More and more LGBT people are coming out. Many celebrities commit this step in order to support the human and civil rights of the LGBT community in general. Why is this not happening in Belarus?
On the International Coming Out Day, we contacted the Belarusian gay celebrities, whose homosexuality is known only in narrow circles, and asked them to respond anonymously to the question — why don’t they make a public coming out?
A Cinema and Theatre Actor: I don’t want all this negativity influence my child
In the situation of flashy hysteria, which is demonstrated by our government and the media in relation to homosexuality, the coming out issue is very important. But it has value only when it is a mainstream, rather than individual cases of creatively occupied people. Generally, if you think that you have nothing to do with homosexuals because hardly you have such people among your friends, then most likely it means that you either do not know your friends, or you do not have real friends at all. And probably, there is only one thing that restrains me from the coming out — I don’t want all this negativity influence my child.
A TV Presenter: my contract of employment will not be extended
My close setting — friends, relatives, even some colleagues with whom I have close contact are aware about my sexual orientation. Yet, I don’t want to discuss it in public cause it will directly affect my career. Although, there is no official ban on same-sex relationship in our country, there is an undeclared discrimination. If I come out, I will not get the extension of my employment contract on television. Along with this, I can fail to receive offers to host public and corporate events. People perceive me as a fancy alpha male. And the fact that I am a gay will destroy this character completely.
A Theatre Actor: Homophobes are ruling the world
Why I don’t make coming out? Refuse to accept LGBT, lack of tolerance and the high degree of resentment in Belarusian society are the main reasons. In the theater where I work there are several gays, but none of them will announce that publicly. This would be tantamount to quitting career in the theater, and in the city as well. The world is ruled by homophobes.
50 percent of my friends know that I’m gay, and the remaining half does not have a clue about. Not all people I am pleased to communicate with are ready to take it adequately. My parents, for instance. I know their health conditions and their world outlook… so my public coming out would be a hard blow for them. Our society is not prepared for that yet. As written by Eduardo De Filippo, the night has to pass. So I wander around with a flashlight waiting for the dawn.
Journalist: If someone asks me if I am a gay, I will tell the truth
I do not see any meaning, any need in coming out. My friends, friends of my friends and my boyfriend’s friends are onto about my homosexuality. And the circle of people who know is gradually expanding. But it happens by itself, without any public announcements. I toe the line of «no question, no answer», as in the US Army. In case my relatives or colleagues ask whether I’m a gay, I will reply «yes». But I am not going to do that by myself: no one needs to know that and no one should care about what is happening in my bed.
Besides, the idea of coming out to those who ask came not so long ago. Before a mere thought about this scared me. Actually, such fear was not only in relation to coming out. I was embarrassed even to tell that I have moved to Minsk from the region. It took time. And again, I do not declare that I’m from the region, unless someone asks. The same is with coming out.
Pop Singer: special bodies are searching for LGBT people
Unfortunately, this question is extremely tense in our country. People are not ready and are not used to talk about it. Of course, government intervention has acted its own part as well. Special bodies figure out LGBT people and can easily close or severely restrict their activities in any field. Also they can «ask» person to quit the position just because of the homosexual orientation.
There is lack of freedoms in our country: freedom of speech, freedom of expression. All this influences the personality and limits human behavior in society. Therefore many people cannot afford to live openly.
Very often LGBT people move to another country, or earn money here, but spend their free time in Europe. Those who do not have such opportunities maintain a secret lifestyle.
Nothing is going to change here sooner than in 5-7 years, or even in 10 years. However, it is obvious that the number of open homosexual people increases each year. Let’s hope that soon everyone will be able to love anyone he wants and will live the life in his own way.
Journalist: I’m afraid that I will be exposed as a subhuman for the public display
A couple of years ago I was careless enough to fall in love with a colleague of my age. I loved sincerely, tenderly, fondly, with a child’s hope for love back. Unfortunately, my unrequited feelings were cynically thrown on the bar of our colleagues opinion. Outing blow up my mind. I felt like a second-class person. Even though it was hard enough to get rid of stress, I managed to do that. By myself. Without doctors and suicide attempts. The colleagues accepted me the way I was, and I am very grateful for that.
Unfortunately, this personal experience restrains me from the public coming out in today’s Belarus. Meanwhile, I’m not ready to get out of my comfort zone, as I’m afraid that I will be exposed in public as a second-rate man. I’m also afraid of my family’s reaction.
However, little strokes fell great oaks. I believe and hope that one day me hand-in-hand with my friends will come out of the closet. And the others will smile in response, saying: «Does it really matter? »
Chief Editor: coming out like freedom
Coming out for me is a recognized necessity, as well as freedom. I’m on the way to this realization. I’m not scared of the consequences regarding change of attitude on the part of friends or work colleagues. It is important to arrive at the idea of coming out by my own, so that the need is originated in my mind. Another thing is the parents. It is difficult to predict the reaction, but I think they will be shocked. When the time comes, I will do everything to make my coming out less harmful for them.