Looking back on my life I'm conflicted on the subject of my sexuality. I grew up in a culture where there is only straight, or rather heterosexual, and being completely immersed in a lifestyle that's so tight-knit and feels so everlasting, I didn't ever think to deny such a "fact." With this mentality (and being a go-with-the-flow-don't-question-things-people-pleaser) I had always been explicitly interested in males and males alone. Gay didn't exist. It just wasn't a thing. Up until sometime during the year 2011, I hadn't fully understood nor had I been exposed to what being gay really meant. It sounds like such a cliché but I recall that it was a television show with a gay character that sparked my questioning.
Recently I came to the realization that I often block out things and events. Now, when I say that I block things out I mean it quite literally: uncomfortable or bad things happen and they're to be forever forgotten in the deepest darkest corners of my brain. I've retained an incredibly limited amount of childhood (and really any other) memories.
Anyway, back to questioning and not remembering a vast majority of it. It's all blurry and jumbled. The only thing I know for sure is when I had a sort-of relationship with a girl over the internet (December 2011), it led my old life to be traded for a newly minted mindset. I mean, this lifestyle I grew up in is so deeply ingrained in my mind that I subconsciously don't want to remember the process of me figuring myself out. As I can remember, in some order, I developed an unexpected obsession with a singer/songwriter, became antisocial/socially awkward, got a Tumblr, identified as heteroflexible, secretly identified as pansexual, secretly identified as bisexual, went back to secretly being pansexual, became obsessed with the previously mentioned gay character, met the previously mentioned internet girl, stayed closeted with my first Tumblr account, shut it down, created an anonymous account, grew as a queer/general being, and here I am today.
So following these events I stayed closeted as whatever I am (still unknown) and became completely paranoid that all my actions were of an immensely gay nature. My friends went on a school trip in the spring of this year and I decided I would tell them the day before they were to leave because I thought it would be like one of those situations where they would say something like "finally" and it wouldn't be a huge thing. Then, change of plans: I was to tell them over the phone well before the flight – then another change of plans to avoid real time interaction: I was to tell them before their flight in text form. I overslept and ended up telling them five minutes before their flight left with a joke about me being a serial killer and ending it with "jk I'm not a serial killer but I'm into girls. Defs not hetero but not sure if homo."
Only one of my friends still had her phone on and she had the exact opposite reaction I thought she would have. She replied in all caps saying "ARE YOU TROLLING ME?!?" and had me confirm that I wasn't at least three times, before saying something like "Okay well my flight is leaving. We'll talk when I get back." Eventually, only three out of the five friends I told were confirmed as knowing the situation of my sexuality and were "whatever" about it. To this day, I'm still not sure about whether or not the other two friends got the text or even know about it. I told one of the three to tell them but I don't know if that happened.
Even after coming out (or at least attempting to) to my core group of friends, I still don't feel like I can //fully// be myself around them; it's more like they ignore the fact rather than accept it. It's such a weird concept to wrap my head around because generally, my friends are incredibly gay friendly. But then again they're more gay friendly than lesbian friendly, I guess, because there actually aren't any outwardly lesbian people in the group.
The situation with my core five, who are all Vietnamese but are more gay friendly than their parents, makes me even more worried about coming out to my parents. I realize that not all Vietnamese people are homophobic but in my case they tend to be so. If my gay friendly friends are still partly homophobic and can't quite deal with it, how are my parents and their friends, and acquaintances, and even people that are strangers to me but not to them going to see me? The Vietnamese community is so small that people I was friends or mutual friends with years ago around the ages 14-17 are somehow connected to my now nearing 50-year old mother. Everyone I know or that has met me even once or that has only ever heard about me would find out and judge me on something so trivial as my sexuality. I know other social groups exist but right now all I can see is this, and I see no escape.
I'm not coming out to my parents until I am financially stable enough to move out and live on my own under my own conditions and with more queer friendly people. This culture has affected me on a psychological and social level to a degree that I cannot begin to stress to people not within it, but I am determined to thrive in my own personality, not one they've determined for me.