Alvin’s Story · Staying Negative

Alvin’s Story · Staying Negative:

An excerpt:

My parents found out that I’m gay from fax machine messages from gay
friends – at the time there weren’t any mobile phones with text and the
internet hadn’t really appeared yet. We argued for weeks and I became
very depressed. At the time I had completed a diploma but I couldn’t
continue to study in university in Hong Kong because of my deafness. I
decided to study overseas and my parents agreed.

I moved to Melbourne in 1999 because some of my relatives live here, and
that reassured my parents. My life changed dramatically as I could not
lip-read the teachers and my English wasn’t that good. So I learnt
Auslan (Australian Sign Language) from an interpreter at uni while I was
studying my course. I made some Deaf friends but I didn’t come out to
them. Then I met an Aussie Deaf guy at a Deaf Club social night, and we
exchanged mobile phone numbers but never got in touch. Then by chance we
met again at a dinner party and fell in love. He became my first Aussie
boyfriend. He was 10 years older than me but we were very close. He
taught me a lot about Australian culture, Deaf culture, safe sex and
Auslan. I learnt heaps from him and we were together for 8 years before
deciding to become just friends; we are more like brothers now.

Alvin’s Story · Staying Negative

Alvin’s Story · Staying Negative:

An excerpt:

My parents found out that I’m gay from fax machine messages from gay
friends – at the time there weren’t any mobile phones with text and the
internet hadn’t really appeared yet. We argued for weeks and I became
very depressed. At the time I had completed a diploma but I couldn’t
continue to study in university in Hong Kong because of my deafness. I
decided to study overseas and my parents agreed.

I moved to Melbourne in 1999 because some of my relatives live here, and
that reassured my parents. My life changed dramatically as I could not
lip-read the teachers and my English wasn’t that good. So I learnt
Auslan (Australian Sign Language) from an interpreter at uni while I was
studying my course. I made some Deaf friends but I didn’t come out to
them. Then I met an Aussie Deaf guy at a Deaf Club social night, and we
exchanged mobile phone numbers but never got in touch. Then by chance we
met again at a dinner party and fell in love. He became my first Aussie
boyfriend. He was 10 years older than me but we were very close. He
taught me a lot about Australian culture, Deaf culture, safe sex and
Auslan. I learnt heaps from him and we were together for 8 years before
deciding to become just friends; we are more like brothers now.

I think I need mental help, but Im not sure how to come about it. Gay world and love and body dysmorphia has given me so much anxiety especially as an asian guy that I dont know anymore. I have a hard time sleeping because of it. Do you guys have any suggestions? Im starting to become suicidal again.

Thanks for reaching out, and sorry it’s taken a while for us to put together this response. It’s understandable that feelings like anxiety, overwhelmedness, and desperation have come up with the very real external problems you face. You are doing your best in this situation, and you are not alone. Many other gay asian guys have experienced – and survived – the same kinds of struggles that you’re dealing with, and you’ve taken a big step by naming the problems you want to address and seeking help.

You deserve to feel better, and we’re concerned that these issues seem like a self-reinforcing cycle. We can’t make concrete, specific suggestions without knowing more details about your needs, such as local resources in your area but want to emphasize the importance of finding people you can talk with in detail about the issues you’re experiencing in order to stabilize your situation.

Below are some options that may be helpful for you when you’re experiencing intense emotional distress, but In the longer term, it’s important to find ways to break isolation and build up your support network. These are the people who will remind you that you’re not alone in your struggles and who will support you as you identify and address the conditions in your life which you need to change in order to live the better life you deserve. Your support network can include trusted friends or family, people in your in-person or online communities, and a therapist. If there is an LGBTQ community center or wellness service organization in your area, they should be able to help you understand and evaluate your options for resources.

If you’re experiencing immediate intense emotional distress:

When you are distressed but not in a crisis, you can call a hotline or a warm line to talk confidentially to a trained staffer. Here’s a description of what warm lines are like: http://ift.tt/2vl3vba, and here’s a list of warm lines in the US, organized by state: http://ift.tt/2wvAUOU.

The LGBT Helpline:
(888.340.4528 Monday-Saturday 6 PM-11 PM, for callers of age 25+)  and

LGBT Peer Listening Line
(800.399.PEER Monday-Saturday 5 PM-10 PM, for callers of age 25 and under)

may also be useful for finding local LGBT-specific groups and services.

If you see yourself in danger of harming yourself or someone else, you should contact someone you trust and/or a hotline for immediate help and referral to resources. Examples of free, 24/7 hotlines in the US include the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255), the Lifeline Crisis Chat (online chat at http://ift.tt/MGBbH7), the Trevor Lifeline (1-866-488-7386, specializing in LGBTQ youth), and the Crisis Text Line (text 741741).

You may want to make a step-by-step safety plan for strategies you will use and people/resources you will contact who can immediately help you get through a crisis situation. You can refer to http://ift.tt/2wvIVU3 for guidance on what you may want to put in the plan, and you can put together the plan with help from a therapist or a hotline staffer.

In the longer run:

Chances are that other people in your life have experienced mental health struggles, possibly similar ones to yours. They may be looking for people to confide in, or they may have learned lessons they are eager to share with others about mental health. Building these connections can be powerful and mutually beneficial.

Talking to a culturally-sensitive therapist can be very helpful for both short-term needs and long-term growth. A therapist’s job is to be an unbiased, confidential third party who holds space for you to work through anything you want – a person to talk to if/when talking to friends or family is not the best option in the moment. However, finding a therapist who does their job right, fits you well, and is accessible and affordable can be challenging. It helps to have a trained professional from a hotline or community center to guide you through the process. You can find therapists trained in LGBT-specific counseling at http://ift.tt/2vldUDZ, and therapists in general at http://ift.tt/2wvATdO and http://ift.tt/1q5lCfE. Depending on where you live, you might even have the option of talking to an LGBT Asian-American therapist.

