Yuki / Japan
“When I was 18, I almost jumped off an eight-story building in Tokyo.
I am an only child and my family had always told me to ‘prosper and populate the family’. When I realized I was gay, I wished I had not been born. After my only gay friend actually committed suicide (I never forget that day), I became motivated to save the lives of gay people and, to be honest, myself. Finally, against my friends’ advice, I came out to my parents. They were devastated at first but gradually became supportive and suggested that I move to a place where gays are more accepted, somewhere I could raise kids in a committed relationship.
So, I immigrated to Canada, which, in 2008, was one of the five countries where I could legally marry another man. I thought Canada and the U.S. where I subsequently lived were a utopia for out gays.
What I’ve witnessed instead was a subtle form of racism. When I started searching for a boyfriend, I was shocked to find numerous offensive online profiles such as ‘NO BLACKS/ASIANS’. To my further surprise, many of those who only date white gays are not only whites but also Asians and other men of color. I feel many non-white gays trying to assimilate into mainstream white queer community by dating or marrying Caucasians — ironically disavowing racial identities in exchange for their sexual identities. The phenomenon is so prevalent in the western gay community that it could adversely affect the self-esteem of non-Caucasians who are proud of their heritage.
As the world has seen tremendous progress in terms of legal rights for gays (though to a lesser extent for transgenders), I think we just need to keep on communicating and trying to make the world a better place one step at a time. Many amazing gay rights activists have addressed racial issues in the LGBT community. Who would have expected even a year ago that two Tokyo wards start issuing the same-sex marriage certificate? We sure live in exciting times and I am confident that the world gets better because of people like you.”