David Lai: I love being David.

Here is another dedicated reader who would like to share his story with you. Enjoy!


Who am I? I guess I could try and describe myself in mundane terms: My name is David Lai, and I am a Junior in high school. I love to play many different instruments and sing. I also enjoy playing tennis for my high school team and working out on a regular basis.

I never really know how to explain myself to other people without labeling myself. All I know is that I am me, and I like who I am. I love who I am.

My parents brought me from China to America when I was 4 years old, and every day I am unbelievably thankful that they have. Growing up, I had a rough time adjusting to two cultures. At home, I learned how to behave in Chinese culture, and at school I learned how to thrive in an American culture. Undoubtedly, there are many clashes between the two cultures, but the conflict between the two has made me realize there is always more than one perspective. I know that this is a hackneyed epiphany – Disney has been all over this theme – but like a good Disney movie, my life has turned out pretty darn great.

One of the reasons I am thankful that I live in (a liberal part of) America is because I can tell people I am gay and continue to live my life without too much hassle. It is wrong to stereotype, I realize, but bluntly put: the possibility that I would come out in China is much smaller than the possibility of me coming out in America Life would be like an excruciatingly long and dramatic high school experience – rumors spread like wildfire, people entertained by mindless gossip, etc… Coming out in China would cause much gossip amongst my family and garner many looks of scorn from my peers.

For instance, my second maternal aunt shuns men, the idea of marriage and children, and lives with her best girl “friend”. She claims she is just not interested in men, and because of this my aunt has been questioned as a “lesbian suspect” by the government. (They thought it was suspicious that she was 50+ years old and still living in an apartment with another woman. She works for the government, which I believe is against gay rights) My mother’s family also talked behind her back about her living situation. In China, getting married and having children is a major social pressure, even more so than it is in America.

Luckily, I probably won’t have to deal with these social pressures to such an extreme extent – I can’t imagine the American government coming to my home and questioning my sexuality! I know my parents love me unconditionally, even if I were gay (they “don’t know” but it’s heavily implied). I also know that even if they do not accept my homosexuality, I have plenty of other people who would go to great lengths to show their love and support of me, regardless of my sexuality.

I didn’t always think like this, however. When I first began to realize I couldn’t suppress my homosexuality I was incredibly afraid of the consequences my sexuality could bring upon me. One of the first things I worried about when I came out was how my tennis team would treat me. It didn’t help that I was insecure about my tennis skills either; freshman year, I barely made the cut for the team and played last doubles on JV. After coming out – between the end of my first tennis season and summer – I thought “Great, I’ll be the gay kid who can’t play sports. I won’t have anything to back myself up.” Surprisingly enough, my sophomore year I made the jump to Varsity, beating out all the kids that had scoffed at my skills (or lack thereof) freshman year. However, I was still worried about being shunned by my team. My “gay label” didn’t just disappear along with my JV status.

After spending a whole season with the guys, I realized they didn’t care if I was gay or not. They certainly knew, but they didn’t care. All they cared about was that I could win matches for our team. At the end of the season, I thought about how little my life was really affected by being gay. It should be like that, in my opinion, because gay is just one of the many things I am. It would be rather silly of me to let one label define and constrict me. There is one label that I willingly accept – human. I am a human being, above all. At tennis clinics, I am an athlete. At my easel I am an artist. At the piano I am a musician.  During all these activities, I am constantly a human. That is the only attribute that transcends across every moment and action of my life.

Here is David’s email so that you can drop him a line: daviddlai15@gmail.com

About Brad,Robert,Ben

We are three kids from three different time zones, with one common goal. This is our voice:
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9 Responses to David Lai: I love being David.

  1. Philip says:

    Inspiring story.

