For as long as I could remember, I would use the word prodigious to describe my secondary school life.
My experience as a queer secondary school student had never been better. I felt that the amount of love shown towards me and everyone else was sublime (?). To my knowledge, being known as the boy who is extremely optimistic, energetic and full of smiles probably played a part in defining who I am. With this disposition in school, I managed to make friends with (almost) everyone in the school (and almost all of them know that I identify as gay)!
But frankly, I really did stand out like a sore thumb.
In all honesty, it was because of how I presented myself to everyone around me. I’ve always got my sass with me. In class, during breaks, even exams! Being “gay” was just another factor which made me stand out amongst my peers.
Through the years of being in the same class with my classmates, I have developed camaraderie and relationships with them where I am accepted for who I am. I presume that my teachers were aware of the fact that I’m slightly “different” as opposed to everyone else; but I swear in the name of love that they had never, ever made me feel otherwise.
With all of this said, I would have never felt more real and comfortable with being my authentic self if it wasn't for my best friend, who openly supported this significant aspect of my life, that is my sexuality.
She was the first ever person that I spoke to about my sexuality.
Inihsra, the intelligent one, was knowledgeable when it came to queer and LGBT topics way before I did and she was there to guide me. Thanks to her, I felt more comfortable expressing myself. Thanks to her, I’ve also become an intersectional feminist who advocates for national and international issues.
However, being in Asia, our ideas and beliefs have stark contrasts with Westernized countries, specifically when it comes to the definition of love or queer and LGBT topics and issues. Although everyone in school was supportive of me, regardless of my sexuality, there were certain uncalled-for incidents where my confidence as a queer and LGBT person faltered.
For instance, one of my female friends had to go through school-mandated counselling because she had feelings for another girl. At times, these incidents made me feel wary and made me question my worth as a queer teenager living in conservative Singapore. I guess I was lucky to have gone through such a phase that was different from other individuals.
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.