Tagged: lgtbq

A Note from Ali, in Pakistan…

Ali, in his own words: “For me being Gay is not just a word that explains my sexual orientation. For me it’s an inner voice that has helped me to do things I wouldn’t have done if I weren’t gay. The sacrifices I made, the battles I fought and the love and compassion I could give to others was only because I am a homosexual. I believe all homosexuals are sensitive, creative, and loving. Most people might not agree with me, but it’s okay.

Born and bred in a Muslim middle class family in Lahore, Pakistan, I am the eldest son. In my country the eldest son is supposed to follow the legacy of his father to set an example for the younger brothers. The idea of an effeminate, unconfident and confused boy as an eldest son or brother wasn’t acceptable for my father or brothers so, eventually I was put on the shelf as an embarrassment for the family. I was bullied in school and in my house and all I could do was to shut myself up and cry or to plan a suicide. I didn’t have guts to do the latter anyway.

After graduation, my father died and I started doing a job to support my family. Not to mention my job was not any different; I was bullied there as well. That was the time I realized that I should look for people like me with whom I could be myself. So thanks to internet I found ways to communicate with other gays in my city. I finally found out that I wasn’t alone and there were other people like me who have gone through the same torture.

Being gay in Pakistan is not easy. In public, in family even with friends one has to act straight otherwise one could face anything from public harassment, social boycott to even death. There are many gays living in big cities but they all try to be as much invisible as possible. Most guys are married, have kids but they also have random sex with guys to satisfy their real self. Rich gays arrange secret parties in their farm houses and somehow manage to live the life they want but gays from humble backgrounds always live is fear of getting caught all the time. Every kind of gay social networking is blocked and people rely only on Facebook and Grindr. But it’s not safe as well because you never know there might be a religious fanatic on the other end waiting to kill you to get a ticket to heaven.

So I have changed myself with the passage of time. Now 32 I have this rugged look (thanks to my favorite porn star). I am more straight acting (lol). I am trying my best to survive in this homophobic society. I even managed to have a relationship for 10 years. He was the love of my life. We couldn’t meet regularly due to fear of getting caught so we used to go out of city for some quality time every two to three months (just like Brokeback Mountain). But then after 10 years he remembered that he was straight, so he got married. I don’t blame him, he just couldn’t handle the pressure. My family still thinks that I am a loser despite the fact that I am still supporting them. They want me to get married. But I just can’t live a lie just to be politically correct. I read somewhere it’s better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not. Sometimes I get lonely, I feel suffocated and sad but then I start afresh. Sometimes I come across young guys in their early teens or twenties scared and confused as I was. I talk to them and try my best to let them understand that it’s okay to be different, it’s okay to be gay!”

Mussa, Outreach Worker, Cape Town, South Africa

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Mussa, in his own words: “Being gay to me, means being who I am. I don’t see any strange thing in being gay as a human. Because in this world people are not the same. We should just respect one another as God’s creations.

In this world people face a lot of challenges but when it comes to a gay person, it is another issue. Discriminations, stigmas etc…but all of those things you should challenge them in accepting yourself first then you will have full access in dealing with other issues. Like family, friends, communities etc… the moment people stress you, and you allow stress to stress you, you will be stressed the entirety of your life. I believe that any one can have goals to achieve in his life, but so long with grace of God I am coping with any kind of situation which I never thought of. The success it is good thing in life. I can not say that I achieved everything in life needed, but what I can assure you is that I made a peace inside of myself.

My coming out story is so complicated. As I’m telling you, I am 37 years old but this year 2014, that’s when my family knew about my sexuality.

Coming out is not an easy thing, but I always believed that nothing was wrong about me, where by I never felt owing anyone an explanation of me being homosexual or gay. People talk a lot of things about the bible, but what I know is that homosexuals have been there from the start of creation. And I believe that again God is not a killer.

The gay community in Capetown is more broader (generally than in South Africa ). Having a government which recognizes human rights is a big step in keeping your nation at peace. Out of that, South Africa’s law, allowing marriage to the same sex couples even though there is still a lot to do for the community to feel it as normal life, but at least same saxes couples fill protected by the law.

The advice I would give to youths is that in life people love one another and people hate one another. So, they should be prepared for those kind of challenges and they shouldn’t fill ashamed or offended because of criticism, stigmas hate, will be always there until Jesus comes, if it will happen. And they should know that God loves each and every person. However he look like. God loves everyone and they should not keep themselves away from churches or public services which would uplift them for their daily life until a person dies.”

