When I was 20, my mother saw me kissing my boyfriend goodbye in front of our house. “Who was that?” she asked. That’s when I told her that I was in a relationship with him and that I was bi. My mother was more surprised than anything else. And that surprised me. She knows me so well, so I had expected that she would have figured it out. But apparently she hadn’t. But even if it was unexpected for her, she had no problem with it at all.
Whatever comes naturally
I’m of Surinamese-Hindustani descent, but was born in the Netherlands. I’m not Muslim myself, but my mother is and many others in my family are too: mosque, Ramadan, head scarves, and men with beards. They all reacted completely fine when I later told them that I was bisexual. My friends were luckily cool about that too. In the beginning I was a little worried, because my circle of friends consists of people of practically every colour and from practically every background that you can imagine. But they all said: “Man, you need to do whatever comes naturally to you. We like you the way you are.”
The only problem was: I wasn’t really bi. Deep down, I knew that I was really just gay, but I didn’t want to admit that to myself. I couldn’t identify with the stereotypical image of gays that I saw in the media: the limp wrists and the feminine behaviour. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I never felt any connection with that at all. I couldn’t manage to say the word “gay” if it had to do with me.
That is how it was until I was 27, when I went on a long trip to see something of the world and met a really nice girl. But I felt nothing sexual for her. At that moment, it became perfectly clear to me: I realised that I was just gay. That was when I decided to do my coming out all over again. I told everyone: my mother, my sister, my relatives and my friends. They all said: “Man, we knew that all along, ha ha!” But even so, I felt I needed to say it out loud: “I am gay”. Everyone had always thought it was okay, but now I could finally also say it myself. I had finally accepted myself.
Mixed cultural background
Since then, I feel a strong need to go public with my story. I especially want to support young people from a mixed cultural background or those who are Muslim and going through the same process. My most important message: “Choose for yourself!” – with an exclamation mark. The most important thing of all is that you accept yourself. It is your life, and if you feel empowered, you will see that others will respect you as you are.
In the end, no one ever reacted rudely when I told them I was gay. I’ve had a boyfriend for a while now, and my Muslim grandma welcomes him just like everyone else.