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Queer issues in Singapore
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Being, Belonging

Sometimes, school is a respite from home where familial problems abound. With a set of good friends, C Dawg tells us why being queer in school need not always be a bad experience.

by C Dawg

Sometimes, school is a respite from home where familial problems abound. With a set of good friends, Cedric Koh tells us why being queer in school need not always be a bad experience.

Sometimes, school is a respite from home where familial problems abound. With a set of good friends, Cedric Koh tells us why being queer in school need not always be a bad experience.

 
 

It was pretty much a breeze, actually.

School was pretty much the only place where I felt safe and could actually share with my friends my innermost secrets. My parents shut me up whenever I tried to explain to them I wasn't being gay to piss them off or follow some form of extremist radical Western ideology. They pretty much sucked.

School was where I could belong to some form of group. My clique of friends were a bunch of hipsters/ pseudo-punk rockers who grew up on Marilyn Manson, New York Dolls and David Bowie (all celebrated glam rock acts) and knew that there was nothing wrong with being different. Sometimes, I feel that glam/punk/hard rock is so much more as it is able to open up people's eyes to many sprawling issues and people who differ from the social norm.

So, it was pretty cool just chilling with them being the only gay kid. We pretty much spent our afternoons headbanging to loud metal and chanting Marilyn Manson's iconic "The Beautiful People".

Of course, not everything was perfect. There were the kids who went out of their way to be awful to me, spreading malicious rumours that I was a "Aids-ridden cock-biter." There was some drama too when rumour got out that I was eyeing one of the school's sexiest dudes. So, shit got real and, sometimes, I got pretty much attacked and confronted. I would cry at home and all. But, the good thing was that my group of friends were always there for me. Even though, everybody else was a complete ass to me. My group of friends in school weren't.

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Coming out is a never-ending process. It has been years and I still have to tell (or remind) people that I’m not straight, but it definitely got easier as I became more secure in my sexuality. I’m openly gay and I also encourage open discussions about sexuality, because I realised that that helped not only me but my peers with the concept of sexuality too. I mean… it’s not like we have open discussions about sexuality in school or anything, right…

Why would teenagers, going through puberty and dealing with all the hormones, have any questions about sex and sexuality? Pfft!

I really wish our education system helped more during my confusing questioning years. There was zero education or exposure (of any sort) about non-hetero sexualities in school, I couldn’t find any other accessible content about LGBTQ+ (besides Tumblr) and I was so afraid to ask my teachers out of fear that they will judge and belittle my feelings.

If only we had access to such a vibrant community and its resources through our education. I really could have used that additional support system and that would have saved me (and many other teens in the same situation) so much time, pain, and confusion.

That would have also been a great way to educate straight people too, who are most definitely also part of the pain and confusion.

With all that said, do better, Singapore.


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Being Queer in School is a series of community submissions that seek to explore what it means to be queer in the Singapore education system. If you have anything to share with us, submit to us through e-mail.