#BreakingTheSilence – Sharing our Stories

May 25, 2023

Content Warning: This post contains content that discusses abuse, mental health, suicidal ideation, illicit substances, rape and religion, as well as explicit language. If you are in need of support, please reach out for support: CMHA Peel Dufferin Branch (https://cmhapeeldufferin.ca/mental-health-information/find-help/), Distress Centres of Greater Toronto (https://www.dcogt.com/), LGBT Youth Line for 2SLGBTQ+ folks ages 16 - 29 (https://www.youthline.ca/).

Our bodies carry so many secrets; they hold deep wells of guilt, shame and anger that intersect with our identities. You’ve heard about us before; we stand in the shadows of Pride. We are told that we’re hard to find or that there’s not enough of us to have organisations cater to our needs. Guilty that we can’t fulfill what is expected of us, shamed for not participating in being out and proud, angry at systems failing us when we reach out for help.

This month, take the time to listen to our stories.


Hi, I’m 19 and I’m currently burying my nose in a pile of cocaine and popping ecstasy tabs at the cost of $90 a week. Drowning my sorrows seems so much fun at this point. Do I care if I overdose? Not really, at least it’s ended.

I don’t have to take that “brave” step to come out anymore. It’s funny, I got called into the dean’s office the other week to tell me if I don’t get my shit together, they’re kicking me out of the Law program. In my head I’m thinking who knows if I plan on being here another week?

I’ve already written 3 suicide notes and made an apology video. Maybe I’ll do it then? I come up with some lame excuse for now to hold them off. Am I really going to tell them what’s going on? Fuck no.

For now, I’m going to enjoy my drugs with these friends of mine who I know are only here out of pity for the poor little paki boy who can’t come out. That’s how I slipped through the cracks of the education system…


Hi, I’m 10 and my aunt has found a letter I wrote to myself. The letter includes a look into my mind, saying how useless I am, how much I hate myself, how I should just die; it asks—why did god make me a boy?

She slaps me for writing the letter; how else does a South Asian parent make their voice heard without fear? Of course, I deny writing it, I apologise for having those thoughts. She tells me that next time I feel that way, I can tell her—she won’t tell mom.

She won’t let go of trying to reaffirm that I am a boy and not a girl; that’s how god made me. There’s no way I can tell her that I like boys and that if I were a girl, I could like boys, I could have a “normal” future as a “normal” husband and wife.

I don’t have the language around me right now to know what “gay” is or that being transgender is something completely different. I’ll just get back to being bullied by the other kids for being different, I guess…


Hi, I’m 17 and my religion forbids me from drinking. I’ve never had a sip of alcohol or smoked before. I’ve lived a pretty orthodox life up until now; I’ve only just started hanging with these western friends. They think I’m being too hard on myself when it comes to religion, so tonight I’ll give in and earn my badge.

I’ve been served my first underaged drink in a pub; how liberating! I can fit in with these guys! Some of them are bisexual like me!

I don’t know why it seems to be more acceptable to come out as bisexual, rather than gay; but for now, it feels like I’ve let someone in on the secret. Someone knows; I don’t feel so alone.

Bisexuality is a real thing but, deep down, I know I’m not bisexual. This is the start of years of emotional abuse, feeling lesser, and shunning from my community…


Hi, I’m 12 and I’m in bed crying for my mum. I’ve spent the last week staying with my abusive father; tonight was the worst of it. I drew a heart for my younger half-sister to colour in. “Look Dada, Paaji drew a heart for me.”

Clutching the paper in his hand, “are you fucking gay?” *smack* “no, Dada”.

He beats me while screaming and shouting; words like “wuss”, “puff”, “gay boy” come from his mouth. He forces me to lift heavy weights and laughs at me. How am I going to be man enough to protect my sister?

Tonight, I’ve learned that expression of femininity as a man is shameful and that acting femme makes me a lesser man…


Hi, I’m 21 and I may have thought I felt low before, but this time I don’t know if there’s any coming back from this place. I’m in hospital with a mental health crisis nurse and her placement student. I’m staring at the corner bracket of the notice board on the wall thinking what does this white woman know about my pain?

Tonight I overdosed on my mom’s meds and gin. I was promised a happy ending for coming out! All I know is that when I was queer in secret, I was able to go about my life without much trouble and dress as ‘quirky’ as I wanted without being questioned.

Now they control where I work, who I speak to, where I go, how I dress and what I say. I haven’t got much of a choice but to let them shove me back in the closet until I figure out my options. I have no choice but to tell Jane that it was a silly mistake on my part and go back to my prison cell.

It will take me 6 years to undo the damage coming out has done. I can see now why gay guys just get married to women; I couldn’t cope with that though, I’m not that strong…


Hi, I’m 15 and I can’t quite figure out who’s in trouble here—me or the guy? The police have confiscated my cellphone, my laptop and keep questioning me on what my story is. Cop cars keep coming back and forth from the house with snippets of information for my mom, none of which I’m consulted or privy to.

I don’t know anyone gay at school, so I went online. I’m not gay though, I’m just confused! I’ve been talking to guys online, meeting some; my brown genetics gave me a beard at 13, so I can get away with people thinking I’m 18.

One of the guys lied about his age too; he’s a lot older than what he said. I hope I didn’t get him in trouble. I’m not gay, so I need to stop this. I’ll keep supressing these urges for a few more years…


Hi, I’m 19, should I tell someone? I’m not sure, it’s not like it was rape. I shouldn’t waste people’s time with this nonsense.

I mean, I did say no several times and he kept pushing…but after the fourth ‘no’, he stopped. So that’s okay, right?

It wasn’t rape but I’m never going to ‘bottom’ ever again. I’d rather keep in control of the situation. It’s going to take me 6 years to confront this and deal with my complex feelings around shame, guilt and sexual pleasure…


These are just pieces of my story. I alone can recount hundreds, if not thousands, of similar stories that I have helped carry.

We see others in our community, we acknowledge each other, we share our secrets and we comfort each other’s pain. We step in when no one else will.

When will allies and organizations stop using the same, tired, cookie cutter approaches with us? When will they peer below the surface? When will they support us in breaking our silence?

A male-presenting person sits shirtless in a blue-lit room in the corner. A rainbow light goes across their head and hand.

This story is part of a series highlighting the experiences of QTBIPOC folks in Peel. If you would like to submit your story, email us at rainbow@moyohcs.ca.

Acknowledgement of Traditional Land
We acknowledge the land we gather on in Peel Region is on the Treaty Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, and the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, Huron, and Wendat. We also acknowledge the many First Nations, Métis, Inuit and other global Indigenous people who now call Peel Region their home. As an organization we strive to learn as much as we educate. As such we welcome all perspectives and feedback – please contact us at justins@moyohcs.ca with any feedback or suggestions. Thank you.
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