Write Minds.Write Matters
A monthly column by Alexis of her thoughts on things that matters to her. It may be funny, serious, both, neither or some combinations of those. "My thoughts are my own - the only thing I really own."
Follow her on Instagram (@alex.is_imm).
"What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, it's curved like a road through mountains. " ~ Tennessee Williams
[ Translated Chinese version here 中文翻譯在此 ]
“ A man marrying a man is ludicrous! ”
How would you feel when you heard this comment?
When I heard that statement being made, my heart sank. And broke. And ached. A sudden sadness came over me. I was speechless. Because such strong homophobic words came from my father. The person who never said we can’t do certain things just because we are girls. The person who sold his house to send his daughters overseas. The person who ignored the typical Chinese chauvinistic view of valuing daughters less than sons. The person who never pressured me to conform to societal norms. Maybe that’s why it was so devastating. I have not come out to my family. Not yet. And at that moment, I realized I was right to hide my sexuality from him and my immediate family.
Parents can’t help but worry about their children. As a single, middle-aged woman, I gave them plenty of reasons to be worried about me. They are worried about me not having a career. They are worried about me being lonely and miserable as I am far away from my immediate and extended family. They are worried about me not being married and not having anyone to take care of me when I’m old. They are worried about me growing old and dying alone. Not telling them about my sexuality is just my way of not giving them another reason to worry about me. But, if I am being 100% truthful, I simply do not want to give them another reason to be disappointed with me.
Since leaving home when I was twenty, I usually go home to my family once a year during Chinese New Year for just a week or two, sometimes only a couple of days.. I do not want to spend those precious time arguing or justifying my sexuality. I continue to allow them to think that I’m not interested in marriage or relationships. I continue to let them have the impression that I am weird. Just not gay.
Maybe some would despise me for (still) living a lie. I admit that I am. Maybe some would reproach me for not speaking out in defense of our normalcy. I fully accept such denouncement. Maybe some would shun me for being a hypocrite. I would not be offended. Maybe some would call me a coward for not owning my sexuality. I have no defense for that. But do trust me when I said that I would love nothing more than to be out and proud. Yet these are some of the things I need to deal with on my own, in my own way and at my own pace. I am not trying to defend myself for my decision. This is how I live my life, compartmentalizing it into separate and distinct pieces. And the queer part of me only comes through in Taiwan and among my queer “family” .
We are all products of our upbringing and environment. I am still trying hard to shed all the default emotional reactions and behaviors that had been instilled in me during my formative years. Thus I am truly grateful for the LGBTQ+ “family” that I’ve found in Taipei. It is my personal, selfish hope that the normalization of same-sex marriage in Taiwan will eventually show the rest of Asia that there’s nothing weird, ludicrous or wrong for allowing two persons who are in love to get married, regardless of their gender. We deserve the same freedom to love and marry the person we love. We may be different but we are the same.
Love should not be hidden away. Love should not be confined by barriers put up by society. Love should not be deemed as a crime. Love is universal. Love is beautiful. Love is a promise. Love is a human right. Love is love.
And someday, I hope we can get there. .
(Editor: Zac.) (Photo from StockSnap; Column graphic: modified from www.pngtree.com)