Every year the LGBTQ+ community celebrates pride month during the month of June. Why June you might ask? On 28th June 1969, police officers raided a popular LGBTQ+ joint called the Stonewall Inn. The rough treatment and assault of LGBTQ+ patrons sent bystanders into outrage and major riots ensued. These Stonewall riots (also called the Stonewall uprising) sparked the LGBTQ+ rights movement in the United States. Now, many pride events are held during this month to recognize the impact LGBTQ+ members have had in the world.
To commemorate this special month and celebrate the diversity in Singapore, we have interviewed 3 members of the LGBTQ+ community to hear more about their experiences, feelings and aspirations for the future. Their names have been changed to protect their identities.
1) What are some misconceptions about being LGBTQ?
Haha. I may be biased but this is what I think people think.
- Gays behave like females
The idea that queer people are loud and brash in their sexuality. Heterosexuality is also performative if you think about the gender rules and the conformity to marriage and expectations. Queer people feel the need to be more expressive because they’re not often given the opportunity to be themselves, and joy is contagious. Queer people just want to express themselves and love as strongly and as hard as any other person. We just come in many colours of the rainbow and there is joy in sharing that
We are becoming the new normal. The validation of our individual identities does not invalidate your own.
2) Have you experienced discrimination?
I think I was lucky enough to not have witnessed any form of major discrimination growing up. This could be because I have been trying my best to fit into the mould of a male which society (and my friends) expected me to be in. Coming of age, I was out to selective to certain people and they were most kind to be accepting of who I am (that’s what friends are for!) and continued to respect me.
Yes. I’ve had many people describe me as ‘confrontational’ and ‘too queer’ for existing in a space. Often people see me as political simply for stating I am queer. I’ve also been constantly misgendered and misrepresented by people and institutes that should protect me. It is lonely and hard to fight for the rights of people I care about, but also myself.
No, but only because I am bisexual, meaning that I can present as straight and hide certain aspects of my identity to avoid discrimination.
3) Have you told your family and friends that you are LGBTQ? Why or why not?
My sister is aware and so are my friends. No particular reason, it just felt like the right thing to do and I went ahead with my feelings.
Not all my family and friends. I know 100% not everyone is going to be supportive, or they won’t understand, and I don’t have the energy to cope with knowing if they will be or not. I am out to some but not all. I think the way I see it is, not everyone is entitled to my personal information even if they’re blood-related or friends I’ve known for a while. I know who I am inside, and sometimes that is enough.
I am open in some close friend circles and my immediate family. All the people I have come out to are openly accepting of my identity and have been even before I came out, so I felt safe and comfortable to do so.
4) Do you have any advice to give to others who are afraid?
Speak to someone. It’s normal to be afraid. Just know you’re not alone in this and there’s someone out there who is afraid too. Do not let the fear consume you and seek help. There are so many forms of channels available now with technology rampant – I’m sure if you tried to reach out, there’s someone or something out there for you! Most importantly, don’t lose yourself in the process. Always stay true to who you are.
You know you best, and being in or out does not change who you are. I know it’s hard but you will always be who you say you are, with or without approval. I just hope your journey gets better and safer, and one day you get to be who you are and who you want to be, without shame and guilt.
There is no right or wrong way to act. There is no rulebook on how we should present our sexuality or gender identity. Nobody is teaching us how to live life as anything beyond the traditional heterosexual image society has. It is up to us, the generation who is unafraid to express themselves, to write the book and walk the road that so many have paved for us.
5) What is something you want to tell society about your community?
Love is love. We are not that different from everyone else. All that we yearn for is to be accepted and loved. Just like everyone, we want to feel safe in our home and be able to be ourselves. Look beyond our sexual orientation and preferences and you’ll realise we are humans too.
We are just like you. We’re both people, we just love different things and different people. Ideas about queerness is not new, and we are not a social phenomenon. Queer culture is here in Singapore and has been for a very long time. You likely know many queer people, whether they’re in the closet or not, we exist and existing is enough for us. We just want to feel safe.
The reason why there are more LGBT+ people is because in the past expressing ourselves would put a target on our backs. Some of us still do hide our identities in certain social circles due to fear of discrimination.
We are so grateful to our 3 friends who were so willing to share their experiences with us and all our readers! 🙂
While these 3 members of the LGBTQ+ community have shared some of their experiences and insights, there is still so much more that we can learn from this very diverse community. The best way to learn more is to keep an open mind and make an ongoing commitment to learn and grow during this journey of seeking understanding, reflecting, checking assumptions and supporting others.
Pride may be in the month of June, but you can provide meaningful support, help causes, and embrace LGBTQ+ visibility all year round!
A Kind Place supports and is welcoming to everyone from all walks of life, gender identity, orientation, and backgrounds. If you have any questions or would like to book a session with us, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp us here.