Slouching through Bed Spaces
On New Year's Eve of 2018, I came out to my mother in the kitchen of the shared apartment I was renting in Dubai.
By by Augustine Paredes
She is a widow, die-hard Catholic, businesswoman, and politician in the Philippines with two gay sons and a daughter. I am a homosexual Filipino photographer living in Dubai, a country where homosexuality is tolerated but illegal. In that particular moment, I wasn't only coming out to my mother but also to myself. And I am not the only one - there are millions of homosexuals in the world who fear coming out to the world because of certain circumstances and situations; those who don't have a voice, who are born not to have a voice, who don't have a choice, who are bound by restrictions of religion, politics, emotions, and fear - and look to migration and fleeing as a way to escape and start anew. My story is another person's story.
In 2017, I read Michael Hobbes' article on the epidemic of gay loneliness. After surviving the AIDS crisis, marriage inequality, and discrimination, the LGBT community still deals with unacceptance, marginalization, and loneliness. Did we carry our closets growing up so we can conveniently go back inside when the world rejects us on a daily basis? Hobbes' words were the words that I needed to read in order for me to understand my loneliness, longing, and yearning for something far greater than acceptance - happiness.
As a Filipino migrant worker in the Gulf, my voice is as tiny as the speck of dust in the desert, yet my story is a million others’ stories. This project aims to help tell my story in ways that can shed light on other people’s stories, in the hope that they may gain the strength to find their own voices.