Tag Archives: coming out

About Being A Bully & Then Being Bullied

As a 39 year old openly gay man who has been out for twenty over years, I forget how hard it can be growing up being pushed around because you’re a little softer than most other boys. Seeing the recent suicides of Tyler Clementi, Asher Brown, Billy Lucas and Seth Walsh memories from 20+ years ago came back and I recalled the feelings of fear and loneliness that bombarded me when I was their age.

Being a bully at aged 9 I know how amazing the feeling of power is when you lord over a “weaker” individual and rally others against this person. Power often gets to the head and has corrupted many adults so you can imagine its effect on young children who taste it for the first time. Not knowing better, kids look forward to re-experiencing the rush and, often, the unfortunate result is in going too far.

As a kid, it doesn’t really seem that wrong to make a person cry and feel marginalised while you bask in the victory of exercising this “power”. As a kid I didn’t truly understand concepts like low self-esteem, thoughts of suicide or the magnitude of sorrow and regret that comes with a loss of life. As a kid I liked doing what was fun and made me feel good.

Tables get turned in life and several years later I ended up on the receiving end of bullying when I seemed softer and had different interests that other boys. Many nights were spent crying myself to sleep and wishing that I wouldn’t wake up the next morning. I tried slitting my wrists a few times but thankfully the attempts were feeble and I kept on making it through day after day.

Looking back I realise I’m lucky as life sent me down a path that quickly put out those ideas.

I found others like me all through school from age 11. At 12, a guy I liked reciprocated but being nice to me. At 16, I found my way into a school activity group which had positive and strong seniors + alumni who were openly gay so that helped me accept being gay and entertain the idea that there’s life for gay people. The best part was my groups of friends didn’t react much when I came out to them at age 17 and they remain my close friends to this day.

I’m sure you’ve heard this many times these past few weeks. Here’s another 39 year old gay Chinese guy saying it from Southeast Asia. It Gets Better!!

I won’t list down all the wonderful things that have happened in my life as you’ve probably heard from many others. All I want to share is that life as a gay person can get so wonderful you can’t help but smile and thank whatever powers that be for blessing you with such wonder and happiness.

The bullying I did and experienced gave me experiences that I use today in reaching out to people with this website and its coming out stories.

It’s helped me understand a little why kids behave a certain way and know what kind of thoughts would be going through someone’s mind as then contemplate suicide. Just keep these things in mind if you happen to be:

Feeling Crappy When You’re A Kid Happens
Many successful gay people you see went through a period of doubt and darkness in our childhoods but we hung in there and our lives turned around as we found acceptance and unconditional love. In fact, feeling weird, out-of-sorts and like you don’t belong is a normal part of growing up as you search for your place in this world.
The amazing thing is when you find your place in this world among friends and people who love you. That’s when you look forward to the years ahead growing old with them.

Power Is Addictive
Kids who are bullies get caught up in the rush of power they feel. They can say really nasty things they don’t mean just to get a bigger rush. It’s like wanting to repeat having that nice tingly feeling you get when you do something you enjoy. Sometimes people end up doing bad things to others just to get more and more of that feeling.

People Say Nasty Things They Don’t Mean
My mom told me she’d rather not have given birth to me if she knew I would turn out gay when I came out to her. Many years later, we are very close and are each other’s support pillars in life. If I didn’t persist with living, I wouldn’t have the amazing relationship I have with my mom and my father now.

To end this post I’d like to tell my cousin Sean whom I terrorised when we were kids and to the other kids I played with and bullied, I’m really sorry for what I did and I hope to be forgiven.

Coming Out Stories

When I thought about gathering coming out stories I must say I didn’t have any idea about what to expect. I’ve gotten 10 plus contributions so far and they have been wonderful to read. Many gay friends have been wonderful about agreeing to participate in this project and I’m also grateful to them for helping me recruit their friends.

I’ve learnt quite a bit about families, growing up and love through these men and women’s journeys of dealing with feeling different, worrying about rejection, fighting with parents, family who already knew, being thrown out, reconciliation and being accepted.

Thank you to all those who contributed and thank you for visiting to read these special stories.

Stay tuned as I gather more stories to share here.

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First Time: Taking Responsibility

A friend shared with me a situation he got himself into when he met this guy who might be gay seemed attracted to him. He placed himself in situations that allowed this guy to express interest and they finally ended up in bed together. He then found out it was this guy’s first time with another man.

