Posts tagged ‘coming out’

February 21st, 2013

Gay employees face dilemma of ‘coming out’

by Anthony

http://www.scmp.com/comment/letters/article/1154931/letters-editor-february-21-2013

Without a law to protect homosexuals from discrimination, it is believed this minority group will suffer emotionally, especially in the workplace.

The relationship among colleagues is built through mutual understanding, care and trust. Discussing one’s personal life in conversation is unavoidable, and this drives homosexuals to ponder the dilemma of whether or not to “come out”.

Heterosexism is the major barrier for coming out. This concept incorporates both implicit and explicit forms of discrimination. Implicit events may include questions such as, “Why aren’t you married?” Explicit events may include malicious anti-gay jokes.

This arises from a culture prevalent in organisations that considers heterosexuality as the only normal and acceptable sexual orientation.

Gays often experience psychological distress from being virtually in the minority. Coming out happens only when hiding their orientation becomes too emotionally costly.

Yet the outcomes and responses from colleagues and supervisors afterwards can be even harder to overcome.

Here are some solutions for that dilemma.

Organisational support for diversity in sexual orientation should be promoted.

Homosexual workers who disclose more about their sexual orientation have higher job satisfaction, less job anxiety, are more committed to work, perceive management to be more supportive of their rights, and experience less conflict between work and home.

Coworkers’ reactions significantly mediate the relationship between disclosure behaviour, job satisfaction and the anxiety of homosexual employees. Training should eliminate negative reactions towards homosexuality.

Having both non-discrimination policies and gay-supportive organisational actions is linked to more cases of “coming out”, more positive colleague responses, less perceived job discrimination and fairer treatment from supervisors.

The mere presence of organisational policies does not serve as protective means for homosexuals. Comprehensive proactive efforts are necessary.

Consequently, homosexual employees will be more likely to disclose their orientation and psychologically suffer less at work.

The company can then support positive work attitudes, job satisfaction and encourage commitment to the firm – factors that are closely related to productivity.

Homosexuality is not an illness. It is not a sin. And it is no different from heterosexuality in terms of the nature of love.

All individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation, deserve this simple respect and human right.

Peann Tam, Tuen Mun

September 11th, 2012

立法會議員陳志全公開承認其同性戀身份 Hong Kong’s first openly gay legislator!

by Anthony

http://orientaldaily.on.cc/cnt/news/20120911/00176_029.html

剛當選第五屆立法會議員的人民力量陳志全(慢必)向本報公開承認其同性戀身份,成為本港立法機關首名同志議員。他說,「一個人參政係睇佢嘅政治理念,而唔係佢鍾意男仔定女仔。」未來四年,他除了在議會內為港人關心的議題發聲,更會以自身經歷游說其他議員支持引入反性傾向歧視條例,甚至修訂《婚姻條例》,為本港同性戀人士爭取合法權益。

陳志全成功以三萬八千多票在新界東選區突圍而出,他坦言早有信心能當選,但對得票較民主黨劉慧卿更多感到欣慰:「我同長毛(梁國雄)夾埋攞到九萬票,可以見到激進路線係有市場。」他說,未上任已感受到不少壓力,「以前做電台主播都無乜機會用英文,要抽時間溫吓社會政策,最重要係熟讀《議事規則》,方便日後做嘢。」

選戰期間陳志全沒打正旗號公開同志身份,他坦言性取向屬個人私隱,不想以此作賣點:「我覺得講咗反而會將選舉議題模糊化,你問到我一定會講,我唔會覺得尷尬,但唔會周圍講畀人聽。」他又指不公開的另一個原因是不希望支持者會因其性取向而決定投他一票,笑言公開性取向後或會令人民力量支持者失望:「佢哋成日以為我同袁彌明係一對,有人叫我喺選舉後試吓追佢。」

