Grow out of GAM

Grow out of GAM; Grow into who we can be

I moved to San Francisco from Taiwan in 1999, having never heard about the term GAM before. Shortly after arriving, I ran into a friendly white guy on the bus stop in Castro. He was very helpful and introduced me into his social group. They were mostly interracial gay couples (Whites and Asians) and gathered weekly. It looked like a dream life for me. This friendly white guy and I later started dating and ended up in a relationship. I was quite happy having a normal life as a gay man. One year later our relationship ended. Starting my dating life, I very quickly found myself as a “GAM” – unwanted, undesired, and sometimes even disgusted by white gay men. There was a strong imbalance between whites and Asians in the gay community. The power whites had over Asians (and other races) was overwhelming. Some indulged their power and bullied other races dreadfully. When one white guy told me that I had to be grateful that he wanted to have sex with me, I almost could not believe what I heard. Dating as a GAM in the gay community was truly a traumatic experience in my life.

Face Reality and Say No to Nonsense 

The other reason that brought me to San Francisco was soul searching. In my early years, I was deeply troubled by my gay identity. Luckily, my suffering opened an opportunity for me to question life and its meaning. I went to North America for my personal growth and later devoted myself to the study of Psychology and Eastern Spirituality. It greatly evoked my inner strength to cope with life’s difficulties. Hence, I was able to deal with my emotional challenges of dating in the gay community and further step out of the victim role of racism and bullying.

The first thing I learned about how to stop my victimhood was to face reality. If I didn’t confront it, I knew I could never overcome my difficulty. What was the reality then? There was vicious discrimination and bullying going on in the gay community. One example was racism against non-whites. It was prevalent within whites, Asians, other races, and in rice queens (whites who are into Asians). The other obvious discrimination was the good-looking (hot) men’s power over others. The discrimination made many of us get deeply stuck in the power dynamic between bullies and victims. Allowing ourselves to be in this dynamic by believing “they” are better than us, basically creating the agreement that white and good-looking people had the right to discriminate and bully others. I asked myself, “Do I really want to take part in this ridiculous dynamic?” The answer was obvious. I didn’t want to give my power to racists and bullies. If I did, I knew I would suffer terribly from their nonsense. So I worked hard on facing this reality and got myself out of the unhealthy environment.

Say Yes to Real People

After that learning, I became aware of an optimistic reality: In our community, there were also many good white men. These people sincerely chose to be with their Asian partners. I was curious about this group of people and was wondering, “Why would they give up their power and have kindness and respect for Asians?” I discovered that it was not because they were into Asians. These people were mostly well-read, well-traveled, more open, and heart-oriented people. They were more emotionally and empathetically developed. In other words, they were capable of being real people. So I decided to turn my attention to this group of people and built friendships with them. Naturally I was a lot happier.

Who would not like to be treated like a human? In the process of facing reality and choosing what was good for me, I not only brought power back to myself, I also created a life that I wanted.

Anxiety versus Heart

During that time, I discovered another shocking truth in my unconsciousness. I saw that my anxiety was a big factor leading me to date white men. Living in a white dominated culture as a GAM, I felt a lot less powerful. Therefore I would unconsciously choose to date white men hoping to feel more secure. When I discovered this truth, I knew what I really needed was not a white boyfriend but a solid self-confidence. Fortunately my study in psychology and spirituality continued to be a big help. I began to cultivate my self-confidence.

I became fairly comfortable in my skin, I was able to resist following the lead of my anxiety. Instead, I learned to listen to my heart. When I asked it, “Who do I really want to be with?” The answer was not about skin colour at all. I was and am attracted to Asians, whites, and all other races. More importantly, I realized that I really want to be with a guy who is kind, loving, open and has similar values in life as me. From this new stance, I entered into two long-term relationships one after the other (8 years and 4 years respectively). Both partners were respectful, loving, and kind. They also happened to be white.

The Answer is in the Heart

Reflecting on my dating life and being in long-term relationships, the most significant lesson that I have learned is following my heart. My heart shows me that being a GAM is not my core identity, being a human being is. The person who lives in me has the great potential to grow. He is fully competent to overcome obstacles and to develop strength and wisdom. In other words, we as human beings are filled with infinite potentiality. If we saw our difficulties as catalysts for our inner growth, we would use the opportunities to grow into our greater selves.

As a single a GAM now, sometimes I can still hear my anxiety in my head urging me to look for someone. However I mostly just listen to my heart and follow its guidance. My heart continually helps me learn more about who I want to be with. It turns out that I am a guy who would prefer having a meaningful partnership than lots of dating experiences, who would enjoy cultivating heart-felt togetherness and intimacy instead of having impulsive sexual experiences with many people.

Therefore, my current dating life looks like this: I don’t actively look for someone with anxiety as a motive anymore. I am simply open and available for a man who shares mutual intention and attraction to come along. It works really well for me. I am comfortable being who I am, with or without dates and I am living my everyday life peacefully, with or without a partner.

I hope my experiences offer you new aspects of dating as a GAM. If it made you rethink aspects of yourself, that’s excellent. If it opened a door for your inner growth, that’s fantabulous. I have no judgments about enjoying lots of dates or pursuing tons of sexual experiences. We are all different. I sincerely wish for you to discover your own way of finding happiness in your dating journey.