I’ve talked already about how important it is that, when you come out to someone else besides yourself, it needs to be a gay-friendly person – at least accepting and comforting, if not supportive or encouraging. One of the many beautiful things about being out – and also proud and loud about it – is you automatically become a safe space for fellow queer people who have yet to come out. You might be the one they come out to after they’re out to themselves, or they might approach you to rid of any confusion or frustration they’re having with their sexuality – or sexual/gender identity.
I really had no one to talk to when my sexuality was in question. I had to figure things out myself. I couldn’t discuss with others about my love interests, romantic or sexual fantasies. Like I’ve said several times, there are no legitimately “gay” people in Burmese society – only biological men and women and trans men and women. (We are an invisible people, and that’s why I’m being so freaking loud!) But “safe space” people came my way once I was out to myself. They weren’t very supportive or comforting, since they themselves were struggling in the overly heteronormative and cissexist Burmese society. And we didn’t fit into the femme trans women category of “drag/gay people” as the Burmese call the gays/trans women. But I finally had queer-peers and we had each other we could talk to. One of my dad’s sisters is a lesbian in the stereotypical “trans man/tomboy” category, but I never got to talk to her. By the time I was out to myself, she was already wrapped up in her religious pursuits, all dressed in white and her girlfriend of 25+ years attending to her needs as some disciple. But I had my gay boy friends.
In my experience, it’s not after I became openly gay that people approached me for coming out – which I find strange. Because, for one thing, I have a terrible gaydar and I never suspected those who came out to me could be of queer sexuality. And how could they tell I am a gay-friendly person or that I am definitely gay? In other words, how could they have a gaydar for me to appear on when they themselves are still questioning or have just came out to themselves?
Anyways, it’s been wonderful memories listening to what they have to say and how they come around for it. Two girls came out to me once. They used to be a closeted couple and I happened to be their mutual friend. One of them found out I had been hanging out with the other and opened up to me about their past relationship. The other did the same the next day. They didn’t say anything bad about each other but that they grew apart with time. They weren’t exactly coming out to me but simply telling me of their personal lives. One of them had a boyfriend some time after that. Another is still single. They didn’t specify their orientation, but I guess they’d go with “bi-curious”.
There’s another interesting friend of mine, whose brother was (and is) one of my queer-peers. His brother was my safe space, but with him, we just discuss about our dating lives and preferences. He refuses to be dubbed any label on him because being “gay”, to him, is a small part of his life. I beg to differ. My sexuality is a big part of my life. It dictates how I my dating preferences but also what role I play in society, how I interact with others (male, female and everyone in between, peers or the elder or the younger generation), how I express myself (in words, actions and even clothes and accessories), etc. I am part of a phenomenon that adds more a colourful diversity to the fabric of humanity. I am proud. I make a big deal out of it. And hey, I even have this blog! *fanfare and drum-roll* Ta-da!
And there’s the man-whore I’d written a post about. He’s probably arrived at the conclusion that he’s gay but has not fully embraced the fact yet. He is a naturally attractive guy and gets the boys. He’s the pimp, but since he can’t show it off in public since he hasn’t admitted to himself that he’s gay, he tells me private tales about how he has to satisfy these boys because they want him so much. He could turn them down and chase girls, if he didn’t want them. Simple as that! I got tired of his tales and asked him just the other day if he wanted to hook up with me – or make out, at least. I didn’t know where that would go, but I just asked – because he’s pretty and seemed easy. He cringed and cowered. (No, I’m not attractive, according to the stereotypical gay physical standards.) Maybe his tales of love-making weren’t authentic. Maybe my straightforwardness scared him. Or maybe he didn’t find me attractive. Anyway, that’s how you “do the creep” on a man-whore who won’t admit he’s gay. Come to think of it, I’m a really mean person.
After I launched my blog, somebody came out to me as bisexual. Also, he found my openness startling. It’s no surprise though. I’m constantly pushing myself to be shockingly open. People need to know things on a personal level, hear my voice – maximum volume and sincere expressions. This concept of saying everything out loud as I feel it, I dare say, I got it from Chris Crocker. His YouTube videos are always honest although the content may be too delicate or personal and the expression jarring and in-your-face.
One thing I’ve noticed about these conversations with these people: they often have this as a closing line to the conversation, “I’m just telling you this coz I trust you. Don’t rat me out.” Of course, not! Well, um, I’m writing this post so … Anyways, I’m not giving names away and you’ll never know who these people are. Even if you’ve come out to me and your story is here, you won’t know whose stories the others are. So, we’re cool! The point is: when you’re a safe space, you listen to them and give them comfort. And giving them comfort includes tending to their wishes – like keeping their stories private (which is not exactly what I’m doing, but almost), telling them it’s ok to be gay, that you’ll be there if they ever need to talk or refer to an LGBT resource centre if you can’t be there for them, etc. It’s not a good thing most of the time to ask them or encourage them to come out publicly (especially when they themselves are unsure of their sexual orientation or sexual/gender identity). Coming out means different things to different people. All we can do is listen, sympathize (Yes, we can do that coz we’ve been there.) and be there for them.
P.S. I’m saying coming out means different things to different people but am criticizing the man-whore. All I’m saying, if he’s (really) having non-anonymous same-sex sexual encounters (and same-sex sexual encounters only) on a regular basis, he should at least come out to himself. Fucking accept you’re gay, even if you don’t want to tell others!