I came out to a world where nobody looked like me and nobody wanted me – let me explain.
Shortly after I was born in Montreal, my parents moved to a pretty conservative city in another country where no one talked about sex, let alone homosexuality. I remember when Brokeback Mountain came out in the movies there was such an uproar in the community. Parents were upset that their children would be somehow “exposed” and turn gay. Although I had come out to my parents (who were extremely supportive and open-minded), we collectively decided it would be better if I “stayed in the closet” while I was still living at home, because it was such a conservative place and it was better for my own safety that way.
When I moved back to Montreal for university, I was so excited! I had always heard that it was a great city to be queer. I was ready to live that open, free life I had always dreamed about – meeting new people, going on dates, even clubbing in the Village seemed exciting to me at the time.
But I found out the hard way that as a person of colour I was never welcomed in this queer world. I had come out to a world of white men who either wanted nothing to do with my body, or would fetishize my identity – I was so upset and angry one day when on Grindr, a self-identified “rice queen” asked if he could have me for dessert since he just had Thai food for dinner.
At first I blamed the lack of success in navigating this new world on myself, maybe I was just not charismatic or attractive enough, or too eager in these new encounters. But as I talked more with friends who had similar experiences, and as I saw more profiles on Grindr which said “White only” or “No Asian, just a preference,” I realized that it wasn’t just me.
It takes a lot of strength to reject these experiences as a gauge of my self-worth and beauty, but on my sadder days I can’t help but look in the mirror and wonder how much easier it would have been to come out if I were white. I share my story to carve out a space in these narratives for people of colour.