Monday, September 22, 2003

Out Bound

This morning I got a text message from a friend, telling me of his “coming out” tale, an incident that happened yesterday at a family gathering, where conversation placed him uncomfortably between the devil and the deep blue. Left with no choice, he outed himself before everyone, admitting his homosexuality and being in a relationship for the past five+ years.

Among discreet homosexuals, coming out is a fave topic, that either sweet or bitter moment when a young man buckles up, tightens nerves, and hopes for the best in telling a preselected soul in so many words that he’s gay. Or, if misfortune breathes, bears the blow of being forced to spit out the truth.

Coming out is still difficult because circumstances and consequences are as diverse as Top 40 ditties. There are those who have been scorned and threatened and there are those who have been categorically tolerated beneath a guise of acceptance. A few lucky ones have been lovingly embraced, and even fewer have been encouraged and supported.

While there is a perceptively ‘growing’ number of openly homosexual men in the metropolis’ hipper venues like Malate and Glorietta (which fuels the joke: ba’t dumadami ang mga bakla, e di naman sila nanganganak?), there are far more who stay in the shadows, preferring the anonymity afforded by darkness.

My dad had more than enough clues, but I never told him about my preference even after he had passed on. His main concern was to have his children finish university, land good jobs, help around the house, and eventually lead independent and responsible lives. My mom had to face an outright confession during a time when I was emotionally distraught. While she had her reservations about me back then, we’ve managed a stronger bond now.

I’ve been fortunate, but only marginally so. I’ve been blessed with some intelligence, some talent, some compassion, some diligence, and parents who don’t consider sexuality choices as a life-threatening issue. As a precaution, however, I persevered – though more unconsciously than otherwise -- in school and in work, with the objective of buffering the impact of any major revelation I choose to make. For a lot of homosexuals, especially those who do not benefit from a trust fund or convenient parental aid, working doubly hard and going for the goal has been an important ace-of-spades in their hand of jokers.

This is the first time I've ever touched the sexuality topic here, and I assure you it won't happen often if at all. It's an important facet of my persona, but it's mostly irrelevant to what I do.

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