From a young age, I grew up in a family surrounded by five women (my mother, my aunt and my cousins) without my father being present much as he was working two jobs to support the family. I never really enjoyed sports, and I guess that’s why I bonded well with my cousins. I guess being surrounded by so many women — and having a lack of male models in my life — I grew up familiar with the feminine mannerisms and was considered effeminate.
Growing up in Singapore, I was constantly afraid of the law and of discrimination from my friends and family, especially if they found out that I was gay. I acted “straight”, kept my relationships secret, and worst of all, pretended to be homophobic at times because of the pressure from my social groups.
As someone who is confused about his sexual identity, growing up in a very conservative Filipino family is a challenge, especially when you are an achiever.