    I turned 26 a week ago and I have been reflecting what I would be doing now if I was back in secondary school. I probably would have come out. My original sport was swimming, but when I was in secondary school I became good at tennis; I did a lot of tennis competitions and matches. Back in the day they did not encourage swimming as much, but at university it was awesome. So I went back to swimming and I enjoyed it very much. I competed for my uni. After so many years of not swimming and competing since I was 11, I went to BUCS (was called BUSA) and it was so cool to swim in a 50m pool in Sheffield. And it really was cool because the water was so cold.

    I also want to say this blog is awesome.
    Be true, be happy and be active.

  2. David Lai says:

    Wow that sounds great! Do you still keep up with both sports? I’d love to swim more and give my joints a break every once in a while.
    And if you don’t mind me asking, what held you back (or why didn’t you) from coming out in secondary school? That sounds like an interesting story.

  3. Philip says:

    I have not kept up with tennis, unfortunately. The last time I played tennis was a year ago. When I played, it was with a lot of top spin and high in the air, but sometimes I kept hitting in the net, but it took about an hour to get back into rhythm. It would be great to play again but at the moment I prefer swimming. Swimming I do regularly, almost two hours a day for three/four days a week. Yeah, swimming is a good sport and good for your joints. 🙂 You should swim more. I could swim forever in the swimming pool, hours and hours on end if I could.

    There are a number of reasons why I did not come out then. It was an all-boys grammar school, so coming out then was a huge barrier to overcome. I knew I was gay but I kept denying it. But I remember one incident when someone accused someone else of being gay and I was indignant, so I said something along the lines of “What have they ever done to you? So what if he’s gay?”. That shut him up and he was quiet afterwards.

    Also I was a maths nerd so coming out would have been extremely difficult. During break time when everyone was playing football or something, I would stay in the classroom and do some calculations on the blackboard… and I had a few close friends then. I suppose I felt alone, so I did not come out.

    Now I work in a school where I can help others to fit in, whoever they are and whatever their abilities are.

    I commend you for being brave and true. Something I struggled with for a long time.

  4. Ines Hill says:

    excellent points altogether, you just gained a brand new reader. What would you recommend in regards to your post that you made a few days ago? Any positive?

  5. David Lai says:

    Thanks Ines! I’m always thankful for a new reader (: I’m not sure I understand your question, however. Do you mean to ask if I’ve had any positive feedback/support from friends?

  6. Jas Friedman says:

    I am wondering. It must be quite a challenge to be of two different cultures.

    Have you come out to your parents yet?

    I wish I was good at tennis, though I often play badminton.

  7. Scott says:

    Your story sounds so amazing. I can’t imagine how much guts it must have taken to come out. You sound like a great guy who has only benefitted from this change- there must be reasons you regret coming out, but it sounds like you’ve embraced the positive outcomes and from it just grown as a person. Sometimes things happen that we really would rather not, but sometimes they are meant to happen and in the long run we’re kind of thankful for them 🙂
    i truly enjoyed reading your blog! Do you write any other blogs? Let me know, I’d love to read more of your writing!

  8. David Lai says:

    To Jas: I have come out to my Dad now (totally unplanned, but it’s working out still). I have yet to tell my mom though… she has a lot on her plate right now so I think it should wait a little. My dad probably won’t tell my mom either, since he’s sort of ignoring my sexuality – which I much rather prefer than him obsessing over it. It’s like nothing changed between us, and I love him even more for that. It’s not all too bad being raised up between two cultures. It provides for some amusing Chinglish (Chinese + English) conversations ( :

    To Scott: Thank you!! That is exactly what I strive to do, so I’m glad you got that through my post (: I do write a blog on tumblr: http://www.brotherssingon.tumblr.com
    I may be blogging on the GYC soon as well, but I’ll keep you updated on that. Feel free to email me though! I’d love to talk to you more – you seem like a great fella as well!

  9. Jas Friedman says:

    People’s attitude to homosexuality will change. It is probably a cultural thing too. But my parents were not happy at all with my sexuality. It’s good to see there is love out there.

    How have your friends reacted with you coming out?

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