雖然本港社會對同性戀者接受程度日增,但陳志全認為他們至今仍承受不少壓力,「有朋友出街唔敢拖手,或者會隔到好開行,佢哋驚會畀人用啲奇怪嘅目光望住,但我覺得最好嘅方法係坦然面對。」他承諾日後將以議員身份向立法會提出議案或私人草案,要求引入反性傾向歧視條例,寄望能喚起社會討論,從而令市民更尊重隱藏在一角的同性戀者:「我知道呢條路難行,但始終要有人行第一步。」

進身議會卻又公開同志身份或招人話柄,陳志全笑言生活模式或會與以前不同,但有心理準備接受轉變:「日後出街人哋可能會用奇怪嘅目光望你,不過我唔會介意。」四十歲的陳志全說自己自十八歲開始「拍拖」,最長的戀情長達十六年,現時無男友,但承諾日後會主動公開戀情。他自認是友儕中較勇敢的一員,從不擔心被人標籤:「如果我連自己嘅權益都唔去爭取,咁我仲點幫弱勢社群爭取權益呢?」

記者 李惠

August 1st, 2012

John Smid: This is what love in action looks like

by Anthony

Last month saw the DVD release of a marvelous documentary by Morgan Jon Fox called This Is What Love In Action Looks Like a film that wowed us during the British Film Institute’s 26th London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival. The film looks at the experiences of Zack Stark, who caused a global sensation sparking debate and protests by publicising on his blog that his parents were sending him to a residential ministry, Love in Action, specifically aimed at turning gay teenagers straight against their will. The head of the organisation at the time was John Smid, who a lot of the campaigning was directly aimed at. Then, in 2008, Smid resigned as director, came back out as gay, and went through a profound transition that challenged his religious beliefs. In more recent times, Love in Action’s programme has ceased to exist and the organisation itself has changed its name and location. With the pending release of his autobiography, which charts his story over this period, we took the chance to talk to Smid and get a deeper insight into him as a person, and how the documetnary has subsequently affected him.

read more: http://sosogay.co.uk/2012/interview-john-smid-this-is-what-love-in-action-looks-like/

July 16th, 2012

A touching story: A Lunchbox for Two (Eat & Travel Weekly, 13/7/2012)

by Leo

A story behind a lunchbox prepared by a mother for her son and his boyfriend.

There is a rather sad quote in the story though: “The moment when a son comes out from the closet, his parents are pushed into it”.

同志媽媽兩人份便當 (Eat & Travel Weekly, 13/7/2012)

媽媽拿出一盒盒食物,都是兒子R喜歡吃的:炒菜、煎豬扒、炆雞翼……最窩心全部是兩人的分量,R心裏知道,這些食物,男朋友也有份。「外面吃飯多味精,無益的。」媽媽不時叮嚀:「也喝多一碗老火湯吧。」她曉得男朋友和家人比較疏離,不常有機會吃住家飯。

R自小就和媽媽親近:爸爸有鬱躁症,比較霸道,媽媽一直站在丈夫和兒子的中間,試圖維持「齊齊整整」的家。兒子心疼媽媽,更想為媽媽強出頭,媽媽急了,一時和兒子吵,一時又把兒子當作唯一傾訴對象,母子關係密切得簡直糾纏在一起。

這麼近,R心裏卻有一道牆,媽媽一走過來便得停步——他喜歡的,是男孩子。

「我不想永遠都有這種『不能說的秘密』。」R坦言自己預科時已經開始和男孩子在一起,可是直等到二十五歲,大學畢業上班了,才準備好開口告訴媽媽,事先還細心安排一張「安全網」,找來可信賴的輔導員,媽媽就算不能接受,也可以有支援。在同志的圈子有一句話:「當一個同志出櫃,就等於將爸爸媽媽放進衣櫃。」R向媽媽表白,是希望可以走近,而非拉遠。

誰知媽媽竟然有點開心:「我早猜到了,但你不說,我不敢問,最怕你一直瞞住我!」

媽媽甚至還已經找了一堆資料,肯定不是因為自己的教育方法,導致兒子喜歡同性,不過她也擔心:兒子未來的路,會否很難行?

