Getting to know oneself as who we are, what we want, and be the person we want to be is probably the most genuine and exciting moment one can have in their life. It might require a series of self-discovery and constant attempts to do something that other people may be afraid of. Below is the journey of one man in discovering himself and being himself.

Madii, a 26-year-old bisexual man, was born and raised up in the city of Siem Reap, a civilized city where “LGBTQI+ issue is not a problem”, he said. Madii was working as an operational manager in one company in the city before he decided to open up his own business. It has been only a month that he learnt about LGBT+ community through his boyfriend, and started involving in actions and activities of the community. This is because he was not in LGBT+ community since the very beginning.

His journey in discovering his sexual orientation and gender identity started when he was in secondary school. He believed he was a straight man, and he used to be in a relationship with a girl for two years. They loved and respected each other so much that even both parents knew and understood of their courtship, awaiting for their engagement and wedding day ahead. Yet, things didn’t go as expected. Sooner or later, he found out that his girlfriend was in a secret relationship with one of his male best friends. This shock hit him so much that he became isolated, talked less and lost himself. 

In the final year of high school, students are busy preparing for their high school examination. Madii also moved to live with his friend under the invitation from his friend’s parents for the more hardworking their son became when he was with Madii. They studied together, ate together, slept together and hung out together. “I don’t notice anything, [and] what I know is that I have a good feeling”, he said. Their close relationship made surrounding people think they were in love. Madii was curious and started questioning himself of his sexual orientation. 

This curiosity vanished when he met his boyfriend later in life. Thinking Madii could be the right match for him his boyfriend asked “Are you in love with me?”. This question blows all his doubts and darkness away, and he decided to give it a try.

Now, Madii has been in love with his boyfriend for more than six years. There is nothing apart from sweet words throughout their time together.  No matter what they face in life, they know that they got each other. And, what makes him happier is “he makes me feel like I am loving the person who loves me in the same way”, he comforted.

Encountering some prejudice and discrimination from his surrounding, Madii chooses to be himself and to positively look into his gender identity and sexual orientation instead of trying to avoid them in satisfaction of others.

Nothing is happier than you being yourself in front of other people. Life is short, don’t pretend to satisfy others. Be confident in doing what makes you happy and “pursuing the kind of relationship you want”, Madii hoped.

*Madii is a made up name by the writer as the real name of the interviewee was changed to keep their anonymity.

This article is written by Yeh Kyhok, a 1st generation participant of Story Corner 2020 which aims to break the stigma on LGBT+ through storytelling and the engagement of youths through dialogue and series of training on gay rights advocacy and basic journalism. Story Corner 2020 is hosted by Buzz Talk Cambodia

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