I grew up in an affluent, privileged, Chinese family in Singapore, complete with enrichment classes and Sunday school. I loved Barbie and Pokémon with equal intensity, and I would try to fit in with the girls while having no qualms about hitting a boy. I often thought about death when I was a child, but I suppose I had most of it figured out – eternity was taken care of by faith, and I would try to be a clever girl, marry a boy who would think my fat body beautiful, never have children, and die happy.
By the time I was sixteen, the issue of sexuality was close to my mind; not that I doubted I was straight – I just could no longer find any emotional conviction in the biblical truth I grew up with, that alternatives to heterosexuality were neither natural nor morally acceptable. Some of my closest friends weren't straight and I would not accept that they were going to hell because they weren't sorry about their sexualities. I fell silent about that which I used to protest with a vengeance, because I feared damnation for challenging the authority of the bible. Yet the taste of that silence in my mouth was that of remorse, resentment and the deepest sense of shame.
In my own small ways, I was beginning to question the legitimacy of heterosexism, like when I challenged my mom to consider the hurtful implications of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, or when I spoke against the use of "gay" as a term of ridicule in class. I dare not say that I was an ally then, neither was I familiar with the LGBT community – but that was when I started to throw out my prejudice.
At the end of my junior year in high school, however, I made a most unusual observation – I, a hitherto straight girl, was attracted to my butch-identifying soccer teammate. For all the months I spent scouring Google, however, I found no answer that hit home, being unable to trace any "classic" signs. There were no childhood crushes on older girls, or lack of attraction to boys. Neither was I able to identify with any of the "butch", "femme" or "andro" (androgynous) labels, further frustrating my novice attempt to find my place in the world of lesbian attraction. I was therefore ashamed to take on the identity "gay", "bi", or "queer", because those were for the self-assured individuals who got detected on "gaydars". Not I – I was in question; I was a poser.