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LGBTQ Voices

Coming Out to My Family as a Chinese-American Man

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A young Asian-American man wearing glasses, wearing a blue collared shirt, standing in front of an orange background.
Brooklyn, NY

I am a gay Chinese-American man born in the Big Apple, and I came out when I was 14-years-old. The year was 2007, I lived near JFK airport, and I went to a specialized progressive high school in Tribeca.

All my friends were new friends, and they were the first people that I came out to. I was auspicious in that I attended a school with forward-thinking students. And that I lived in a time where the LGBTQ+ community was beginning to ingratiate with the larger community.

My friends were open to my sexuality. Throughout my years in high school, I was never harassed for being openly gay. But I understand that for many of my gay friends, my norm differed from their norm, affirming that I had lucked out with my friends and peers.

My parents were traditional Chinese folk who firmly believed homosexuality was an egregious affront.

After their divorce, I lived with my mother and her boyfriend. We were a mess, and coming out only exacerbated our relationship.

I ended up being kicked out when I was 17, but I don’t attribute it exclusively to my sexuality. My feelings are that while a good parent-child relationship isn’t definitively correlated to acceptance, it’s a good place to start for coming to an understanding.

I also have two older half-brothers who are a decade older. Initially, hesitant to accept that I was gay, (opting to declare it a phase), they have come around to the reality. They grew up in a different time with a different circle of friends. So, they’re trying to tread lightly while getting to know me better and understand how I stand as a gay man.

At the end of the day, I’m able to say that I feel very fortunate that I have people who are accepting of my sexuality. Not every LGBTQ+ community member has that feeling of acceptance. Therefore, I feel obligated to appreciate that part of my life.

Though my sexuality if part of my identity, there is a lot more to who I am. As much as I am a gay man, I want people to know that I’m also a writer. A man of science and religion, a linguist who speaks five languages, a radiation therapy student, and many other things that shape my identity.

I encourage my friends to view the LGBTQ+ community as what they are: people.

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