The normal pattern of behaviour followed where he got enamoured with my friend with regular texting and calls to stay in touch. My friend kept his distance and thought it better for things to cool down. He almost thought he might want to cut off all contact.

My point of view is that this is like getting a woman pregnant. One needs to take responsibility for ones action’s.

For me, the responsible thing to do is to help this guy transition into this new world that he’s stepped into with his first intimate encounter with another man. The acknowledgment, tentative explorations, coming out, dealing with and accepting process can be difficult and emotionally overwhelming and I think it would be gentlemanly to take some responsibility to help guide this guy through these sometimes confusing moments. The way a person is helped deal at this point will affect his journey to being a well-balance gay person.

You can turn out bitter and jaded quickly with subsequent negative encounters where you’re treated like a piece of meat or you can meet hecklers who make you turn tail and locked in a closet for fear of discrimination or you can be pretty happy and Ok with things ’cause someone showed you that finding a trusting & supportive network or people who’ll be there for you as you age and mature through life is possible.

Coming Out

It’s been a while since this has happened and I’m heartened that it did again recently.

Someone reached out to me and I was the first person he came out to.

He did so after having followed my blog since 2008 saying he felt like he knew me. I started my website “Out, Loud & Proud”, http://www.geocities.com/jermyn_toh,when I was in my 20s. I hoped sharing my coming-out story would help people in their journey to be comfortable with themselves as gay people. It’s heartening to know my blog continues that.

His concerns for not coming out are discrimintation, social stigma & possibly getting beheaded by family. The stories I shared with him about an openly out friend working as a PA in a ministerial office helped give him a different perspective on discrimination.

All this stems from fear. But I’m gald he took the first step to address his fear and to being a happier person able to come to terms with being himself.

Coming out is a different process for each person and my advice is to take baby steps. To go through this journey of self-discovery, gaining self-confidence & self-empowerment at your own pace.

Being able to be free from hiding behind half-truths is a wonderful & liberating way to live.

Surrounding yourself with people who will reaffirm and love for you for who you really are, all sides of you including the positive and not-so-positive, is the best way to live coz you’ll never live in fear of being alone and uncared for.

This just reinforces the need for people to support Pink Dot.

Everyone should have the freedom to love, regardless of sexual orientation. But fear, ignorance and prejudice often stand in the way.

So I do hope this will make those who are closeted, who happen to read this blog, know that there are many others like you and some of them are taking their first tentative steps to be themselves openly.

For those who support freedom to love, do come for Pink Dot happening this Saturday at Hong Ling Park, 4.30pm.

The Freedom To Love

Pink Dot Q&A
Q: Is this event legit or legal?
A: Yes, of course! We have registered for the event and we shall strive to conduct ourselves appropriately, as set out in National Parks’ terms and conditions. Who says we can’t behave and have fun at the same time!

Q: Is this a gay event?
A: As gay as any event can get at Hong Lim Park. The gathering is a show of support for those who believe in openness and love between people, regardless of their sexual orientation. Anyone can attend – straight and gay.

Q: Singapore is a largely conservative country. How can you organize such an event?
A: We love Singapore. This is our home and we believe that diversity is a cornerstone to our civil society. Like it or not, LGBT individuals exist. We are aware that many people harbour much hatred towards the LGBT community. That is why such events are important. It serves to foster understanding, and through that, there is hope for trust and social cohesion.

Out Loud & Proud

Robin and I were talking about how someone said he first knew of me from my website. This prompted us to visit the site again and read some of the comments left in the guestbook ….

– 08.04.2002
Where are you from? : Singapore
Favourite Fetish : Vincent Ng and Christopher Lee wearing leather 🙂
Comments : Hi, Found your website kinda encouraging, me still a 19yo kid and dealing with my sexual orientation…Confusing sometimes but your site provided some good guidance… 🙂 Well… Good luck and all the best!

– 08/07/99
Gender: Male,I guess!
Where Are You From?: Singapore,Bedok Reservoir
Sexual Preference: HAHAHA!
Favourite Sexual Fantasy: Doing it in a cable car
My Wish for the World: wars die out.
I’m not sure how I actually stumbled into your site,Jerm, but it was nice to read all over again the guy who taught what it was truly like to be a)grown up b)gay c)truly sexually aware of myself.

I wished i had kept all the various guestbooks geocities rolled out and all the comments I got from visitors.

Out, Loud & Proud