I am still 19 in age, have faced some difficulties and also some sweet memories because of being gay. Let me relate you my own experience and belief of what it means to be free, freedom of living your own life as you are and as you wish.
For me, it was not that easy to believe my sexual orientation when I first got the feeling of love towards a guy. But after few years, now I am openly gay and pass through the real life of me, which someone may find obscene and queer.
When I was in grade 7, I firstly found out that I am in to guys. I didn’t wanna be ill-treated or being isolated by informing this even to my family as I had a sound knowledge of what society say about this. I knew my respectful family would never tolerate this. Things were changed bit by bit after I found out that homosexuality is a natural phenomena and no longer considered as a mental disorder or something abnormal. This lead me up to few steps forward and I started surfing internet, logging to medical sites and even to some …….. as well. I could have a clear mind of what I was going through and I was just finding ways of informing my parents how it really feels like. At last I met this very good friend Ian (not his real name) who was openly gay and was spending this life so happily with his family. He inspired me in many ways by telling his own story, how he was treated when he came out and how he was accepted by the family and friends.
I can’t remember the date and time, but I can surely say that I was only 17 years when I decided to tell my parents about me and it worked soon. I told this to my uncle (husband of my mum’s sister). He was always like a dad for me every time I need a help and he was playing a major role in my life as I used to tell him all my problems, even sometimes I do not share with my parents.
He shocked after hearing that I am gay and he was really disappointed. However he was not upset with me. He wanted me to go for a psychiatrist and he thought this could be fixed. I didn’t break away. I knew what would happen if they took me to a doctor. I was taken to Doctor Kapila Ranasinghe. I was flurry and was bearable to listen what he would say. Instinctively doctor could understand I was nervous that time. Doctor talked to me personally and he explained all the things about what this sexual orientation and gender identity is. He did repeat to my parents as well. He pointed out one by one and I could see my mum’s face, gloomy and mourning, I was helpless. I didn’t choose it. For the first time in my life, I felt it….I felt my life is obstructive. I was thinking to myself, what kind of a life I will have ….Will it be always disturbed…..? Will it be shameful…..?
I slipped away from there, crying and whimpering.
It was not that respond I was expecting when we came back home. He was much more successful than I thought. My parents didn’t want me to for another doctor of a kind of therapy. I knew they loved me. Although I am the only child for them, they could understand it. Sometimes they may have thought that I would be changed when I grow little older. Now they are ok with me. I know they do not like it. But it was my dad who let me go to the kite festival and it was my mum who bought some gay themed novels for me when I asked her.
Sometimes I tell my mum about the guys I am interested in. I see her face getting distressed. I wanna make the thing familiar to them. I know it hurts them. But I tell to myself that someday they will feel not that sensation of collapsing their dreams, dreams of a daughter in law, dreams of a family for their only son and the hardest, and grandchildren. I know they are not comfortable talking about my orientation. But I can do nothing but just to draw attention on that. Toleration is so sensational. Now it has been 2 years since I came out. Contentment of at least, being honest to my loved once have always kept me strong and straight forward.
Now I think they have enough knowledge and sensible heart to see this as normal. I have few friends who are openly gay and most of them live with their parents even now. I have achieved a goal in my life. I am cheerful because I know I have that backbone and I sometimes sense that my lifestyle has always been a blessing for me. I am proud of it.
Now, even in this country of the third world, most people are educated and most of them are really supportable. In facebook, I am a notorious character. Sometimes I can be called a reporter and sometimes a scavenger exactly. I have more than 1500 friends in FB including my relations and school guys as well. When I first posted my status “I am gay”, I saw my wall, full of comments and for the first time I got 5o more than 50 messages in a one day. Most of friend I thought whom would not be comfortable with that, had commented on me in a very positive manner towards my orientation. There were very few people who asked if I am crazy. Now happily accepting what I did and with more blessings I am in to activities.
World has been changed and Sri Lankan culture may not be a disturbance at all if we have strength to fight against these obstacles and if we really going to put an effort on it. The reason why I wrote my story to you is just I want people those who hide themselves, to come out and enjoy the freedom of being a respectable human. We need people if we want to do a change. Just like in an election, for a change we must have votes. So activists are there to guide people. But they need votes and that is people, people who want their freedom. If there are no people who want to remove 365 A from the book, then what is the need of those activists…….The most important fact I see here is, the situation in Sri Lanka is very different comparing with other countries. They want their activists (their representatives) to do all the stuff for them and make the land safer to all. Personally I have some criticisms about some activists too. But they can do nothing if the community is not going to get together and help them.
I find this “coming out” is so important to our society, I am openly gay and I am proud to tell others what I am and I love my country, my religion and my people. So what is the point of hiding myself from them and suffers. I believe that if you come out to the people who need you and love you, they will not directly but in course of time, will accept you. Thing I have to tell you at last is give them time. Provide them books which explain about gayness and what causes it. Make the thing speakable in your family. Find some romantic gay movies and watch them together with your family. These are some very good ways I can mention.
At last, you are a part of the land. You have to serve the nation. Your people need you. This land needs you. Whether you are gay or straight, this world needs you. That is why you are born here as a man. Do not let yourself low-spirited because of your orientation. There are many people just like you in everywhere in the world. Try to make a difference by accepting yourself first. Then tell it to the loves ones those who are connected with your life. I am sure you will never be disappointed. Your encouragement may help few others to come out as well. Do your part right now. I am sure if you do, your life will be happier, our community will be stronger. Play your part and someday, years from now, you may remember it as the moment when you see our people having their freedom and when your story has been a path for that.