Protecting and supporting LGBTQ youth is an issue that still needs more attention and visibility within the Asian American community. While the younger generations are increasingly accepting of the LGBTQ community, things are not always the same for our older family members.
For gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans and queer youth, finally being able to come out to their loved ones and being able to openly express themselves and their sexuality is the first step to becoming our most honest selves.
However, having an open conversation about sexuality with those who matter to us most can be terrifying — most members of the LGBTQ community can recall the fears of never being accepted for who they are and who they love. But coming out can also be a moment of catharsis and healing.
This Pride month we asked LGBTQ Asians to share with us their experiences of coming out to their Asian family members. From heartwarming moments to heartbreaking moments, they revealed what it felt like to finally be open with loved ones about their sexual orientation.
“When I came out to my mom as bi, I immediately started sobbing. I grew up in a Christian and conservative-ish family but I think my mom and I had both known for a very long time that I was always a little different. I could always pass as straight but once I started dating my ex-gf it became really hard for me to not share this part of my life with her.
“Obviously there are still moments of tension. For example, she still doesn’t believe that gay people should be allowed to marry because it ruins the sanctity of straight marriages and she doesn’t think I should be as loud (aka proud) or open about my sexuality, especially when I’m in Korea. Most of these beliefs come from a lack of exposure or from a place of concern, but I know that she’ll always love me no matter what and I’m glad that at least now we get to start a dialogue so that she can better understand what it’s like to be gaysian today.”
“When I came out to my parents, I was in my sophomore year. They broke down and they told me how disgusted they were with me. They called me all sorts of names like ‘satan’s child’ and an ‘evil pervert.’ They even suggest conversion therapy. Looking back on it now, I don’t blame their reaction. They’re Jehovah’s Witnesses, Korean, and middle aged. Although they don’t accept me even now, they have learned to respect who I am and that’s all what matters at the end of the day.”
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Yo! For those of us who have ever struggled to find strength and beauty in what made us different yet were brave enough to unapologetically show it loud to the world, let me share with you a series of unforgettable reactions of my loved ones when they found out who I really am. We grew up in a society where everyone assumes you’re straight. For me, coming-out, claiming and owning your sexuality takes courage and is important. In order to help others in the closet, if you are able to share anything to encourage them… do it. Let’s help each other! I really get inspired by listening to all these people on youtube telling their coming-out story. At first I just wanted to film their reaction and then keep the videos private as souvenirs. But since everyone was positive, my creativity and my motivation to inspire people hit me again. So for sure I will be doing a vlogumentary about it (not anytime soon tho). While waiting go subscribe to my yt channel, L.A.’s tripvlog is in the process. Peace! ✌️🏳️🌈 https://www.youtube.com/user/kuyalyoun (Credits to @_qurlpls )
“I got positive reactions from everyone. Btw I filmed all of my loved ones reactions, you can see it on my IG profile.”
“I haven’t come out to my family, but I often think about what I want the conversation to be like. I want to be told that I don’t have to be scared anymore; I want to be told that I am still loved not despite who I am but because of who I am; I want to be told that everything will be okay. Someday, I hope that my dream, a dream of normalcy and understanding, will be realized.”
“I’ve come out to my parents, they know I’m not straight but they haven’t fully accepted it. My parents have started to let me dress the way I want which is a good start, they don’t force me to be super feminine and they’re trying their best. It took a lot of time and effort to explain that I’m pansexual.”
“I accidentally came out to my parents around a year ago. My mom and I were talking and she asked me if I was dating one of my friends, who was a boy (I am a girl). I said no because he wasn’t my type and an onslaught of ‘oh what is your type then?’ occurred. I accidentally mentioned girls and my mom shut down the conversation. We didn’t talk for a whole week. When we did, she tried to tell me that I wasn’t gay and that I was too young to decide. She kept that up for a month or two until I just gave up trying to explain what I was feeling. So currently my address is my closet and I won’t be moving for a while. It really sucked, because I hoped and dreamed that they would be chill with it, but maybe it was just too early.”
“My two older sisters approached me and asked if I liked girls and that’s how I came out to them but when it comes to the rest of my family I never really had a talk with them and told them face to face I’m gay. Most, if not all, of the younger generation in my family know I’m gay. I no longer try to hide the fact that I’m gay and I’m very open about it on social media, so I kind of just assume that my parents and rest of the family already know. I took a trip down to SoCal back in April to visit mine and my partner’s families, so I would hope that they figure it out lol.”
“Legit no response LMAO and now my brother ends up making fun of it (jokingly, no harm) because he used to think that being bi is dating one girl and one boy so now every time I talk to a girl he would say something like ‘are you talking to your crush or just a friend?’ I was a little surprised that my family is okay with me being bi considering that we are a pretty strict Islan-Javanese family.”
“I came out to my sisters as a lesbian and my oldest sister told me that she didn’t believe me when I came out to her and she said lesbians make her uncomfortable, my second sister accepted me and my third sister always knew I was lesbian which wasn’t a surprise to me. That was boring and not interesting at all but my sisters are pretty accepting.”
“I’ve tried to come out twice since my mom is very accepting of my friends’ sexualities and we talk about their relationships often but I’m always told to stop before I can tell them about myself. I’m planning to go through with it next week after finals though!”
“My conservative, catholic parents were low-key mad that I was bi, my mom saying that it was a phase, but in time, people adjust. My parents adjusted. They changed what they could change, their views, and accepted what they couldn’t. My sexuality. My parents finally said that they accept me for whoever I am as I am their son, I remember so vividly crying that night, I felt so blessed to be with them that night, to see that they finally opened their hearts to someone they said 5 years ago that they would never open up to. And that was all because I chose to come out to them. And I don’t and will never regret making that decision.”