“Is that rainbow flag for Pride Month?”
‘No, that’s just me.”
Sometimes big moments are explained in small phrases, and that’s how it was at a party earlier this year, as a new friend and I added each other on Instagram.
But sometimes big moments are a long time coming. The rainbow flag is a recent addition to my social media profiles. So are the flags of the UK and Hong Kong; representing respectively the country where I was born and raised, and my new home since February.
So what is it about this moment, for me, in Hong Kong, that means I am now ready and comfortable to be far more open about my bisexuality; if not shouting it from the skyscraper rooftops, then at least flying the flag online, speaking about it on a recent podcast, and volunteering in my spare time to help bring the Gay Games here in 2022?
After all, my sexuality is not new to me. And while Hong Kong is an open and welcoming city, with a small but thriving scene, it lacks some measures of equality compared to where I grew up.
The answer is Pride and visibility.
For a long time for me, Pride meant parades. And while parades are all good and well, they weren’t for me. Not my cup of tea. I’d no sooner parade my sexuality than I would my religion or political views––after all, you never know who might be listening. And especially while I worked in a public-facing role at the BBC, I guarded my privacy even more jealously. What felt like “over-sharing” was neither necessary nor wise.
But over the last 12 months, my understanding has changed. It’s been roughly a year since my then-girlfriend was offered a job in Hong Kong, setting in motion our move across the world. It’s been roughly 8 months since we were married, ensuring we could make the move together. In the time since that very big moment––the first four months of which the pandemic forced us to spend apart––I’ve come to realise the power and significance of being truly seen and accepted by someone.
From there my own Pride has grown and flourished, and so has my understanding. The parades, the speeches, the dancing, the parties...they can divert your attention from what is really going on, in the way a lavish wedding celebration might. Because just like standing alongside your partner and exchanging your wedding vows, Pride is about looking the world in the eye and affirming who you are. It’s a moment of loud celebration, but also of quiet insistence: this is who I am.