Tag Archives: homosexuality

MODERN GAY PERSPECTIVE: COMING OUT IN IRAQ

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Coming out of the closet can be one of the hardest and most daunting moments in the life of a GLBTI person. Not knowing how your family and friends are going to react, coupled with the fear and vulnerability that comes with revealing something so personal and intimate can delay or even prevent a person from ever revealing their true self. While there is no right or wrong way to come out or a full proof step-by-step guide, sharing our stories can help others in similar positions. Here is a short story from Amir*, a young gay man from Iraq who asked to use this blog as a platform to share his experience.

This is my story. My mother and father broke-up when I was a child. I have always felt that I’m different and not like other boys. When I went to school I was always the weak boy and all the other boys called me a “fag” or a “girly boy”. My mom and my brother would say similar things. My brother used to hit me all the time, called me a “fag” and told me that I should be with girls. After a few years someone tried to rape me but I managed to stop him. When I told my mom about what happened she said, “you are the reason (it happened), you are the problem and I am so ashamed because of you”. I have always hid the pain inside of me. When I walked down the streets and heard boys calling me a fag, I smiled as if I hadn’t heard anything but I was constantly thinking about killing myself. My two best friends could always tell that I was different and when I told them that I was gay they were very supportive. I always thank God for them. I love them so much. After a few years I fell in love with a boy from my school but I didn’t tell anyone. Then I decided to come out to my family. I knew that I was probably not ready but I had had enough of the constant fear inside of me. I told my sister first. She wasn’t that surprised and she told me that I was too young to know what I like. Then I came out to my whole family. My mom said very horrible words to me and so I decided to kill myself. Luckily my two best friends called me and reassured me that death was not worth it and that there was still a lot of happiness waiting for me. I’ve always told my family that I will leave them one day and that I will live my life in happiness. Despite everything, I’m so happy now and coming out was the best thing I have ever done in my life. Now I’m waiting for my rainbow to shine.

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the author

To share your story please contact josh@joshvansant.com.

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RULE NO.7: GAY MARRIAGE ISN’T EVERYTHING

Gay Marriage

Gay marriage should be legal. Period. But in the struggle for equality it’s important not to lose sight of the blessings we’ve been afforded as gay men. 

When I was coming to terms with my sexuality I often wondered if there were any benefits to being gay as opposed to being straight. Sure, some might argue that sex is easier to come by or that gay men don’t have children so they have more money for themselves but neither one of these arguments convinced me. What finally helped me accept that being gay wasn’t all that bad was the realisation that society’s plan for what constituted a normal life did not apply to me. All around me, people were expected to date, go to college, find someone to marry, commit to a career, have children, buy a house, either stay married or divorce, retire and then die. This expectation of life was terrifying to me as I wanted to travel and meet new people and live in different cities and explore and have various sexual experiences. So when I realised that being gay was the key that unlocked me from the metaphorical cell of expectations, I began to look at my homosexuality in a whole new light. I could make up new rules for the way I wanted to live life, discover what really makes me happy not what I’m told will make me happy. All of a sudden life seemed like an exciting blank canvas on which I could paint my own picture with all the colours of the rainbow.

To this day, I thank God (or the universe or whatever you want to call it) for making me gay. This is the greatest blessing I have been given; permission to re-evaluate what is truly important to my happiness.  That might be kids and marriage and a mortgage but if those things do happen in the future then at least I know that I chose them for myself.

So what does this have to do with gay marriage? While I  support the fight for equality and equal rights 100%, I think it’ important not to lose the uniqueness that is intrinsically linked to being gay. Of course I want the same legal recognition as my heterosexual friends but I don’t necessarily want my life to look like theirs. If seen positively, being gay is so very special in that it allows us to look at the world and ask “how do I fit in here? Where is my place?”. When the ultimate goal for gays becomes to find a partner, marry and blend into society so that people don’t think we’re so different anymore, then I think we’ve missed the point. Furthermore, looking at the rates of divorce and depression, I would argue that marriage as it exists today isn’t actually an institution that I would like to be part of.

If you fight for gay marriage because you believe in legal equality for all then I salute you. However, the moment we try too hard to fit back into the “normal” mold that society has created or concentrate too much on blending in,  we neglect the blessings that we were so fortunate to have been afforded when we were born gay.

Photo Credit: “Viva Las Vegas” by Matthias Vriens McGrath

Do you believe that homosexuality is a blessing?

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