Ivan Yeo, gay Malaysian Chinese man, 30’s, Auckland

“I’m Ivan, and I’m from Malaysia. I’ve been here in New Zealand about 10 years, and I am Chinese. So basically, I’m Chinese but I grew up in Malaysia.

And it was back in probably the early ’80s when I found out that I’m gay, and it really had a huge impact on how I viewed myself growing up in a Muslim country, and also a very traditional Chinese family.

I think the biggest thing for me was finding out who I am. There were these really intense fears of letting people know who you are, because then, as a society, you wonder how it would be once you’ve been ostracized and are not being included as a part of the society.”

“And I think the most important thing is now my family knows my sexual orientation and they also embrace it, and also they like my partner. I think the harder things for any hidden secret is you cannot be honest with people you love, and you cannot share the joy and the hardship you have in your life. When I broke up with my previous partner, I was able to call home and cry, and told my mum why life is so hard, and all that.”

These are some excerpts from Ivan’s story, you can listen to his full story here