Sunday, September 27, 2015

Inside out

Nathan and I caught up with some of his former work friends for dinner the other night. They are a lovely couple who work at the Cabrini Hospital in Malvern. Nathan became friends with them when he was working in the hospital's cafeteria.

The dinner was actually a birthday celebration for the guy. Unfortunately, his wife didn't tell us so it was a little embarrassing that we didn't have a birthday present. We weren't the only ones caught out by surprise so that made the situation a bit better.

The restaurant we went to was Japanese and it specialised in wagyu beef that you get to cook yourself at the table over hot coals. One of the people at the dinner, an elderly gentleman, put his fingers on the grill to see if it was hot. I guess he didn't see the glowing red coals below (which the waiter had only minutes before lowered with a special handle). Not surprisingly, he burnt himself.

Towards the end of the evening, I struck up a conversation with a gay Vietnamese guy at the party who was asking me about my coming out experience. The guy still lives at home with his parent and younger brother. He hasn't come out to them yet (though he suspects his parents know because they have stopped asking him about getting a girlfriend). Apparently, when extended family members ask him about his love life, he tells them he has a girlfriend. Not sure if doing so will make things even more difficult if (and when) he is ready to come out. I can appreciate that the cultural element could complicate things. He tells me about a friend who is in an even worst predicament: not only is the friend gay, Asian and closeted, but he is also HIV positive. I cant even begin to imagine how difficult that conversation would be.


Anonymous said...

Coming out by gradual family realisation is not such a bad way to do it. But to be HIV and and unwell puts a whole different slant on things. A bit stereotypical but....

You are sick, what is wrong with you?
I have HIV.
What is that?
How did you catch it?
From a man I met.


Mind, not easy for anyone.

Victor said...

The preferable thing is to reveal yourself as early as possible. Easy to say but harder to do, I know. The longer you wait - and by definition the more you lie or at least conceal - the more difficult it is to come out. Ironically the shock to relatives of the revelation is often then overshadowed by their anger at being 'lied to'. Unfair really.

Adaptive Radiation said...

Andrew: Definitely don't envy that guy's situation.
Victor: Unfortunately, fear of rejection or disappointment by others can be a powerful driver for keeping the closet door closed. Societal attitudes don't help...though the situation is definitely improving.