「心裏那塊大石頭,終於放下來!」R發現媽媽最着緊的,是自己,登時很感動。他以為媽媽可能會執着男人一定要和女人一起,可是媽媽的憂慮非常實際:同性戀能找到好伴侶嗎?如果是女孩子,可以和對方家人朋友公開來往,但同性交往相對低調,會否很多背景都不知道?媽媽問:「阿囝,你會被人騙錢嗎?」

明白彼此的想法,才有機會釋疑,R連忙解釋同志也有正常交往。就像兒子為媽媽準備「安全網」,媽媽也「周詳」地為兒子想好了:「不用告訴爸爸、不用告訴姨媽,其他的親戚問起,死口都不認有拖拍,之後我會出來打圓場。」

「現在男孩子條件那麼好,那用着急找對象?」媽媽會這樣跟八卦的親戚說。

男人,能照顧另一個男人嗎?媽媽暗地擔心,除了不時帶食物給兒子,還會上去打掃清潔,R看着看着,眉頭又皺起來。

「媽媽你總是寧願自己辛苦,可是捱到身體勞損,真不應該!」R再次和媽媽起衝突,直至最近,他終於想通:如果媽媽也可以接受自己走一條難行的路,媽媽辛辛苦苦為家人,也是她的選擇,為何自己不接受?

「像叮一聲,」R形容,看法改變了,關係也可以不一樣。

他認真地寫了一封信:「如果你能以你的愛,包容我去選擇自己愛人的取向。為何我不能反過來接納你對生活的選擇呢?我選擇相信你,有能力為自己作出正確的選擇,好好愛護自己,因為只有你愛惜自己,愛你的人才會感到真正的快樂,對吧?」

媽媽看了信,只是含糊地說:「看到啦,知啦,明啦。」然後生怕被別人看見,緊張地加一句:「那我把信撕掉啦。」

陳曉蕾

獨立記者,著作包括:《剩食》、《有米》、《香港正菜》等。

從一棵菜看土地,從一粒米寫生活,總是好奇:怎樣的人,吃着怎樣的食物?

July 7th, 2012

Frank Ocean and the courage to come out

by Anthony
Frank Ocean at Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, 2012

Frank Ocean: ‘I was 19 years old. He was too …’ Photograph: Karl Walter/Getty Images

The first thing that strikes you about R&B artist Frank Ocean‘s coming out statement is that it doesn’t read much like a coming out statement. Over the course of a few hundred words posted on his Tumblr blog, the 24-year-old singer never says anything along the lines of “I have something to tell you all … I’m gay.” Instead, he writes movingly of a summer spent falling hopelessly in love with someone and the excitement, confusion and turmoil this caused: “I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together … And on the days we were together, time would glide. Most of the day I’d see him, and his smile. I’d hear his conversation and his silence.”

Anyone who has ever experienced the all-consuming force of falling for someone they feel like they shouldn’t will instantly relate to Ocean’s words – the declarations of love through tears, the assurances that everything will be OK, the other partner waiting upstairs. That both people in this tale are men doesn’t seem important.

The second thing that strikes you is that, actually, we still live in a world in which it really is important that Ocean is talking about another man. The worlds of rap and R&B which he frequents are not known for their tolerance of homosexuality, from Eminem rapping “Hate fags? The answer’s yes!” to Chris Brown’s recent use of the #homothug hashtag during a Twitter spat. Then there’s the matter of Ocean’s bandmates in the hip-hop collective Odd Future, who have become notorious for misogynistic and homophobic lyrics (Ass Milk’s “Come take a stab at it faggot … I pre-ordered your casket” is one particularly charming example). Pop and dance music have seen plenty of artists stepping out of the closet but in the macho-oriented world of rap and R&B it’s unheard of for a star to come out.

Matthew Todd, editor of gay magazine Attitude, says Ocean’s Tumblr post caused ripples of excitement in their office. “For anyone to come out this early in their career is unusual,” he says; that Ocean is one of the most hotly tipped new names in music only amplifies the effect. “There’s still a lot of homophobic abuse around, as you can see by some of the responses on Twitter. But it’s an interesting time in the US with Obama supporting gay marriage and Jay-Z supporting it also.”

