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My story is sort of how I came out in the military. And when I mean the military, it is the military in Singapore where I was born.
When every male hits the age of 18 you usually have to enlist in the military for national service. What happens when it comes to being gay in the military, it’s sort of not like America where they have Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. In Singapore they will ask you. They have this list they run through: Do you have any history of lung diseases, heart diseases, so on and so forth. And then they ask you, do you have any mental disorders, i.e. homosexuality? So that is sort of the tipping piont where you tell them you’re a homosexual or you don’t. People usually don’t declare. So I didn’t declare as well.
I went through basic military training school and I was called in to see my commanding officer and he sat me down and goes, “Do you know why you’re here?”
And I said, “I don’t know, why am I here?”
“Well, you know, I’ve heard some rumors about you and I want to find out if they’re true or not.”
“What are those rumors?”
“I heard you’re gay. Is this true?”
I asked him, “Why is this an issue?”
And at this point I was prepared for anything. I was going to get court marshaled, I was so sure of it. But his answer really surprised me. He goes, “Well I was wondering in case you were uncomfortable staying in the bunk with the boys.” I was thinking, “You have no idea how far that is from the truth. No idea.”
So his answer was really surprising because you think it was going to be very negative but it was actually coming from a place that is really supportive. We play the worst-case scenarios in our minds, but sometimes I think that we need to learn to trust people. And, you know, we may get hurt along the way, but that makes us stronger. And if we take that risk, we reap a greater reward.