Friday, January 12, 2007

Completely out of the Closet - An Interview

Phayul[Thursday, January 11, 2007 16:41] “We are not special” says Tenzin Jigdel (name changed), a Tibetan Gay who finds no reasons to hide his identity from anyone.
By Tenzin Dickyi

This six-striped rainbow flag is sometimes called 'the freedom flag', and has been used as a symbol of gay and lesbian pride since the 1970s. The different colors symbolize diversity in the gay community, and the flag is often used as a symbol of gay pride in gay rights marches. It originated in the United States, but is now used around the world.

The subject of homosexuality definitely remains a taboo in our society like in many countries. We have denied to acknowledge the existence of such people in our society who too like us crave for openness and freedom. People generally find it very difficult to comprehend what homosexuality is all about. Their first reaction always remains weird and many thinks marriage is the only ‘cure’ for such behaviour. Parents are the one who usually takes longer to make peace with this aspect and still hope that their son or daughter will come out of this ‘phase’. But it takes so much for a homosexual person to accept what you are because everything doesn’t happen the way you want. However they become a happy soul when society accepts them as what they are because they are just an ordinary person. And Knowledge is the key. Educating and informing all people about sexual orientation and homosexuality can only trim down and break these prejudices in any society.

Mr. Tenzin Jigdel recently unfolded some real truths about himself as being a Tibetan Gay to phayul. And we hope that this interview will positively demystify some myths, hopefully trigger certain change and establish some home truths about homosexuality in our society.

First of all can you please tell us something about yourself?

Well, I am a Tibetan youth born and brought up in exile in Dharamsala. I attended the Tibetan Children’s Village School. I am currently a post graduate student seeking a degree in Media studies.
I come from a very ordinary Tibetan family and both my parents have been civil servants all their lives for the Tibetan Government in Exile.
I am a very down to earth, kind hearted person, single and seeking and I keep high interests in the field of arts.

Tell me a bit about how and when you first realized that you have attraction towards men?

I realized I was gay quite early on in my life. Initially in grades two or three, I still recollect that I would have infatuations towards both girls and boys but during my early teens, it struck me that I was more and more attracted towards boys. Later on around the age of 13 or 14, I would constantly have a crush on this boy or the other. Of-course they were all teenage crushes but the urges were strong and real.

During those early years, I was confused; there was no one to tell me what it’s like being gay. I thought I was some kind of a freak falling for boys rather than girls. I badly needed some answers at that time but there was no one to turn to. I went into the school library to find some references and as you would expect there was none.

Somehow a copy of the book, Teleny or Reverse of the Medal came into my hands. I don’t remember where and how I found it. The story of that novel was set in Paris in the late 1800s and it was a love story between a young French man and a Hungarian pianist. Strangely the book was sort of the first thing that introduced me to the gay world. It was a very erotic and an exciting novel which is rumored to have been partly written by Oscar Wilde.

In passing during my childhood, no one really spoke about homosexuality. It seemed as if even talking about it was a sin. The only time I’d hear the words gay or homos were in bad jokes. I kept it all to myself until the time I left home after high school.

During my late teens, like other boys and girls, I too began to explore my sexuality. I’d had many encounters with my school mates where we would have mutual sexual indulgence which at later stages in our lives we all rather not talk about or pretend as if it’d never happened. But those encounters were a way of re-affirming my own identity as a young gay man.

In the last years of my high school, I was a wrecked teenager – confused and lost. Even though I had realized that I was gay long ago, I still haven’t found much answer to my questions. Soon I’d be graduating and let out into the world but I was really not sure where to start from.

Several months into my last year of high school, I fell in love again for the nth time. This time I am not sure if it was not just a crush in passing but I desired this young boy so much that I couldn’t resist him. We were close friends of a sort and there was this incident where I came on to him. This was a real shocker for him I guess. He just completely disowned me as a friend and told my other friends about me. I don’t blame him much for that because after all he’s also a Tibetan born and brought up in a conservative society. He was young and was not exposed to many things in the world.

But somehow it totally blew my world upside down. High school was a hell hole - word soon spread through out my friends circle and it seemed like the whole school knew about my orientation. I went through the worst time of my life then. Many of the friends I have been close to for years, all of a sudden, decided not to be friends with me anymore and since I was just a kid back then, I took those things very seriously and I was devastated.

I felt like running away as far as I can. I was ashamed and scandalized but solutions there were none. So the only thing that helped me survive that last year of high school was to stay close to the friends who did decide to stand by me. I loved them dearly and they are still the most important people in my life even now.

Read the full Interview


Anonymous said...

im also a gay tibeta, and know of others.
its interesting to such a blog.
good luck, with your journey

jan willem said...

Hi, so good to see that the site is still up!

I regret that during my 14 year long stay in the Tibean community I wasn't more public in sharing my sexuality... it is so important that you are able to share your difficult experience in this way!

Jan Willem den Besten, The Netherlands