A Testimony of Yves from Congo, who narrates his first time he encountered someone who is gay.
My first encounter with a gay person was challenging for me. It was a contrast to my cultural way of thinking, social stereotypes, and my personal belief. But I can say it was life-changing and mind-opening. It put me on a text of what kind of person I am and who do I aim to be as a person, as a human being, and as a Christian.
I was doing my first year in college, on weekend I used to assist in my family business. Naturally, I am a smiling and caring person. Working in a business I had great customer care due to my nature. All customers loved me, because of the way I treated them. I used to make sure they all leave the shop satisfied with their queries. They all loved me and always wanted to be helped by me because of the smile and care I used to offer them. But there is one customer who interpreted my way of treating him in a different way. He thought that I might be interested in him or I might be gay. He asked me for my number, I thought maybe he just want to socialize or maybe if he need help after working hours, I can always help him out. I had no problem sharing my number. Since he was a guy, for me I did not have any problem and I did not even realize that he was gay.
Later that day he texted me saying that he has a crush on me, and this started from the first day he came to our shop. The look I was giving him, the smile and attention made him have a crush on me. This was really a shock for me. I started asking myself so many questions. Like is this guy normal, do I look gay or does he see something in me that I do not see in myself? It was difficult to digest. I did not have any answer to give him. Because in my culture being gay is abnormal. I decided to share with my friends what happened. They were all shocked and asked that they would like to see that guy and beat him up. How can he be so disgraceful to me at that point? Out of ignorance, they judged it disrespectful because for them, he treated me like a girl and it was unacceptable.
From that time, I stopped being so nice to people. When someone come to the shop, I just do what they asked me to do. No smile or anything more. But I realized that this is not me. This is not my nature; this is not the type of person I am. Just one person cannot change me. I got to understand that people are different, and we need to accept people as they are. I realized that the guy was not coming at the shop anymore. I texted him and asked him why he does not come to the shop, also told him sorry for not replying to him because I was so shocked and never thought of such. I told him that I am interested in girls and that he should not be afraid or shy. The way he replied to me was like he has been waiting for a word from me for so long. He was so excited that he expressed everything in his text that he always wanted to tell me but ended by saying that he appreciated my understanding and for not being judgmental.
This experience helped me a lot in dealing with people who are different from me. Not only sexually but also from different perspectives. Like religion, culture, and so on. From that experience, I learned how to deal with guys that ask me out. I am always brief; “Sorry I am straight” in a polite way. One of the things I like about gay people (those I came across) is that they are so understanding, we always end up getting along.