Denny, in his own words:“When I was a little kid, I was attracted to men, and felt scared about my feelings. It took 20 years to admit that I am gay, so relieved! So being gay means being free, free from fear of myself.
My biggest challenge is to tell my family about myself, because until now only a few of my family want to accept who I am.
(My coming out story) is kind of funny, I used to keep my gay DVD among other movie DVD, and my aunt borrow my movie DVD and accidentally played my gay DVD! So she just smile to me and told me that her son is gay too. And I think she told my other family about this, but they all keep silent.
The gay community in Jakarta mostly stays in the closet, just a few come out.
(Advice to my younger self) Being gay is not a disease, nor a choice, it is destiny, just accept who you are, and be safe!”
Sepi, in his own words:“For me being gay is a destiny in my life, a feeling that is directly given by God, many people said that being gay is a choice but I totally disagree, because God never asked and gave me a chance to choose my sexual orientation.
Lots of people don’t know much about being gay and there are haters that strongly disagree about legalized same-sex relationships, but whether they know it or not true love begins with a feeling of the heart to another heart and doesn’t begin with sex to the other sex.
The challenge of my life as being gay was when I was 7 years old, and realizing I was a man who loved men, my struggling is how to love myself, trying to accept my sexual orientation because I live in a religious family environment, and when I was student in elementary school, I heard a phrase that “God loved His people,” since then I believe that God also loved me because I was created as a gay child.
I have a very unique story when I came out to my mom, when I was 20, I made a picture and I wrote the word in that picture “I’m sorry mom, I’m gay,” and I shared these images on my account on Facebook, and then my mom saw it. My mom left a comment on the picture and she said, “I’m feeling sad right now, maybe God has punished me for the sins I’ve done.” But I convinced my mom that no one is to blame on this case, “I said this is given from God.” And I’m very lucky because until now our relationship is very good and we became much closer, my mom just told me please be a good gay, and I’ll never forget the moment of that and I still keep the picture on my Facebook.
I was born and raised in Cianjur, West Java, which is a village and very homey. I had to walk about 20 minutes when I went to school, there is a conservative culture, so I only knew a little bit about the gay lifestyle. I tried to find information about being gay via social media, and at the end when I was 15 I began to knew about Top and Bottom terms, and after I finished my studies in high school when I was 17, I moved to the city of Jakarta, and here I knew what is the meaning of life, I can meet with many people who like me, in the city there are a lot of places for the gay community to gather like gay organizations, bars, parks, cafes, malls etc. Jakarta gives me with a lot of friends who helped me become a confident and modern gay.
(Advice to my younger self) Life as a gay man would not be easy, you will struggle to accept yourself, when you feel different, my advice is just to love yourself, follow your heart, because your heart will lead you to happiness, don’t listen to a bad word about your sexual orientation, but just listen if someone comments about your personality as a human, be friendly, stay humble, respect one another, because being a good gay is someone who has a good heart, and don’t forget to do the best with your attitude, because I love to set everything by attitude, enjoy your life and believe everyone can easily accept you as being gay.”
Richardo, in his own words:“Being gay for me is like a nature call. It comes from the deepest part of your soul. Some people can live with it, but some can not. Just like any other superheroes that have a special ability, they can show it, but they also can hide it. We can’t say that being gay is a choice, but to declare that “I’m gay” is a choice, and that’s not easy. No matter if you are gay, bi, or hetero, you’ll always be like that. No one can change and judge you. Some people can happily live with it, but some can not. It depends on how they see theirself and how people around them can accept it.
The greatest challenge in my life is to discover who you are, and trying to beat all the levels in your life. You know, sometimes it’s hard for us to get out from our comfort zone. Being who we are when many people are trying to see us as a treat, unusual, or worse- a freak. But that’s a life. People can talk bad about us, they don’t know who we are, just let them speak and do what you love.
Until now I still haven’t come out to my parents. But I think they already know about who I am. But well, my mom always supports me, she’s liberal enough, not like my dad. But I’m trying the best I can do to make them happy. I will show them that I can be someone someday and they will be proud of me no matter the sexual orientation that I have.
