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Coming out stories

With an increasing acceptance towards the LGBT community, more Singaporeans are coming out of the closet. However, as inclusive as we’d like to think we are as a society, divulging our sexualities to close friends and family is another issue altogether.

While some Asian parents adopt an open mind toward their children’s sexual orientations, others are less accepting.

However, despite the possible backlash, these 8 brave Singaporean girls chose to share their coming out stories.

*Names were changed to protect identities

I told them I really, really liked my best friend

I felt attracted to my best friend in a romantic way when I was 16. Initially, I thought it was just a phase because it didn’t seem ‘right’ to be in love with someone of the same gender. But as years passed, I realised I was indeed lesbian.

I told my best friend how I felt, which was a mistake, as it eventually made us fall out of our friendship.

When my parents found me crying alone after the ‘friendship breakup’, I confessed that I really, really liked my best friend. I think from then on, they read between the lines and figured what I meant.

They’re now accepting of my sexuality and even describes my girlfriend as their “other daughter”.
June, 20

They discovered before I came out

At first, my parents were unsuspecting of my relationship because they thought my girlfriend was just a friend. In fact, she stayed over at my place so often that they started treating her like family.

But slowly, they began to realise I was treating her too affectionately for us to be ‘just friends’.
After one and a half years of dating, I decided to come clean.

I planned on telling them during CNY until I overheard my mother talking to my aunts about how I was seeing a girl, and that she was happy with whoever I chose to be with.

Having grown up in a traditional Asian family, I never verbally confessed that I was a lesbian. However, I’m glad they’ve accepted me just the way I am without any questions asked.
Peggy, 28

My mother left me on ‘blue tick’

I was exposed to the LGBT+ community during my time abroad. They helped me understand my feelings of being attracted to both genders, and it was liberating for me to finally come out to myself.

Following my sexual awakening, I texted my mother a long paragraph about how I felt being bisexual. However, I was disappointed when she read my message and never replied.

When she responded two weeks later, she wasn’t supportive and even threatened to pull me out of university.

After I graduated and came home, we never once spoke about the message. I accepted my parents’ disappointment regarding my sexuality but I’m praying they’ll come around eventually.
Kylie, 23

They said I was a disgrace

Following a friend’s advice, I decided to embrace who I was instead of trying to define myself under a certain label. I cut my hair short and began dating women as I felt more attracted to them.

But one day, my parents caught me holding hands with a girl. They raged in anger and insisted we break up. They even said I was a “disgrace to the family”.

Lost and helpless, I turned to my sister for support but she offered no comfort either. In a moment of desperation and loneliness, I even contemplated suicide.

Although they haven’t accepted my sexuality, I still hope they would.
Lyn, 23

I lied about being bisexual although I knew I was lesbian

When I first came out, I told my parents I was bisexual although deep down I knew I was lesbian.

As traditional as they are, they didn’t understand what non-normative sexuality meant, so I lied that I was attracted to both genders. They were surprised but took the news calmly when I emphasised that I was also attracted to men.

I felt dishonest but I figured that was the only way for them to accept that I was different—by giving them hope that I could marry a guy one day.

My hope is to come out again, and be completely honest about who I am.
YB, 22

They still think it’s a ‘phase’

My parents didn’t mind that I grew up like a tomboy, so I assumed they were fine with me coming out as a bisexual.

But when I told them I was dating a girl, they reacted badly. Like most queer couples, we were forced to break up, and my mother even threatened to report us to the police.

Our relationship turned rocky and we eventually broke up. My parents don’t harp on me anymore because I’m dating a guy now but they often refer to my ex as a ‘phase’ I was going through.

It’s hard to get them to understand that sexuality isn’t a phase. I’ll always identify as a bisexual, and it’s unfair that they only accept me when I’m dating the ‘correct gender’.
Nat, 25

My dad started beating me

We’re a traditional Indian family and I struggled to come out to them because I was afraid of what they thought.

The first time I came clean with my sister, she promised to keep it a secret. But during a heated family argument, she told my parents I was dating another woman and my drunk father raged. He started beating me as my mother and sister stood by and encouraged him.

I was punched, kicked and even had my head banged against a wall until I concussed on the floor. I ran away from home the next day and never returned.
Pat, 24

They thought my “tomboy look” was just “trendy”

Initially, I didn’t believe in the outdated concept of ‘coming out’. I found it strange that queer people were expected to ‘announce’ their sexuality.

It was obvious to my friends and family that I was dating a woman. My girlfriend stayed over often and we even held hands in public.

However, my parents would make snarky remarks in front of us about how I should be getting a boyfriend. They’d also say if I didn’t start growing my hair out, I’d never attract any men.

Turns out, they assumed all along that I was just good friends with my partner, and that my “tomboy look” was just “trendy”.

Eventually, I came out to clear the misunderstanding about who I was. They were happy for me, but more importantly, I felt empowered to be able to own my sexuality.
Eve, 21

Expressing Your Sexuality

Whether you’re male, female, or in-between, expressing and owning your sexuality is a given right. After all, who are we to decide who people are allowed to love?