Details on life under the Sultanate’s strict new anti-gay laws:
His English is far from perfect, but Fadli keeps his eyes down at his notes and begins speaking — slowly and with purpose.
“Mostly we are discreet and we need to hide our gay identity. We use Grindr — it’s very popular. Inside Grindr, Bruneians are careful and choosy. Sometimes people make private parties — mostly gay artists and celebrities in Brunei do that. We are in a conservative Islamic country, so we need to be careful. There’s no holding hands in public — this is a Malay Islamic monarchy. We just have to follow one rule: Don’t put it out there. It may sound hypocritical from me, but I’m a Muslim. I respect the new law and I support it. Because what I’m doing now, as a gay, it’s not right for me to do. It’s against the religion. But I have to, because it just came to me. I believe I will go to hell. Sometimes I want to change to be straight — I’ve tried — but I can’t. Most of the people I have dated are married people with kids. We have this secret. What to do?”
Anyone who doth protest gays too much always makes me wonder what might be in their closet. When an entire country or culture does it, then you have to wonder just how big the closet must be.