Syd, Advertising, Manila, Philippines

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by KEvin Truong
photo by KEvin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Syd, in his own words: “In my opinion it’s not that hard to be gay here (Manila) I think people are more accepting now. I work in advertising so people don’t care really if you’re gay or not. To date here is easy, I think, with Grindr and Tinder and Facebook. People just add each other on Facebook and start talking. But in a way that makes it more difficult because I think in the back of people’s minds they have too many options so it’s hard to choose. I think that’s a problem now. Technology and social networking, there’s so many options so people can’t settle with one.”

Jenabi, Architect, Singapore

photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
JNB, the Gay Men Project, photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
photo by Kevin Truong
Jenabi, in his own words: “At the age of 23, I accepted an offer to study in Krakow for a term and that turned my world upside down. I had never felt freer in my life – I knew no one and no one knew me. I allowed myself to be myself and uninhibited which went a little overboard at that time.

All my new friends were probably more shocked by the way I introduced myself as queer then the idea of me being gay.

Imagine, a conservative Asian man who came out with his eyes wide open, not blinking and whispered when I’m about to say the word ‘gay’.

However, it quickly struck me that this whole gay thing wasn’t going to be an issue as I thought! No one treated me or judged my abilities any differently. They probably love me more and are happy that I’m comfortable with myself. Lotsa positive vibes. My time in Krakow was magical and it was then I felt that I finally lived for the first time.

That was the first gift I gave myself after 23 years of living. I like to think I turned 1 y.o. that year ☺ It was my first step of self-acceptance.

When I turned 2, I was given another chance to study abroad in Copenhagen. I wasn’t as excited as last time but this trip I met a guy.

I’m usually very analytical and practical by nature, but with him, with his piercing baby blue eyes, his openness, and humor I could not resist this charming Viking descendant. Knowing that I had an expiry date in Copenhagen I still let myself fall deep into it. My time in Copenhagen was more like a fairy tale, lost in time, exploring the snowy city with him, on the bike by day and in his arm by night.

He was the second gift I allowed myself to fall into.

Cheers to uncertainty, spontaneousity and love.

We decided to make a trip to my hometown when my term ended, as a ‘best friend’.

Before going home, I planned a trip to Germany over Christmas knowing that he would be celebrating it with his family and I should not intrude. Something about Christmas in Hamburg, the Christmas markets, couples holding hands; the snow evokes a strong sense of loneliness in me. I saw Starbucks from a distance and immediately in my mind Starbucks = free wifi, I thought talking to a familiar voice would help until halfway through the conversation I blurted out.

Sis, u know the friend who is visiting next year? ya mum told me about it.

He is more than just a friend.

Dead silence. She was lost of words. What have I done? I assumed that she would be able to accept it. Everything from thereon went downhill and the news spread like a wildfire within my family. I was nowhere near to explain and was left no choice to leave it suspending mid-air. Nobody was happy about it and it was nerve breaking.

So it was official, I came out at the age of 3. Well to be fair, it wasn’t my plan to come out to the whole family. Thanks to my sis, I didn’t need to do it myself. However, coming from an Asian family, we are best in not talking about the issue and it became the taboo topic of the house that thou shalt not speak of!

I had a choice then. Either I could chose to turn away from my family and continue my solitary living or I could put my head down, be there until the wave past. Tough times … We all of us have a choice. But being gay..nope! Not a choice.

Unfortunately not all fairytales have a happy ending. My relationship with the Viking ended before I turned 5. We’ve been through a lot, up and downs, our silly travels and hygge-ing around. Thank you for all the unconditionally love, happy memories you left me with. Thanks for shaping me into a better man and making me believe in same sex love.

I’d experience love and being love.

I matter to someone and respected .

We built a life together in each other’s warmth and embrace.

The only thing is I share all of this with a man.

I am 6 years old now. Now that I am out on the other side, I’m glad I came to terms with myself. I can see the dark times in my early life, the utter confusion, the crippling self- hate moments. I was so upset and wanted to end it all. All is good now and will get better.

I long for the day when my family will accept me for who I am but we shall not linger on that thought too rigidly. We are not defined by our sexuality. We are much more than that; it’s just our natural attraction to a currywurst over a pink taco. Things will come into places over time. Don’t rush it.”