i don't think it's fair to say that i've always been gay, but in retrospect: holy shit i've been gay for a long, long time. while i'm proud of myself for coming to terms with a lot of different aspects of my identity, i'm angry at how long it took me to get to this level of comfort with myself. growing up, there was no one 'like me' around me. the only gay people i knew were caricatures on tv, or skinny white 'alternative' girls on the internet. it wasn't until the end of high school i was introduced to margaret cho- a queer asian-american woman who struggled with the same stuff as me: the gap between immigrant children and their parents, the culture shock, body image, being an outsider in all the places you're supposed to fit in, all of it. it meant a lot to me that there was someone that experienced the same stuff i did. it wasn't until i started university that i found anyone with really similar, meaningful interests as me, and that wasn't even because of university. it was thanks to the internet that i met some of my now closest and dearest friends, queer kids from all different backgrounds that i could not have made it this far without.
while i couldn't be happier with who i am and where i am today, especially growing up in a household where sexuality, let alone homosexuality was barely ever discussed or acknowledged, i am furious. i'm furious that there was no visible, tangible queer representation for us, and that most representation was usually mockery. the only role model i had growing up for me was mulan, really, and she wasn't even korean. but beggars can't be choosers, right? sure, there's been some progress. there are a lot more gay people on tv, sure. but where are the lesbians? where are the women of color, the trans people of color, where's my fun tv show about a group of queer friends that get up to shenanigans and discover meaningful relationships? i'm angry. i'm tired of seeing the same 5 different hetero white people do the same things over and over again. i want our stories to be told, and not from the clumsy hands of some straight white middle class american dude that "knew some lesbians in college and has a chinese friend." i'm not here for that anymore.
despite my parent's absolute refusal to talk about gay people: here i am, raised by the two most traditional korean parents that have ever walked the earth. here i am. despite the media's refusal to acknowledge my community and our stories, here we are. despite everything, i'm still here. and i want to keep being who i am.
i'm terrified about the day that i might have to tell my parents that i am, despite their best efforts, gay. i want to tell them because it's an important part of who i am and i don't want to shut them out of that part of my life. i get sweaty thinking about having to explain that the fact that i'm bisexual doesn't make me any less attracted to the person i'm currently with. i still haven't come out to one of my oldest childhood friends because i'm scared of how she might react. i'm scared because despite my absolute conviction of who i am, i can't just shake off the expectations my family raised me to have.
i've been wanting to talk about this for a long time. it's been on my mind since ellen page came out, since it made me realize how i would be completely fine with coming out to a random group of people but not to my own parents. isn't that fucked up? it's fucked up being raised the way i was because i can't exactly bring myself to resent my parents for all the shit they've taught me that i had to unlearn over years and years and years. i've rejected so many things about myself for so long that now i want to be everything at once. i've had so much internalized misogyny and biphobia and misdirected anger that i'm now just learning to allow myself to just be.
growing up, i think i tended to define myself by the things that i wasn't. i'm not like those other girls, i'm not like those asians, i'm not like that. and i hate that it was the way it was. i can't help but think that if someone was there to reassure that the things i was wasn't something bad, or something to be ashamed of, maybe it wouldn't have taken me so long to climb out of this pit. i wish i could go comfort my younger self somehow, tell her that i'm going to meet so, so many amazing people and do incredible things and that things aren't going to be doom and gloom forever. i'd like to think she'd be proud of who she grew up to be. maybe a little baffled, but still proud. yeah.