Finding a Way Forward: Coming Out in Taiwan
In Taiwan, being a young butch lesbian can be a cultural challenge, especially when coming out to a family with traditional values. Pat Hsu shares her story with us.
By Pat Hsu
I’ve known that I’m gay since I was really young, and by young, I mean 7 or 8 years old. I know it sounds crazy, even ridiculous. But I just never liked a boy. And I never hated myself for being gay, instead of that, I'm proud of myself, and of being a part of the LGBTQ community. I've been dressing like a boy and cutting my hair short since I was 12 or 13 years old. Up until I was 18 years old, my parents kept asking me to stop cutting my hair and to wear skirts. I had a big fight with my dad, I don't remember why, but I remember I was angry. After my dad left my room, I immediately called my best friend and asked her if I could stay overnight, and I packed my clothes, my guitar, got in a taxi and turned off my phone. Before I left, I wrote a letter to my dad.
Here was what the letter said:
I know when you knew this baby was a girl, you expected her growing up as a princess, wearing dresses, having long hair, dating boys at age 15. And you know now that I'm not what you expected, I'm not that daughter you've always wanted. I'm tough, strong, brave, reckless, I'm exactly like you. The only different thing is, I'm gay. I'm not sorry for this because this is just who I am, and I'm still your daughter no matter what, I'm still me. I don't expect you to understand, but I'll have my own life, later in life anyway. I love you, doesn't matter if you accept me for who I really am or not.
And few days later, I turned on my phone, there were so many missed phone calls from my mom, and the next second my mom called and she wanted to come to my friend's house and pick me up. I figured I couldn't hide from them all my life, I'd regret it if I did. At the same time with all of this happening, I had also recently broken up with my ex - it was really a big, tense, uneasy time for me. So I went home, just like usual, as though nothing had happened. We ate dinner together, we talked. After the time I ran away, my dad never asked me to be girly again.
This means something to me, it doesn’t mean he accepts me for being gay, but at least I know that my family will love me no matter what. Being gay is just a part of me, and I’m still the same girl they always knew. Now, some of my family even talk about girls with me. That makes me proud of them because they have the courage to love me for who I am. It’s infinite love, and all I could have ever asked for.