I’m not proud of being gay. Because I don’t think it makes sense to be proud of being gay.
You can only be proud of the things you put work in. If you have to work for it. If you have to work at it. I didn’t do anything to be gay. No work involved. I was born gay. So, it’s not something to be proud of. But not being proud of it does not mean I am ashamed of it. I’m neither proud nor ashamed of being gay. I just am.
The same thing with being Malay. I was born Malay. No work involved. So no sense in being proud to be Malay. But not being proud of it does not mean I am ashamed of it. I’m neither proud nor ashamed of being Malay. I just am.
With being Muslim, however, it’s a different thing. Because I have to put work in to ‘stay Muslim’. Examples of this ‘work’, or should I say effort: I pray, and I fast during Ramadan, and I read the holy Qur’an to dedicate the holy Yaasiin verses to my late parents. I (try to remember to always) treat people with respect and kindness, whatever their religion or race. Things like that. That’s effort put in. So yes, I can be proud of being a Muslim, because it’s something I work at.
Okay, now what about ‘pride‘ being connected to ’embracing’ who I am. Do I ’embrace’ the fact that I’m gay? The word ‘embrace‘ in this context; I guess it means: do I celebrate and rejoice in being gay?
Do I run down a hill screaming ‘I’m gay!! I’m gay!!’ to the sounds of ‘the hiiiillssss… are aliiiive…. with the sound of muusssiiiiiiccc….‘ No. Do I join gay parades overseas? No. Am I a member of gay associations? No. Do I make it a point to attend gay events? No. Although I’m open to those things anytime in the future, why not. (Except the running down a hill screaming part). When I can make the time. When I want to. If the desire and interest develop into being, why not. But I don’t consider those things necessary. It would be nice, but not necessary.
I don’t ‘celebrate’ my being gay. I’m not sure…? But if I inspect this ‘not sure’ further, I’ll come back to ‘I don’t’. So let’s keep it simple and honest: I do not celebrate and rejoice in being gay. But does this mean I am ashamed of being gay? Nope. Because if I am, I would have done something to try and change things. I would have dated women. Convince myself I can ‘turn straight’. Maybe go on to marry one of the women. Convince myself sex with her is okay. Persuade myself to make love to her, say, once a fortnight (would monthly or quarterly still be considered reasonable?). Have kids with her. Generally, live life as a straight man, regardless of whether I lead a double life behind my wife and kids by sleeping with men on the side. But, still calling it life as a straight man.
Different people live differently. Make different choices.
If I’m ashamed of being gay, I would probably be living a lie. But I’m not. I’m spending my life with the man I love. God willing, I will be fortunate enough to have him by my side the rest of my life. Even if this means people, strangers or otherwise, may sometimes look at me just a little bit differently. A subtle shake of the head, dramatically slow and sad. Or a knowing glint in their eyes. A thin smile. In disapproval? In approval, even? ahhh… who cares.
I am what God made me. I am male, Muslim, gay, Malay, Singaporean. Lol.
May God give me the strength to continue to always be honest with myself. Amin!