Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Families and Enemies of Gay People (Last part of Pelangi Pride Talk)

Finally! This is the last segment of my talk.

I started this series of Youtube video by posing the question: "who is standing between me and my big gay heaven?"

The whole purpose of the talk is to share how I found a powerful, useful perspective on how to be gay and fulfill my dreams at the same time. Being dishonest about myself, keeping my secrets from family and friends - these acts contradict my intention of creating works of mass appeal.

In this segment, I hope you can see that blaming anti-gay people for the community's predicament can only go so far, but taking responsibility for our own lives is also a crucial element in moving the conversation forward.

The majority is sitting on the fence and watching. Live your lives as openly as you can, and show them what you can do. The gay community is my community. It has given me love, joy, tears, hope, despair and heartbreaks. Being a part of it has made me a better man, and I only hope that through my actions, I'd contributed to this wonderful community in my own small ways.

My humblest thanks to all of you who visited and gave your time to view the videos. - Otto

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Religion vs Family?

he last segment of my talk at Pelangi Pride is the most important. It holds the Holy Grail to the step forward for the Singaporean LGBT community. It is also the hardest part for many. Harvey Milk spoke of it in America in the 70s, and in the last few decades, gay Americans saw the wisdom of his words: COME OUT OF THE CLOSET - at least to your own family.

Coming out is never easy. It is also tougher for the parents than the gay children. We must remember: our parents went through very turbulent times in their youths. Thanks to decades of reinforced stereotyping, having a gay son or daughter is seen as a big setback. Sometimes, after surviving years of political and social changes, to be confronted by a gay child may seem like one more cruel joke Life plays.

Yet, I firmly believe that if a son or daughter is gay, then his/her parents are meant to deal with the issue. It's not different from, say, when a parent must learn to love an autistic child. Every child is perfect the way he or she was born.

Certain segments of the religious population may make things difficult for gays and lesbians in the public sphere, so I can understand why many people choose not to come out publicly. However, coming out to your own family is absolutely essential if there is ever a hope for local LGBTs. 

At the end of the day, if a religious leader turns family members against each other by his teachings - even if the family member is gay or of other faiths or non-faiths - then he is not a religious leader I respect.  


Monday, May 3, 2010

Giving Thanks - about Lee Kuan Yew, my father and Singapore

This is part 3 of the Pelangi Pride Talk.

"Acknowledgement" is a word we used frequently to say thanks. But the power of such an act (of acknowledging someone) may not be so clear to some of us.

1. What has the person done that deserves acknowledging?
2. What is stopping me from acknowledging that person? 
3. By acknowledging the person (preferably face-to-face), I recognise what is important in my own life (family, friends, society).
4. After acknowledgement, I also get to see what areas of my life that others cannot fulfill for myself.
5. And I get to focus on those areas and recognise that it is up to myself to get what I want.

A gay person may think that, because he/she is gay, he/she is not indebted to the family or society.

"Afterall, my family will never accept me."
"Society rejects me. They owe me for showing me prejudice."

While it is a perfectly valid feeling - being rejected and not accepted - I invite you to think about the years your dad and mom gave to your life. I invite you to consider the education you received, the teachers who patted you on the shoulder and said, "well done." Remember the doctors who made you feel better after you fell ill. Remember those who spoke up in support of you when they need not have to. Remember the laughter and tears shared with an ex-lover.

Did people reject me, or did I even give them a chance?