I was born and raised in relatively conservative Muslim family. I was taught that homosexuality is contagious like a disease. However, as I grew and became more matured (and educated), I learned it is not—at least for me, I never doubted my sexuality. I have several gay friends in Indonesia. One of my best friends since high school is gay. I have known him since 1999 but only realized he is gay in 2012.
I get to know a legally married couple when I study abroad. Cassio and Paul are my first gay friends who are legally married. I met them during LLM Programme at Queen Mary University of London. I just learned from Cassio and Paul that same sex marriage is legal in Brazil. Cassio is also an LLM student like me, but studying different specialization (I am studying dispute resolution, he’s intellectual property). Paul is his husband and a professional make up artist. They’re both wonderful people. It is interesting that their love story is pretty much the same with conventional heterosexual couples: they met, dated, fell in love, get married and, in the course of maintaining their marriage, do what married couples do: Paul came to London to be with Cassio despite his bright career as make up artist in Sao Paulo, they share the workloads in doing house chores, they explore London and everything the world has to offer, they’d be jealous if one of them is checking on another guy, they plan to buy a house and have children.
One of my best friends since high school is gay. I have known him since 1999 but only realized he is gay in 2012.
You don’t have to be gay or a girl to tell they’re both good looking, especially Paul. In a student party, I saw Paul was approached by a bunch of girls. I could tell from their body language they’re trying to flirt with him. Paul then told them he’s married. One of the girls asked “who is the lucky girl?” He replied in a casual and funny way, “Actually I am married to a guy. He even gave me this wedding ring! It’s diamond, girl’s best friend!” The girls soon became platonically friendly and talked about girls stuffs (makeups, bags, shoes etc). I couldn’t help chuckling when I saw that. I told Cassio that the girls are trying to flirt with his husband. He just shrugged his shoulders, benignly smiled and said: “Happens all the time.” I had a good laugh after that.
I don’t think sexual orientation is a factor to become friends. You become friends because you feel connected. People being people have the same need: to be understood and to feel belong, to be themselves and, most importantly, to be happy. I just think it must be harder for LGBT people being the “minority”.
I think one of the cruelest stigma associated with gay men are they are sexual predators and they are aggressively “proselyting” homosexuality. I do have uncomfortable experiences with gays, particularly when they insist flirting on me even when I have clearly indicated that I am a heterosexual. However, it is unfair to justify the said stereotype based on that. My gay friends, just like any kind of friends, don’t say or do things that make me uncomfortable. Well, there are occasional awkward moments, but awkward moments also happen in, again, any kind of friendships.
I don’t think sexual orientation is a factor to become friends. You become friends because you feel connected.
I have to say that sometimes the way gay people bring themselves socially can be—well—queer for me: the way they dress, talk, joke, obsession with selfies, etc. I admit that sometimes I frown or laugh at gay people’s queerness. However, I frown or laugh at anything or anyone that made me do that, including Syahrini’s Instagram posts. This proves that you can take out the gay factor and still make me frown or laugh. Everyone can be quirky and silly. Including me.
Suar Sanubari lulus dari SMU 70 Jakarta pada 2002 dan melanjutkan pendidikannya di Fakultas Hukum Universitas Indonesia. Ia konsisten berkarier di bidang yang dipelajarinya sebagai pengacara selepas meneruskan pendidikan sarjanan. Pada 2014, ia berhasil mendapatkan beasiswa LPDP dan meneruskan pendidikan pascasarjana LLM di Queen Mary University of London, Inggris. Saat mengirimkan kisah ini ke melela.org, Suar—begitu ia akrab disapa—tengah menyelesaikan pendidikan pascasarjana tersebut ditemani oleh istrinya tercinta. Hubungi suar melalui akun twitter @Suarsanubari.
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