I want to tell you about my boyfriend. Dave and I just moved in together. He doesn't believe in Valentine's Day. Thinks it's romantic rubbish. Which is probably fair enough. I reckon every chance you get to tell someone you love them you need to grab with both hands. Never miss a moment. I told him this in the weeks leading up to Valentine's Day and in the morning I gave him a T-Shirt with the chemical formula for caffeine printed on it. (He's a science computer geek with a fixation on making and drinking only the very best coffee. I give him heaps about being a coffee snob and buy instant coffee just to annoy him) He loved the T-Shirt and the card I found that also referenced coffee. Something about keeping me up all night. Anyway it was a lovely way to start the day and he went off to work and I went off to be domestic and do the weekly shopping.
I'm a straight woman. My best friend is a lesbian. She has a butch look about her. She wears pants and shirts and keeps her hair short. No make up. She is a “butch” lesbian. Or so I was told. Or so I was made to believe. By her. By society.
One night, late night, after lots of red wine I randomly (and quite facetiously) asked, “What is the difference between you and a transgender guy?” “Nothing”, came the answer. “They just had the guts to do it.” My best friend then burst into tears and said that he has never said this out loud before.
Coming out as gay and coming out as trans are two very different things. It’s not just one little coming out; it’s this giant switch and some people choose to take it slowly, and some people do it in one big motion. I was scared of taking it too quickly and hurting people. It’s not just something that affects you; it affects family and relationships and everything changes. Before I turned fourteen I had a lot of stuff going on that kept me from figuring things out. I definitely felt connected to the LGBTI community, but I couldn’t pin it on anything. The feelings were there, but not identifiable. A pivotal moment was when I was in Year 8 and my teacher put up a poster that said: ‘Some boys like boys. Some girls like girls. And some like both’. They were rolling out the safe schools posters and I didn’t know that at the time, but just to read that on the wall was really affirming.
"Before Christmas a friend said "You and Chris aren't very affectionate in public. Is it because you just aren't very affectionate or is it something else?" The thing is, from my perspective, I always thought we actually were. If we're dining with friends and Chris is beside me I'll casually place my hand on his back and give him a light caress perhaps even a brief head rub. I may even lean against him if the situation allows. But, I guess I pay more attention to that than my friends because most times I express my connection with him it's actually personally confronting. I know people may see it. I know it may challenge their perception of love. I know it may have awkward consequence. Yet, the thing is, whenever we have shown affection to each other there was no consequence. It was only a relatively recent walk of the dog, where we weren't being expressive at all, that some bogan shouted "faggots" from a passing car.
Why am I gay? Why me? Why can’t I live ‘normally’ like my straight friends? Will I ever get married and have children? How am I going to tell my parents that I like guys and I will never get married with a girl? There are tonnes of questions in my head and have no f*cking idea what the answers are. I am lost.. I am tired… really tired... There are so many WHYs in my life and at times, I feel useless and stupid… I feel like I am such a failure in my life to a point I thought of ending my life a few times and not worrying about anything ever again. What's the purpose of living? To be discriminated? To be stigmatised? To be judged?
Here I am, an elderly retired Caucasian man recovered from serious illness, now I'm in excellent health and still active in most respects. After a lonely , often brutal childhood, I've been lucky enough to enjoy a productive life. Yet all along I remained inwardly alone. Six years ago, I entered a new world, when a gay Chinese doctor suggested I join a gay dating website. Since then I have tasted for the first time not only gay sex, but to my amazement, deep and loving intimacy with another person! The latter has given extra energy and joy to my existing relationships and to my lifelong involvements in faith, politics, community work and music, and has inspired greater respect for people who struggle to live honestly, whether in the mainstream or at the edge of society.
I still dont understand why people think being gay, lesbian, transgendered or any different sexual orientation than heterosexuality is a choice or life style. Being gay for me means firstly I have to convince my family to accept my sexuality, have to come out which could possibly lead to a lot of conflicts, stress, heartbroken, verbal insults, homelessness and/or ignorance from my OWN FAMILY, where is supposed to be a safe place for me to come back anytime I get hurt. Being gay means I have to also come out to my friends and worry that; whether they would accept me, think I’m a freak, treat me differently or I could even lose my friendships. Being gay means I can’t show or express my true sexuality all the time, in every places because I could possibly get discriminated or bullied at school, university, job interview or workplace.