Born Christopher Breaux in New Orleans in 1987, Ocean was raised by his mother after his father left them. Although still only in his early 20s, his CV proves he is not easily pigeonholed – he has written songs for Justin Bieber and Beyoncé as well as starred on the Watch the Throne album, a collaboration between Jay-Z and Kanye West. He seems at home in the highly controversial Odd Future, yet later this year he will open for Coldplay.

Clearly, Ocean is an artist who follows his own path. He was signed up by Def Jam to release his debut solo album, but when Def Jam seemed to get cold feet, Ocean posted the album Nostalgia, Ultra online. It quickly gained a following – not only for its pop melodies and indie R&B production, but also for its ability to tackle issues not often discussed in pop with such boldness. There Will Be Tears talked of the sadness caused by his absent father and the peer pressure to put on a brave face (“My friends said it weren’t so bad./ You can’t miss what you ain’t had./ Well I can, I’m sad”), whereas Swim Good confronted suicidal tendencies. Ocean opened up further on We All Try, airing his thoughts on both abortion (“I believe a woman’s temple gives her the right to choose”) and, significantly, gay marriage: “I believe that marriage isn’t between a man and woman, but between love and love.”

Guardian critics voted it their third favourite album of 2011 while the BBC had him down second in its Sound of 2012 poll. Later this month Ocean will release Channel Orange, rumoured to contain several love songs addressed to another man.

“Hip-hop and R&B are so overtly masculine, so obstinately heterosexual that I can appreciate how singing about having loved, or being in love with, a man might have been something [Ocean] had to consider before he pressed record,” says urban music writer Hattie Collins. “It is an issue. But it’s the same with most pop music; look at how long it took poor old Stephen Gately to come out, and he was in one of the most gay-friendly genres ever.”

It is fitting that Ocean was invited to work with Kanye West on Watch the Throne as it is West who has done so much to change attitudes in hip-hop and shake off the lyrical straitjackets imposed by gangster rap during the 90s. He has spoken out against discrimination against gay people and has constantly pushed his lyrics towards more reflective areas. Where once even right-on artists such as Public Enemy sang lyrics such as “Man to man, I don’t know if they can/ From what I know the parts don’t fit”, the new generation of rappers is moving away from such homophobia. West Coast rapper Lil’ B called his 2011 album I’m Gay (I’m Happy), while hotly tipped Harlem MC A$AP Rocky renounced his own early homophobia as “stupid” – in February this year he said hip-hop needed to “stop being so close-minded because it will cause the genre to fail”. Another member of Odd Future, DJ Syd Da Kid, recently unveiled her side project The Internet with a video that saw her snogging another girl at a fairground.

All of which makes Odd Future’s apparent homophobia more puzzling. Their lyrics caused them to be dropped from the bill of Australian festival Big Day Out last November and they have faced calls for protests outside shows from anti-domestic violence groups. How can gay people feel comfortable sharing a stage with a man shouting about “faggots”? As offensive as some of Tyler and co’s statements might appear, they are clearly not laced with the same venom as those made by, say, Cypress Hill’s Sen Dog, who once told NME journalist Sylvia Patterson that they “don’t get fags … how can you not love pussy?”

They may use the language of hate speak but, for Odd Future, these words are designed to upset and provoke an older generation but little more – the lyrical equivalent of Sid Vicious’s swastika shirt. In fact, Odd Future’s attitude towards their fellow bandmates – Tyler the Creator, the collective’s figurehead, tweeted to say “My big brother finally fucking did that. Proud of that nigga cause I know that shit is difficult” – reveals their true feelings towards gay people, one in which it really doesn’t matter who you fall in love with.

The music world might be full of people making outrageous and provocative declarations for the hell of it – but Ocean has shown pop how to really make a statement.

source: Guardian News and Media Limited

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/jul/04/frank-ocean-courage-come-out

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