Welcome to Ask Poppy! I’m Poppy, your go-to girl for all of life’s woes. And when I say ALL, I MEAN IT. I’m not an expert on anything except maybe for being me, which makes me totally qualified to do this.
I’m Vera. I’m a lesbian. I figured it out sometime ago when I was in my teens. But it hasn’t really bothered me since then. Maybe it’s because I am the low-key, lipstick type.
I had my share of relationships but those too have been on the down low. Most of the time, people think I am just hanging out with a friend. And anyway, I haven’t really found someone to be serious and “Facebook-official” with. I am not sure if my family knows about it and they never really asked. Except during family reunions when I get teased for still not being married or at least being single for the nth Christmas—it doesn’t get brought up really. And when I do get asked if I have a boyfriend, I say no and follow it up with how busy I am at work. Which is true. Or at least half of the truth.
What I am trying to ask is given the situation is do I need to come out? I am all about gender pride and freedom when it comes to sexuality but I also feel like your sexuality is a private matter. No one needs to know except the person you are sleeping with.
My fear is that somehow my friends will figure it out, my family will as well. I plan to introduce the woman I will marry to them, right? But will they take against me if they found out so casually and late in life? Should I say it now? How? Do I invite them to dinner and make an announcement? Is a coming out party necessary? For other people, I guess it is. But I am fine without broadcasting it to the world. I am fine that my parents and friends will find out when they NEED to. But will they accept me? Will they understand why I didn’t really say anything? Or am I just also scared of coming out, am I in denial? Am I not AS liberal as I claim to be about sexuality and self-expression? They say part of the reason people come out is that they can affirm to themselves that they have accepted who they really are.
Thanks, Poppy. Looking forward to your take on this.
Had I answered this last week, I would’ve told you from the get-go to let go and reveal to the world what you really are. Because those are your true colors! Because you have to believe in you! The real you! This week, I’m telling you to think it through.
Although we’re pretty accepting of homosexuality despite our devout Catholic-centric environment, this place still reeks of homophobia. It’s like, we’re sort of there, but not really. Like, when you really think about it, you have a gay colleague, a gay professor, probably a gay family relative—they’re with you and you know them. In 1982, Nora Aunor and Vilma Santos made a lesbian-themed drama. About three decades later, we got My Husband’s Lover, a major network drama about a married man and his gay lover who’s making a comeback. Vice Ganda is the most bankable actor for five consecutive years. So yes, we take pride that we have pride. But that’s not like, all of us.
While working this past week, when my Facebook friends started using the We Are Orlando frame, this was when people started to learn more about the nightmare in Orlando, someone I worked with recalled how they had to scout locations—gay bars, to be exact. So, this guy tells me how horrified he was when he saw a burly bouncer making out with a patron. “Yak!” and “Kadire!” were the strong adjectives that he used. Naturally, I walked away because I was not having any of his homophobia pie. People like him still exists. If he tweeted that, I would’ve shamed him. Because he deserves it. Because what a dick, seriously.
Vera, I agree how you believe that sexuality shouldn’t be advertised. It’s cool that you’re discreet because we’re living in dangerous times. For every Pinoy Pride March, there exists the fact that Imelda Marcos released an anti-gay book back in the Martial Law days. For every Manila by Night, there’s a senator like Manny Pacquiao, who hates gay people just as much as he hates coming to work. Because he’s getting pumped, bro. He needs to fight for the country. It’s this beautiful bullsh*t that the people who usually use the #ProudToBePinoy hashtag like to eat up.
Transparent is still something that I think about even after watching and re-watching the two glorious seasons of complex humanity and inhumanity. In the series, Jeffrey Tambor’s character transforms from Mort, a straight up professor with three kids and an ex-wife to Maura, an aging woman who still longs to be touched. “I am sorry about the Mort and Maura and the he and the she,” she explains. “I am just a person and you are just a person and here we are. And baby, you need to get in this whirlpool or you need to get out of it.”
For Maura, it takes her years to come out. And of course, in the series, her kids were confused. “The first sign of dementia is a changing personality. Like he has to be the center of attention.” Of course, the show then dives deeper into how Mort transitioned to Maura. I wouldn’t want to spoil it, but you get to see how our personal histories can lead to our decisions later in life.
Coming out later in life is fine, but I would imagine it to be tough not only for you, but for your partner(s) as well. Keeping secrets is a tough thing to do. To keep it for years and years would be agonizing. Perhaps you can work on slowly revealing yourself to your family first, and then let the people around you know what they want to know when the time comes. Family might be the smallest unit in our society, but it certainly is the tightest. I mean, we’re talking about the people who loved you for years. They’re your own blood, honey. They would get it. And if they don’t, you guys can work on it as a unit.
I think parties are overrated. Maybe it’s because I’m old and jaded and super pagod from everything. A coming out party sounds cool and dandy, but what’s important is to sit down and talk about it first. “Every universe, our own included, begins in conversation,” Michael Chabon writes in his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Talking is how we learn to understand. It’s how we connect. It is how stories are built and it lets people know. Letting them know with your own words, and facing them head on is your best option.
But yeah, you don’t really need to come out in order to be accepting of yourself. I know that you know that you’re gay AF, so what’s the use of coming out pa, diba? But then, I go back again to what Michael wrote: “To me, Clark Kent in a phone booth and Houdini in a packing crate, they were one and the same thing: you weren’t the same person when you came out as when you went in.”
Vera, this decision isn’t really mine to call. You can come out whenever you want. When that day comes, I hope you feel a thousand times better about yourself and the world around you. Because the world sucks and there’s nothing we can do about that.
Got a question for Poppy? From love and relationships to weird questions you dare not ask even your psychologist, Poppy is ready to answer them all. Send in your questions to [email protected] or post your question over Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #AskPoppy, and you just might get the answer you are looking for.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Preen.ph, or any other entity of the Inquirer Group of Companies.