Image via WikipediaOne of my college buddies hinted in one of his emails about his sexual preference—that he is gay. Everyone seemed to be shocked at the disclosure. I myself could not believe it. Words of reassurance and acceptance from our girlfriends, though, have made the exchange of emails less tense. I, being a closet gay, felt discomfort with it that prompted me to send a text message that I was affected. (Bro, I hope you get to read this, if ever you are a member of this group. Please email me if you did.). He assured me I should not be affected. I said, “Okay, sinabi mo e.” End of discussion.
Still I was restless, and that time I thought of Buboi who could shed some light on what I feel. I told him about my dilemma that I could not believe it myself. Buboi even joked “Ayaw mo nun, pareho na kayo,” and something like “you can enjoy each other.” I jokingly replied to Buboi, “No, pare! It is like incest!”
I was restive the entire week. I guess I was really affected. But why?
Back in college, he was one of the guys who make the girls swoon. He is handsome, intelligent, and very talented. You could fall in love with the music he makes, and we always teased him how well he plays his “organ.” And I looked up to him with such admiration. I must admit everything crumbled on the ground when he hinted he is gay.
I am gay, albeit closeted. However, the mere fact that I have come to terms with my sexual preference, did not help at all. But I praised myself that I did not express any form of aversion to what he has hinted so far. What bothered me more, on one hand, is the fact that I should be the one giving him the assurance and understanding that everything is okay. Yet, at that moment, I could not. Was it, male pride or ego? That I have to put up this front? I have known a lot of people who have come out, but never felt this way. Was it because we have become close and got used to thinking and living and regarding each other as straight men? Many of you might raise an eyebrow about what I am saying. Let me explain myself. Please and do not judge me yet (Because I am not a book. – thanks to Melanie Marquez).
After dissecting my feelings about the situation, I came up with four (4) reasons and lessons why I reacted this way.
First, I had a high regard for my friend. Having a high regard for someone makes you lift him up in a pedestal, as if he is saint and flawless. So that when you see something beyond the normal or usual knowledge and acceptance of a person, it is hard for you to accept him in a different way. It takes time. But eventually, everything’s gonna be fine and become normal. After all, he has not diminished as a person with his sexual preference, the way I also regard myself. He is very much successful in his chosen career. In fact he is becoming more popular in his own field and gaining the respect of the most respectable persons in his field. Being gay, isn’t a bane for the person. It becomes “wrong” or “bad” or “abnormal” only for those people who are closeted in their own beliefs, perceptions and attitude on being gay. Normalcy, after all, is the product of accepting what becomes usual or common object or experience to all.
Now, isn’t it nice that when we have each other to talk about our being gay? I still respect him as a person. And that what matters most. And the best realization is, he is still my friend.
Second, I had great expectations. Nobody told me to expect something from him. But I guess, I expected him to procreate and multiply his God-given talents, not mentioning his intelligence (He was a cum laude in our course where only less than 50% of the original batch could graduate from. Isn’t that something worth “reproducing?”). And maybe when he has kids, he could already relate to the exchange of emails in our barkada, when we talk about marriage and kids. Maybe I was really wrong expecting from him. I am sorry for that. But now, I am wishing him to be happy with his chosen life. Nothing more. And I wish that he would wish me the same.
Third, I am still nurturing that stigma attached to being gay. Being in the closet is okay for me. But being out in the open is not an easy thing to do. But he courageously faced the possible consequences. And I envy him for doing such a courageous act. How about me? I am still a coward. Yes, I have accepted my being gay. But being gay in the open is different. I envy him. And may he be truly blessed for doing such. And,
Fourth, I thought “Tama na ang isa.” I am sorry that I felt and thought this way, as if it is a crime or a sin to be gay. It is a product of my Catholic upbringing. Tama nang ako na lang sa barkada. But who am I to dictate what can happen? I could not even come out just like the way he did! I am only human who do not have the mystical or even the heavenly powers to stop everything. And only in realizing I am not a god, have I accepted him for what he is (And I hope he would accept me, too.). After all, my friends in the net have accepted me for what I am. And soon, I hope I have someone, whom I really grew up with as a person back in college and whom I personally know, who could accept me as a gay father and gay husband.
So, am I coming out?
You might also ask this question. In my past article about Losing and Winning, I mentioned about Paul-the-Sage (Oh, by the way, I just realized, he should be called “John-the-Sage” – blame it to my poor memory). One time he asked me if it is okay if he could just come out and tell his ex-girlfriend (who has remained his friend), that he is gay.
My answer to his and my own question is NO. There is so much at stake—my family, my friends, my colleagues, my career, and a whole lot more. I am not ready yet to face the consequences the way my college buddy did. In the process of coming out, I would definitely benefit from it, personally. Though I hate to say this, because not all gay people think this way—there are so many people who are very close to me, who would be hurt in the process. Call it self-sacrificing or even the more negative “martyr” but it is true, isn’t it? Now, how I wished I have not flirted and got married 10 years ago, and came out instead. But I am not saying I am not happy with my marriage. It’s just that the majority of the society, just like my family and friends, and colleagues, is not yet ready to accept who I have become.
Is this cowardice? In a sense, yes. On the other hand, I believe I am still fearless—for keeping my family intact. The mere fact that I have been able to restrain myself so many times is something I am proud of. And the best of it all, is having come to terms with myself, which was the tallest obstacle I had to hurdle.
But the biggest hurdle we have yet to tackle is the fact there are closeted gays because there is still the vast majority of people whose minds are tightly closeted from the sub-culture of gay people. But I would not tackle this issue politically. And I just want to engross for a while in my personal reflections—focusing on just me.
Being “out” is a choice. And it is not my choice to come out. Only time will tell. But at this point, it is my choice to see my kids grow up just like the way my parents have brought me out in this world of straight men and women.
It would definitely be an agony living this way, but the beauty lies in being a closet gay itself. You are gay but you aren’t. And it would largely depend on how one can creatively live in and enjoy both worlds