As always, be who you are. Love each other. When the world hates you, do not hate ’em back. Spending so much time throwing negative energy is useless, use it to build a better you. :)”
Imam, in his own words:“Bagi saya, menjadi seorang gay adalah bagian dari sebuah proses hidup untuk menjadi seorang manusia seutuhnya. Tidak ada bedanya dengan seorang heteroseksual ataupun orientasi seksual lainnya. Belum lagi bila dihadapkan pada keberagaman gender. Pada dasarnya terlahir menjadi apa dan siapa, tak lantas menjadikan kita berbeda. Dulu saya menganggap diri saya berbeda. Tapi sekarang, sampai detik ini, sebagai seorang gay saya merasa tidak ada bedanya dengan manusia lainnya.
Di dunia ini, hidup adalah tantangan. Hidup adalah perjuangan. Terlahir sebagai gay, ataupun sebagai hetero, tidak lantas menjadikan kita seorang pecundang yang bersembunyi dari balik perasaan karena kita merasa berbeda. Bukan itu. Tapi bagaimana cara kita untuk melanjutkan hidup, tanpa memperdulikan apa identitas seksual kita, apa identitas gender kita, tapi lebih kepada kita sudah berbuat apa untuk menjadikan hidup ini lebih baik. Dan disitulah tantangannya.
Saya adalah termasuk gay yang memilih coming out kepada teman terlebih dahulu. Dulu sempat ada kekhawatiran untuk coming out kepada keluarga. Ada banyak gambaran ketakutan-ketakutan berlebihan terkait pilihan saya untuk memutuskan coming out terhadap keluarga. Namun yang menjadi alasan kuat saya hanya satu. Yaitu mencoba. Karena bagaimanapun, saya tidak akan pernah tahu kebenaran macam apa yang bakal saya terima apabila saya memilih coming out terhadap keluarga. Tentunya sebelum coming out, saya sudah mempersiapkan banyak hal. Yang terpenting pertama, tentu saja, saya sudah berdamai dengan diri saya sendiri. Siapa saya. Karena percuma saja bila kita memilih coming out kepada keluarga, namun urusan penerimaan diri belum selesai. Dan yang kedua selain penerimaan diri, tentu saja kemapanan. Kemungkinan terburuk adalah diusir dari rumah. Dan solusi adalah bagaimana kita bisa bertahan hidup. Dan saya pribadi yakin, apa yang menjadi pilihan saya bukan pilihan yang salah. Dan ketika membuat pengakuan ke orang tua, reaksinya justru berbalik dari apa yang telah saya bayangkan. Ibu saya hanya bisa diam. Berusaha untuk belajar memahami siapa saya. Dan dia berusaha keras untuk bisa menerima kondisi saya. Dan disitulah tugas saya untuk membantunya memahami kepribadian saya. Dan pelan tapi pasti, sedikit demi sedikit, komunikasi dan sharing informasi terkait apa itu homoseksualitas terus berjalan. Walhasil, tidak ada pengusiran. Keluarga pelan-pelan ternyata bisa menerima. Dan life is beautiful.
Komunitas gay di Jakarta ini sangat beragam. Banyak jenis. Dari yang tertutup hingga yang terbuka. Dari yang kelompoknya orang menengah biasa hingga yang mengkhususkan diri hanya yang punya koleksi prada, whatever lah. Sehingga disitu kadang saya merasa sedih…. Memangnya kenapa kalauhal tersebut benar-benar ada? Karena pada kenyataannya itu adalah pilihan. Toh, di lingkungan kaum heteroseksual pun juga ada yang tak kalah heboh terkait komunitas hetero-nya. Justru dari situ bisa saya tarik garis kesimpulan, kita menjadi (dianggap) berbeda, ya karena kita tidak dianggap sama. Kita (gay dan hetero) akan setara justru bila kita bisa memandang bahwa tidak ada yang berbeda diantara kita semua. Bukan berarti juga orang lain dipaksa untuk bisa memahami kita, namun dari gay nya sendiri malah ingin dieksklusifkan, sama juga bohong. Mau bergabung di komunitas mana, semua ada konsekuensinya.
