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Notes from a closeted lesbian

Contributing writer Cheska Robles muses on the difficulty of coming out to family members, even if – in idea – they should be the people one should tell about one’s identity first. “I barely talked about my identity to my parents, which is sad actually because they are family. They should be the people you normally talk to about these kinds of things. It’s like one of your milestones in life,” she says.

How do you come out to your parents? Honestly, I still have no idea how to do that. I’m unfortunately still in the closet to my parents. For some odd reason, it seems so difficult to come out to family, especially to your parents.

But I’m probably not the only person who’s going through this. Although it makes me wonder why it seems difficult to talk to your family about it, even if it’s easier to tell other people that you’re gay.

Usually the first person who you would openly tell you’re gay is a friend. It never seems to be a family member. I remember the first person I talked to about this topic was actually a close friend of mine. I barely talked about my identity to my parents, which is sad actually because they are family. They should be the people you normally talk to about these kinds of things. It’s like one of your milestones in life.

My gay guy friend, who only recently came out, told me first that he thinks he’s gay; he did not tell his family. I’m also the only person he talked to about his sexual orientation. It seems like we are so afraid to tell our parents because of what they might say. Whenever I try to open up this topic to my family, they say all these negative things about being gay, how it is not right, how it’s “nakakahawa” (contagious), and all that.

I also remember that time my grandmother and I talked about gays, and she kept on telling me that it’s not right, gay marriage is wrong, it’s “nakakahawa”.  She told me that if I would be around “tibos” (lesbians), I’d end up as one. This in fact is not true; you can’t catch gayness. It’s not a disease or anything that can be passed on to someone. Being gay is something you are born with.

I also remember her saying that there are gay guys who “turned their life around because they knew being gay was wrong.” Meaning the gay guy married and had kids.

I myself know of gay guys living in a “straight” world, and in my opinion, these gays were probably discriminated or they may have received negative reactions about who they are, which is why they chose to live a “straight” life.

I remember hearing this topic one morning on the radio, about how it’s very hard to be a gay guy living a “straight” life because it you can’t express yourself and do what you really love to do. I think it is quite true – this inability to express who you really are – if you’re a gay guy and you’re living a “straight” life because you have this fear that you’ll be rejected by your peers, your family or society.

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But for those who choose to do so, it seems like you’re rejecting yourself more, which I think is the worst rejection there is. It’s as if you hate yourself for being gay, and that is why you live a “straight” life, which is a lie that you may end up believing as true.

Same goes for being in the closet. Sometimes it’s really hard to show your family that you’re gay. When you’re on a date with your significant other, you have to hide. You have to make sure that when you guys go out, it’s in a place where you’re sure you won’t see anyone who could possibly tell your parents you’re holding hands with your significant other. Or if you do decide to go to a place where there are people you know and can possibly tell your parents, you have to make sure you don’t look like a couple.

I know how it feels. I’m not really happy about it. And yet, even with that recognition, it still gets really scary at times when you’re out dating. Sometimes, instead of enjoying the company of your significant other, you tend to worry that someone might see you.

At malls, we tend to see a lot of straight couples holding hands, kissing, and all that public display of affection. But do we see any gay couple doing those? Maybe holding hands since it’s more subtle. How about kissing? A gay guy kissing his boyfriend on the cheek, or a lesbian kissing her girlfriend on the cheek? Not really. You don’t really see that since, for most people, it is not okay. But if it were a straight couple, some would even say that it’s cute.

I bought this book entitled “God and the Gay Christian” by Matthew Vines. I tried to read it while I was waiting for my turn at the dentist, and I had this fear that I would be judged by the people around me because the book had the word “gay” on the title. I actually tried to hide the cover of the book as I was reading it. It’s really sad that I still have that fear of being judged by people I don’t even know because I’m gay.

Even at public places when I’m with my girlfriend, sometimes there’s that thought in my head that people around me are judging us because we’re holding hands. And that’s even if holding hands is but subtle gesture of expressing love.

Anna Franchesca Robles (you may call her Cheska) is currently taking up Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines. She has this passion to make changes by inspiring people with her experiences. She is an LGBT advocate and staunchly supports gender equality.


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