What does identity mean to you? Is it a role you play, your gender or job? Identity is made up of so much more: values, experiences, passions, personalities – the list goes on. Meet Charlz Ng. He wrestled with his sexuality and identity before coming out to his family and friends.
Today, Charlz is a partner at House of Fitness, a co-founder of Hybrid Group (bringing us events like Spartan Race and IRIS: Your Escape) and one of the volunteers for Hong Kong’s first Gay Games. He’s bright, bubbly, charismatic and confident. He shows us that true growth comes from embracing your whole self – even the parts that feel hardest to share.
Before I came out to my family and friends, I tried to prove to myself that I wasn’t gay – I dated girls, trying to deny the truth from others and myself – but nothing worked. I felt like I was wearing a mask. I was in a state of constant worry and fear, imagining what people would say, thinking I’d be judged for my sexuality. I wasn’t being true to myself and that was really hard. But, looking back now, my only regret is that I wasn’t open about it earlier. What I really needed was to accept myself. The real validation came from knowing people valued me for my personality, craziness and authenticity. They didn’t see me as one dimensional. They welcomed me for everything that I am – being gay is a part of that.
The fact that my family accepted me for who I was really helped. At first, my dad didn’t say anything. He needed time to process it. My mum was caring and accepting right away, but she was concerned about whether or not I was happy. She had the impression that gay people were depressed because they had to suppress their feelings. But I was very happy that I was able to come out as gay and I’m proud to be gay. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Our parents' generation grew up in a world that was even less accepting than ours. Sometimes people need to work through their own unconscious preconceptions before they can embrace the new. I’ve found real happiness in being open with my mum and dad. I feel more connected to them than ever before. If you're struggling to talk about your sexuality, remember there is no perfect way or perfect time to come out. But when you decide you’re ready, do it on your own terms, not for anyone else. With Gay Games, our main mission is to break stereotypes. Anyone is welcome. Our goal is to start conversations that lead to inclusion.
Embracing a community is about seeing the similarities within all of us. We are more alike than we think we are. Of course, there are still differences but that’s what makes it special. People should be able to accept themselves and wholeheartedly live their truth. And while having a support system is important, what matters at the end of the day is self-acceptance and self-love. It all starts from within. Once you feel comfortable and confident in your skin, everything else will feel easier.
Awareness is at the core of LGBTQ+ issues. But it isn’t something that can be learned overnight. We have to be willing to work on our own preconceptions and consciously build on it. If you’re a company, engage with public figures outside of pride month. Don’t commercialise your campaign. Don’t do it for the money. Don’t do it for the press. Instead, do it because the world needs it. The goal is to create an accepting and open society. It’s not just about tolerating our differences, it’s about embracing them. When brands and communities begin to live and breathe that mission on a day-to-day basis, you know change is on the way.
About this event:
Mox Bank and Charlz Ng invite you to join us for an evening of sharing difficulties, struggles, experiences or anything that you may want to say. Whether your story is good, bad or ugly we want to hear it. This will be a time to share with the encouragement of a support group. Like-minded spirits who want to show support are also welcome to join in and learn more about the experiences of the LGBTQ+ community.
Remarks: The views expressed by individuals featured in this interview are the personal views of such individuals and do not necessarily reflect, and, should not be taken as the views of Mox Bank Limited. All photos and content owned by Mox Bank Limited.
Download the Mox app on the App Store and Google Play now!