I'm working on my common app essay, and decided to write about my sexuality, about being gay. It may be controversial, but it really is one of the issues that I feel most about. It's written in the local context, so there are references to local issues that may not seem immediately clear, but I cannot afford the extra words to elaborate on them. E.g. Section 377A refers to Singapore's penal code which criminalises sex between mutually consenting adult men.
I feel that the essay has issues of flow and also seem to lack a central focus, but i'm not quite sure how to improve on it. So i'm hoping anyone out there can help me out on anything that can be improved.Prompt: "Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you."
I chanced upon an unassuming journal entry about a crush I had on a male classmate, dated 11th February 2002.
I was ten years old.
A sense of déjŕ vu never fails to recur whenever I reread the entry, because in retrospect, the signs of my sexual inclination had always been there, but only eight years later did I finally decide to accept who I really am.
There was nothing but affection when I wrote the entry then, without any sense of guilt or wrongdoing, only honesty and love.
Ironically, such feelings of same-sex attraction did not grow more prominently as I grew older. Instead, I started to tuck them away into a dark corner of my sub-consciousness, refusing to allow it to surface.
Rejection was exacerbated by society's prevailing sentiment against same-sex relationships, characterized by the fiery 2007 legislative debate on Section 377A, which was unfortunately left untouched on the statute books, nor did it help that I was often teased in secondary school. I never was able to conform to the masculine ideals of being physically strong and assertive. I found myself ostracized from the guys in class, and felt more comfortable being around the girls. I wanted to fit in badly, but felt sandwiched between the two groups. If I did not accept myself, nobody else would.
I started to think about what my sexuality meant. If I could not find my place in school or society, perhaps it was that I simply belonged somewhere else - to an invisible minority, hidden away from public view because of discrimination.
But every society will always have its own minority groups, be it based on race, religion or even gender, which makes up the spectrum of diversity that adds colour to life. Equally important, we must ensure that they thrive, being free from prejudice, something we, as Singaporeans, have cherished fiercely from the outrage against the incidental inflammatory hate speech against race or religion.
Just as how I, as a Singaporean Chinese, share a common human experience with other races, homosexuals have never been drastically different from our heterosexual counterparts. We share a common need to love and be loved, nothing but an inalienable natural human tendency since time immemorial, without which, we would just be getting by aimlessly, nothing better than hollow shells. Love should be celebrated, regardless of its nature.
Acceptance starts from the simplest of acts, as small as coming out to the people I love, to let them know that I am still the person they have known and loved, that my sexuality has not changed one bit of anything. I was lucky enough to have had supportive friends around me when I came out to them. Even in the army, a bastion of masculinity, I was surprised to find voices of support among my heterosexual peers, despite the visceral impression otherwise. As people start to know a friend or family part of this minority, the fear and hatred stemming from ignorance will hopefully be vanquished, one by one.
It is my hope that the Singaporean society will one day understand and accept a distant minority, to allow me to feel like when I was ten, free to be happy and to love again.