“I had my gay awakening at 9 years old, after stumbling upon a BL Manga” — William, 25 (he/him)
My older brother introduced me to Japanese manga as a kid. So I grew up devouring classics like Naruto, One Piece, and Hitman Reborn. He even taught me how to download manga online from websites and apps so I could access them without asking my parents for extra pocket money. Then it happened: I came across this gay manga called Blue Handkerchief one night as I was looking for something new to read. I can’t really recall how the story went because the only thing that stuck with me were the naked men and them squirting.
Looking back, I don’t think I was in any capacity to feel ‘aroused’ but it made me feel good and years later I understood why. I gradually got hooked and spent hours pouring over any kind of BL manga I could get my hands on.
For the longest time I only kept my attraction ‘virtual’. I didn’t go out with any guys until I was in Polytechnic. When I first when out with another boy, it took us almost two weeks to even hold hands. I think it was normal though, since we were both very young and new to this ‘gay’ thing. The funniest moment was us referring to a tutorial on how to make out before doing it.
“I went to an all-boys high school and fell in love with my best friend” — Vixen, 27 (he/him)
I went to an all-boys secondary school and honestly the whole experience is just so different from mixed schools. I remember how everyone was so curious about sex and open about it: we literally would talk about our d*ck sizes and even playfully touch each other.
Most of them were straight though but I guess being in that environment with such high testosterone and hitting puberty really just amplified everything. To me I just saw it as boy behaviour, until I realised I caught feelings for my best friend. We literally texted 24/7 about everything and I remember my phone bills exploding because we had limited text messages back then.
I felt more attached to him, the more time we spent together and I did not even think much about the fact he was a guy. It didn’t feel wrong to me because the emotional intimacy felt so raw, genuine and good. My friends I made in boys’ school were always just so much more intimate and open. Even when we went on with our own lives, they were the first people I came out too and they’ve always been supportive.
“I Caught Feelings For Women I Confided In, After Ending My 7 Year Relationship With My Boyfriend” — Pei Si, 28 (she/it)
I ended my long-term relationship of 7 years with a man when I was 24 years old. Soon after, I started having crushes on female friends whom I turned to for emotional support. Their warmth and kindness made me feel strangely close to them.
I felt so confused because I thought I was straight all this while. I always thought that most queer people would know how different they were from a young age and I couldn’t relate. I believed that I was just lonely and confused after my breakup, which led me to suppress my attraction towards women for almost 2 years. I stuck with telling myself that I was straight but bicurious.
The turning point came in June 2021 when I turned 26. A friend suggested that I could be omnisexual (attracted to all genders, but with a preference). It completely clicked with me. Reading up more about omnisexuality really helped me to realise that I didn’t need to be equally attracted to men and women for my experience to be valid, and that “bisexual” described my experience after all. It took a while to work through the internalised homophobia and embrace my queerness.
Realising that I didn’t fit into the typical heterosexual narrative liberated me to truly explore for myself what attraction was. Over time, I eventually discovered that I had a preference for women over men. I am blessed that my family and friends have been largely supportive, which gave me more and more courage to come out. Discovering that I was a bisexual and omnisexual woman was truly groundbreaking for me.
“My Girl Best Friend Fell Asleep In My Arms Once, And I Remember Feeling Sexually Aroused” — Christina, 22 (she/her)
I am a bisexual woman with a preference for men. I’ve always identified as straight. But I had an encounter 5 years ago that made me realise I was capable of loving another woman, more than any man I ever went out with.
Diana and I were from the same class in upper secondary and we got very close from doing O-Level coursework together. She always cried to me about the way her then-boyfriend treated her. I would invite her to my house to spend the nights when she didn’t want to be alone with her thoughts. She slept with me on my single bed. She drifted off to sleep in my arms once and I remember stroking her head and smelling her hair while containing my lust and excitement. I never came clean to her about my sexuality out of fear she would feel threatened by my behaviour.
I’ve always felt obligated to tell people that I’m straight because of my Christian upbringing, but my sexuality is now something that I’ve been more comfortable sharing with the people I meet as of late.
“When I started watching porn around 14 years old, I found myself paying more attention to the guy instead of the girl moaning for her life.” — Kenneth, 22 (he/him)
I honestly knew it at 6 years old. I even took those quizzes on the internet in an attempt to figure out if I was actually straight or just plain gay. When I started watching porn around 14 years old, I found myself paying more attention to the guy instead of the girl moaning for her life. Growing up, I liked girls and even had a girlfriend in secondary school. But my first association with a gay man was something I still hold very close to my heart.
We met on Grindr and eventually became friends. He helped me to navigate my LGBTQIA+ journey. I felt like he planted a seed in me and that’s where I got more confident in expressing my sexuality freely, even though I am not fully out yet.
I really hated myself for being gay when I was younger. But now, I embrace my sexuality fully. I think it’s fine to take things slowly. Being in a community that encourages you to accept you for who you really are is the best.
“I Realised I Had Romantic Feelings For My Best Friend After She Left The Country For Good.” — Zoe, 20 (she/her)
Wen Xuan was one of my only friends in Primary 4. We hung out all the time and were extremely comfortable with one another. We would even shower together, but I never thought much about it since we were both very young.
One day, I remember going down to her house to find her as per usual. The entire house was empty and I was in complete shock. She had mentioned briefly that she was going back to China, but I was never aware of the exact date. I cried so much and tried to find her over Facebook to reconnect for many years, but my efforts were in vain. It only hit me after she was gone that I was romantically in love with her, and I was deeply saddened for a long time.
My very first time going out with a girl was when I was 16 years old. We knew of each other for 4 years. We got together after I confessed to her. I was so happy when she said she felt the same way about me. We had to end things eventually as our school environment was extremely homophobic, and we were so scared that someone would have caught us together holding hands. Post-breakup, a mutual friend actually revealed that she wasn’t into girls and that she only went out with me because she felt bad for not returning my feelings. It got ugly very fast.
My experiences have not been the greatest, but that has never stopped me from being true to my feelings. I am now in an open relationship with my girlfriend of 4 months whom I met over Bumble.
How young were you when you realised you were ‘different’? What was your big awakening?