Gay pop star from Singapore, where gay sex is illegal, shares coming out story

Meets Wils! | Photos: Lester V

Who was the guy in the Open Up Babe video [below]?

He’s a friend of mine named Rob Pexton! Like, legit, just friend! He’s a super sweet, down to earth and loved Britney Spears!

You have a lot of chemistry!

When we got on set, Rob was super shy. During the first scene, Rob whispered to me ‘I’m super awkward’ And I was like ‘You do you! Let’s just be silly and have fun!’

I was actually really nervous but tried to hide it because I didn’t want him to get more nervous with my nervousness! I can never get acquainted to feeling comfortable in front of the camera. Thank god he lit up the video with his smiles!

We also secretly gulped down a glass of red wine that was used for one of the scene when the directors were busy preparing the drone!

Do you have a boyfriend?

I don’t think anyone wants to date me! I’m so awkward at times and say some of the most ridiculously things at the wrong time. Can’t take me anywhere!

How old were you when you realized you were gay?

At 13! I’ve been a singer for seven years being in the closet. When I hit 30, I told myself I can’t live my life being someone else anymore. It was just taking away all the joy from me when I was with my friends because I was just busy thinking about hiding my sexuality. All the time.

I couldn’t write another word for a song. I couldn’t sing without feeling like I was being truthful. It’s just painful that my life was basically a lie. And I didn’t want to be lying all the time. It was tiring and tearing me down.

I love my friends and family a lot. And I knew if I were to live a lie, I’d never be able to share the authentic part of my life to the ones I love. So I decided that this was it, accepted who I was, what I loved and told my old self ‘bye bish!’

You hail from Singapore. When and why did you leave?

I left at 2011 because I was working on an album in Spain!

What was it like being a closeted gay man in Singapore?

I remember when I was a kid, I’d hear people calling gays ‘ah gua’ in Singapore. It’s an equivalence of the word faggot or broken wrist. There was a lot of stigma against gays. It was really painful to witness people getting called names.

I think the hardest part for many LGBTQIA people in Asia is that we don’t want to reveal our sexuality because it would bring ‘shame’ to our family. And we would never want to inconvenience our families because of our sexuality. But things are changing and people are so much more accepting now.

Have you been back to Singapore since you came out?

Not yet! Gasp!

How did your Singaporean friends and family react?

I was really touched that my straight friends hollered and told me that they love me for who I was, that my sexuality doesn’t matter. My super cool cousin’s husband, who lives in NYC, reached out and told me ‘yo, we’re Team Wils forever, now hurry, get your ass back to NYC because we miss you.’

A week after I came out to my dad, my sister sent me a picture of him watching a music video of mine with my nephew. I bawled my eyes out, knowing he loved me and continued supporting me without telling me. My dad hasn’t seen this music video with Rob yet. I think!

How can LGBTI people and allies in LGBTI-friendly countries help our friends overseas, such as in Singapore?

By sharing LGBT-friendly posts on media! By standing up for one another online or out in public. I’m really grateful for the outpouring of love, support and acceptance from our community. Reach out to your brothers and sisters in the LGBT family when you know they need a hand. It’s with that that our less fortunate siblings overseas find themselves brought into our community, to know that they are safe, not alone and accepted.

Your 2015 video for Hola features a drag queen and the lyrics ‘love who you want to love…’ It seems pretty queer? Was this an important step in your journey to self-acceptance?

Totally! I joined my first ever gay pride in Madrid Pride and felt like a kid in a candy store. I remember seeing thousands of families at the pride showing support and love and I was like screaming ‘wow!’ throughout the entire parade.

I wished that my family and my loved ones could see that. And it was the love and acceptance from my LGBT family that gave me the courage of being who I am today. Life is so much more fun when you’re being you!

See also

Indian lesbian singer shares moving coming out story: ‘70% of my friends unfriended me’

Our sisters in Singapore