If therapy seems to be unaffordable for you, you might be able to benefit from lower-cost therapy options and alternatives to therapy: http://ift.tt/2ww8mVC

There are people in our G3S community who have experienced similar struggles who you can talk to either through our Mentorship Program (http://ift.tt/2c3h4VZ) or the LINE chat (http://ift.tt/2jn8QWB). Please note that members of our community are not necessarily trained to respond to mental health-related situations, but they’re great for friendship and advice. We can connect you to them if you message us with some way to contact you online.

I (Ethan) know from past experience how difficult it can be to cope when we know we need changes in our life but feel powerless to make them happen. I’ve learned that the barriers to change only appear inevitable because of external conditions – which we can eventually replace by organizing with others – and internalized patterns – which we can replace by taking risks that build our power to bring about change and grow as people. It’s a long journey, but you have what it takes to do this, one step at a time and with support from others.

We hope you found some of the above suggestions helpful. If you’d like more specific suggestions, please message G3S at gaysianthirdspace@gmail.com for anonymous/confidential discussion, or our ask box at http://ift.tt/2duXVIZ for a public reply.

– Ethan and Andrew from the Admin Team

Out and proud: Growing influence of LGBTQ Korean YouTubers

Out and proud: Growing influence of LGBTQ Korean YouTubers:

Featuring the channels of Luke William, an out gay Korean man, Hayden Royalty, a non-binary Korean American, and Soo, a bisexual Korean woman.

A few reactions they’ve encountered from their videos:

Luke:
“Actually, some Korean LGBT people think I am making the community worse
off by showing our lifestyle. They want to keep our culture secret. (But)
I will not stop being a gay Korean YouTuber until every LGBT person can be happy, with equal rights.”

Hayden: “I was really surprised to hear that lesbians didn’t have any gay male
friends and vice versa. You don’t have to fight on the front lines and
show up for protests, but educating yourself and others and exchanging
conversations definitely helps.”

Soo:
“Many closeted people feel like they are alone because they don’t have
queer friends with whom they can share their story. But when they watch
my videos, they feel like they are not alone.”

Out and proud: Growing influence of LGBTQ Korean YouTubers

Out and proud: Growing influence of LGBTQ Korean YouTubers:

Featuring the channels of Luke William, an out gay Korean man, Hayden Royalty, a non-binary Korean American, and Soo, a bisexual Korean woman.

A few reactions they’ve encountered from their videos:

Luke:
“Actually, some Korean LGBT people think I am making the community worse
off by showing our lifestyle. They want to keep our culture secret. (But)
I will not stop being a gay Korean YouTuber until every LGBT person can be happy, with equal rights.”

Hayden: “I was really surprised to hear that lesbians didn’t have any gay male
friends and vice versa. You don’t have to fight on the front lines and
show up for protests, but educating yourself and others and exchanging
conversations definitely helps.”

Soo:
“Many closeted people feel like they are alone because they don’t have
queer friends with whom they can share their story. But when they watch
my videos, they feel like they are not alone.”

The Former Buddhist Monk Who Is Now A Tibetan Queer Icon

The Former Buddhist Monk Who Is Now A Tibetan Queer Icon:

Hey everyone!

It’s Jeffrey back for another week of moderation and I’ve been really feeling a case of wanderlust lately. So this week, let’s take another tour around the world and check in with our queer brothers and sisters in Asia, starting with the fabulous Tibetan trans performer and makeup artist, Tenzin Mariko!

An excerpt:

Perhaps the most striking evidence of her acceptance by the Tibetan
community has been the response of its religious leaders – the top
echelons of this deeply religious society. In just the last two years,
she’s been granted private audiences with a host of eminent Tibetan
Buddhist leaders, including Karmapa, the second highest-ranking guru in
Tibetan Buddhism after the Dalai Lama.

“I feel blessed, truly
blessed,” says Mariko via a video call from Kathmandu, where she has
been invited to perform at a Tibetan show, her 10th such engagement of
the month. “I recently had a chance to meet with Tsoknyi Rinpoche, and
he told me that I was doing good work and that he supported me,”
referring to an important lama of the Drukpa Kagyu and Nyingma lineages.

Even
Mariko doesn’t have an explanation for what changed people’s perception
towards her. She thinks people warmed up to her because she gave up
monkhood. She believes that people were upset earlier because they felt
she was disrespecting her monastic vows by cross-dressing — that they
didn’t have a problem with her being transgender, but with transitioning
while still wearing a monk’s robes.

That explanation may be
overly generous, given that a majority of trans and gay people still
remain closeted and invisible in the Tibetan public sphere. And while
Buddhist leaders have acknowledged Mariko and offered her their
blessings, it is also true that the word transgender has always had a
negative connotation in Buddhist texts.

Tashi Ganden, a Tibetan researcher and a former monk himself, points to a 13th century Tibetan dictionary that defines maning, the Tibetan word for transgender, as “a person who has defects with his/her sexual organs”.

“This
definition is borrowed from other religious texts and conveys the
negativism that’s associated with trans people,” says Ganden.

Ganden says the requirement to declare oneself a non-maning before joining a monastery also shows the discriminatory attitude of the monasteries towards transgender people.

The
Dalai Lama, who holds much sway over Tibetan people’s views on any
given issue, has not publicly denounced same-sex relationships. But in a
2014 interview with American TV and radio host Larry King, he noted
that each religion has different definitions of sexual misconduct and
believers should not engage in such acts.