclination and went through an in-depth and thorough assessment to see if I was lying or not. The result was that she decided I was genuine and gave me a “302” status (i.e. homosexual soldier) and granted me stay-out privileges as a clerk for the rest of my National Service.
And it was after my declaration in NS, did I meet my very first group of gay friends (Enoch Chee, Jon Lee and Dex Ng). Through their guidance, I began to explore my own sexuality more honestly. I discovered IRC and its local gay chat rooms, met up guys for dates and even went to local gay pubs and clubs occasionally e.g. Taboo, Venom, Inner Circle, etc. Of course, all of this was done in secret, because at that time (during the late 90s), it was almost unheard of to be openly gay, everything was very hush hush. So I often ended up locking myself in the room with my PC to surf gay webpages, or chat on the phone with the guys I was dating, and l’d lie to my parents that I was going for late night movies or meeting up old friends, when I was actually meeting up guys for dates or the few times that I went to gay pubs and clubs.
Eventually, my lies began catching up with me, because I lost track of all the lies I had to spin just to cover another lie which was again used to cover yet another lie. So, after years of lying umpteen times to my parents, I finally decided to come clean with them, or at least one of them. I picked my Mum because I figured, since she was a fan of gay singers by the likes of Roman Tam, Leslie Cheung and always told me she was opened to the idea that they were gay, so I figured maybe she wouldn’t react too adversely to the fact that I too am gay. So four years after coming out in NS, I sat my Mum down during lunch and came clean to her about me being gay. I told her everything, from the molestation incident in Plaza Singapura when I was nine, to my coming out during NS, to the guys that I dated from IRC and that I have already gone through two boyfriends by then. Surprisingly, my Mum didn’t react too badly to my confession. Instead, she calmly told me that she kind of expected it for some time now. She only asked me if I had engaged in anal sex yet? When I told her I have not, as I have yet to establish enough trust in a boyfriend yet to go through with that, she seemed relieved and did not ask me any more questions after that. That night, she went home and told my Dad about what I told her. They then asked my middle brother whom I had come out to four years ago, after declaring my sexuality in NS (I had to tell someone in the family, otherwise holding a secret from everyone at home for that long would have driven me nuts!) and confirmed that I really was gay. Since then, the question of when I’d be getting married or having kids stopped miraculously, but being Asian parents after all, they’re still conservative at heart and despite how open they claim to be, they chose to be in denial about my orientation and thus, since that day, they too never chatted with me about my gay lifestyle or talked about the guys I was dating after that. I’m fine with it, I guess. It’s their decision and I respect it. It definitely is better than having me exiled from home right?
However, it is my personal wish that one day my parents would be open enough to accept me openly about my sexuality and would stand beside me when I get married to my Mr. Right in a state that legally recognizes gay marriages (we’d fly overseas if we have to for the ceremony), and would love me, my husband and my future kids, if we do have any (whether through adoption or surrogacy).