Kalau kita ingin dianggap sama atau setara, jangan pernah kita merasa berbeda. Tapi merasa lah bahwa kita terlahir istimewa dan diciptakan untuk melengkapi perbedaan yang pada dasarnya satu sama. SAMA-SAMA MANUSIA!”
“For me, being gay is part of a life process to becoming a human being. There are no differences between a heterosexual or any other sexual orientation. Let alone when we are faced with gender differentiation. At the end, being born as who I am, it won’t make any any difference. I used to think that I was different. But now, until this second, as a gay I feel the same as with other human beings.
In this world, life is a challenge. Life is a fight. Born as gay or straight, doesn’t make us a loser who has to hide behind our feelings because we’re different. It’s not that. It’s how we continue with our life, without care about our sexual identity, our gender identity, but what matters is more on what have we done to make this life better. This is the challenge.
I am a gay who chose to come out to my friend first. I used to worry about coming out to my family. There were so many unreasonable fears when I wanted to come out to my family. But the only thing that became strong was my need to try. Because no matter how, I would never find out what would happen to me from coming out to my family if I didn’t give it a try. Of course I prepared many things because I actually did it. The most important for sure was to make peace with myself. Who am I. Because it would be a waste if I came out to my family without accepting myself first. The second thing after self-acceptance was my ability to support myself. The worst possibility for me was being kicked out of the house. And the solution was how would I survive if that happened. Personally I am sure that my choice was not a wrong choice. And when I did it, the reaction was totally different than what I had imagined before. My mom was just silent. Trying to understand me. She was trying really hard to understand my condition. That’s where I feel it should be my task to help her understand my personality. Slowly but surely, bit by bit, communication and information sharing about homosexuality keeps flowing. At the end, no eviction. My family slowly accepted it. And Life is beautiful.
The gay community in Jakarta is so varied. There are so many of them. From the closeted ones to the open ones. From the middle class to those who only own Prada. Whatever. That’s why sometime I feel sad. So what if those things really exist. Because in reality, it’s just is a choice. In the straight community we can find the same thing as well. That’s why I can make an assumption that we want to be treated differently. We (gay and straight) will only be equal when we are able to see that we are no different compared to one other. Not by forcing other people to understand us. But if we as gays want to be treated exclusively, it wont work at all. No matter which community that you want to join, there will always be consequences.
If we want to be treated equally, don’t think that we are different. Think that we are born in a special way and created with differences which are basically same. Same human being.”
Dave, in his own words:“. (Being gay means) being my own self. I mean, since I was a little boy, I was already attracted physically with other boys and I think it’s natural. Because I don’t know what we call it. When I grew up and became a teenager, that feeling became stronger, and never changed. I’m still attracted physically (and sometimes sexually) with men. There’s no force, no pretending, it flew naturally, came from my feeling. I can’t deny it. After I went to college, I understood about homosexuality. I’m a part of it. Being a gay, man (biologically has a penis) who is attracted physically and sexually to another man. But, sometimes, I think that I’m in a wrong body, a female in a male body. Hahahahaa.. So, I like to make over myself and become a female (crossdresser)
The biggest challenge in my life has been conservative people. They won’t accept us just like we are. We live in a Muslim (most of the religion) country with a lots of norms and rules that came from the conservative points of view.
(With regards to coming out) Actually I’ve already come out since I was a little boy. I told my friend (a boy) that I liked another boy too. In that time, I also acted like a girl, liked to play with girl’s stuff, including wearing my mom’s dress. And I enjoyed it. So, I guess, my parents already knew about it. They never asked me but, I can saw it from their attitude, they accepted me. Maybe because I got good achievements at school and I was the one of my family who went to college. My brother used go against me, but now, he already accept me just like I used to be now.
There is lots of gay community in Jakarta. You can find them everywhere, but not the discreet groups. Usually, the discreet ones, use social media to make communications, and make appointments to meet each other in a secret place too (I mean maybe in a hotel, rented room, etc) not in a public areas. There’s still a gap between the sissy ones with the manly ones (straight acting), the high end with the low end.
(Advice I’d give my younger self) Being gay isn’t wrong. It’s not a sin. It’s natural. It comes from your feelings and heart. So, just accept yourself. Just being yourself, not pretending to be someone else. You are not alone.”