So Help Them, God

Gays and lesbians in Singapore can’t even really live in the open and yet, there are people who want us to believe that AWARE is going around schools promoting same-sex lifestyle?

When my friend’s parents discovered that he is gay, they flipped, and then took things into their own hands.

First, they gathered all the male species in the family, sat them down, and treated them to a porno marathon. Needless to say, the flicks were all heterosexual.

When that didn’t work, his father drove him to the red light district, with the plan of getting a few hookers to straighten him up.

Shortly after, my friend attempted suicide.

While he survived, the episode left a deep scar in his life.

Unfortunately, this dear friend of mine and his ignorant parents did not have the privilege of knowing enlightened and educated individuals who have “discovered” the cause of homosexual behavior.

According to a self-anointed mentor, “‘They are in pain. And very often from families where you have abusive fathers, they do things with their daughters and the daughters revolt, rebel against society.”

Following this train of thought, I was wondering if my friend was abused by his mother, resulting in him not having any feeling for women.

The answer, fortunately for most of us, is no.

As far as I know, my friend’s parents have yet to come to term with his orientation. They probably doubted, from time to time, if they had been good parents, if they had done something wrong themselves, to deserve the retribution of having a gay son.

But I doubt, that they have ever entertained the idea of not loving him.

Another friend of mine has it a little easier with his family.

When his beloved mother, who I am very sure did not abuse him, realized that Brokeback Mountain is a movie about two gay lovers, she got hold of a copy and scrutinized it from start to finish.

She told my friend, “At least now I know how you do it.”

A few years ago, I had this idea of doing a photography project called Happy Families – a series of portraits and interviews with gay and lesbian couples in Singapore.

To make sure that I don’t end up with people who just wanted me to take free pictures, I told friends that I only want to feature people in long-term relationships, and they asked, “How long?”

I found, in the end, a few that are in relationship longer than most heterosexual couples.

One has been together for 15, and another just celebrated their 25th.

Like the other good people I know, they honor their respective “in-laws” as if they are their own parents, and they hold respectable jobs in respectable organizations.

Gays and lesbians in Singapore can’t even really live in the open and yet, there are people who want us to believe that AWARE is going around schools promoting same-sex lifestyle? And they actually expect me to believe that the Ministry of Education has already allowed such progressive sex education in 30 schools?

There is a big difference between advocating tolerance, acceptance, understanding; and converting or coercing non-practitioners into something they don’t actually believe in.

These allegations are easily verifiable, and in this case, easily refuted.

Unfortunately, my friends will have to keep their lifestyle to themselves, and unless a miracle happens, accept their fate until they die.

They are discreet not because they are cowards, but because they know that greater acceptance, in their case is not a given right, but something that will take a lot of time and effort. Because unlike some people, they also don’t believe in forcing their ways.

But the difficulties they face doesn’t mean they love less.

In fact, to be able to continue loving, in such adverse conditions, they, more than us, understand the word more than those who will, in the name of their belief, choose not to accept that while we are different, we can be equal.

So help them, God.

The original blog appeared on my Facebook in 2009.