Saturday, July 11, 2015

Coming out again. At 40. 齢40、いま再びカミングアウト。

This article was first published in English in the magazine "5": Designing Media Ecology (3rd issue, summer 2015) on June 12, 2015 (INFO).  It appears here with permission and minor corrections.  The Japanese, translated by Takako Matsui, is being published here for the first time. My gratitude to Sarah Lushia for her editing and advice, as well as the editors of "5" for the opportunity to write this article.

本記事は、雑誌『5: Designing Media Ecology』3号(『5』編集室、2015年6月発行ここ)に掲載された英語原稿(一部誤りを改訂)と、その日本語訳です(翻訳・松井貴子)。日本語訳はこれが初出となります。

~~~~~

My decision to move to Japan at the age of 23, two months after graduating from university, was motivated less by a yearning to live abroad than it was by a desire to leave the place in which I had been born. Growing up mostly in upstate New York and having had no other experiences with which to compare my life, it was not until I left my hometown that I was able to verbalize that I had always felt a sense of not belonging to the only place I had ever really known. Like an actor returning to real life once the filming is over, I somehow never felt that I was fully participating in my own life or that what was happening around me was real. Perhaps this was my way of coping with being bullied for not being masculine enough or for choosing choir and performing arts over sports.

 大学を卒業して2カ月、23歳の僕が日本への旅立ちを決めたのは、外国生活への憧れよりも故郷を離れたいという気持ちからだった。アップステート・ニューヨーク(ニューヨーク州北部地域)で生まれ育ち、それ以外の場所での人生というものを知らなかった僕が、故郷を離れて初めてわかったこと――それは、自分が知り尽くしているただ一つの土地を、僕は自分の居場所だと思ったことはなかったという事実だった。撮影を終えて実生活に戻ったばかりの役者のように、なぜか僕には、自分の人生を生きているという実感もなければ、周囲の出来事に対する生々しい現実感を感じることもできないでいた。おそらくそれは、男々しさに欠け、スポーツでなく合唱や表現活動を選んだヤツとして受けたいじめをやり過ごす僕なりの術でもあったのだろう。


Drawn to our school’s foreign exchange students and the children of soldiers stationed at the local army base who had returned from living overseas, I somehow felt connected to them even though I had never lived anywhere but the US. And I realize now that it was this feeling of being a foreigner in my own hometown that motivated me to leave and move halfway around the world.

 僕は、交換留学生や、外国から地元の基地に戻ってきた米軍兵士を親に持つ子どもたちに親しみを覚えていた。自分はアメリカにしか住んだことがないにもかかわらず、彼らとのつながりを感じた。いま考えれば、故郷から地球の半周先へと僕を駆り立てたものは、郷里に暮らしながらもずっと感じていたこの外国人のような気持ちだったのだと思う。

Although I was not fully conscious of it at the time, moving to Japan would give me an opportunity to reinvent myself and enable me to shed the shared history I had with those who grew up alongside me and with those who had taught and raised me. Given a clean slate, suddenly the only things that people would know about me were those that I chose to share with them.

 当時は明確に意識していなかったが、日本への旅立ちは、自分の生き方を変え、幼なじみや僕を育て教育を与えてくれた人たちと共有してきた歴史を捨て去る契機になろうとしていた。何もかもがまっさらであり、突然に僕は、周囲の人は「僕が共有したいと思うこと」しか僕について知らないという状況に降り立った。

One of the things I decided not to share with people when I moved to Japan was my sexual orientation. At 17, I had come out as gay to my mother in the summer before my senior year of high school. We were on a road trip, and I was sitting in the passenger seat nervously thinking about how I was going to tell my mom I was gay when she asked if I wanted to take over driving. As soon as I was behind the wheel of the car driving down the highway at 60 miles per hour, I suddenly found the words to tell my mom I was gay. And the courage to speak them had come from being in the driver’s seat and in control of the car.

 日本へやって来た僕が、人々と共有しないでおこうと決めたことの一つは、僕の性的指向だった。僕がゲイであることを母親に打ち明けたのは、高校の最終学年への進学を控えた17歳の夏だった。車での移動中、どう切り出そうかと気を張り詰めて助手席に座っていた僕は、運転を代わりたいかと母に言われ、ハンドルを握った。そうして時速60マイルでハイウェイを走り出したときのことだ。ふと、僕はゲイなんだという言葉が口をついて出た。運転席に座り、車を操ることが僕にその勇気をくれたのだった。

with my mom
 My mom’s reaction? “Yes, I know. I knew when you were two.” I also had known since I was very small. Although I had never wanted to be the princess in storybooks, I identified with her, with her desire to be free from the role into which she had been born, the bullying by an evil entity, the loneliness. And I, too, wanted to live happily ever after with a prince with whom I shared a love so strong it could overcome caste systems, the opposition of parents, and the expectations of society.

 母親の反応? こうだ――「知ってるよ。お前が2歳のときからね」。たしかに、僕自身もとても幼いころに気づいていた。絵本の中のお姫様になりたいわけではなかったが、僕は彼女の姿に自分を重ね、邪悪な勢力に虐げられる彼女の孤独な運命を思った。宮中の政治や親の反対、世間の期待をもはねのける真実の愛を王子様と分かち合い、ずっと幸せに暮らしたい、とも。


Just like in the storybooks, I even had a magical guardian to help guide me. Growing up I knew that my godfather, Brian, was gay, and after I came out he become a trusted confidant. Brian was more an older brother than father figure, and during a pilgrimage to the gay Mecca of Provincetown, Massachusetts, where he took me the summer I graduated from high school, he shared with me stories about his own experience of coming out. How fortuitous it was that my parents had chosen for me a “fairy Godfather”!

 まさしく絵本の中の出来事のように、やがて僕には心強い味方が現れた。成長した僕はゴッドファーザー(代父・後見人)のブライアンがゲイであることを知り、僕がカミングアウトしたあと、彼は心を割って話せる友人になったのである。ブライアンは父親というよりも兄貴みたいな存在で、僕が高校を卒業した年の夏、ゲイのメッカであるマサチューセッツ州プロビンスタウンを詣でる旅へと連れ出してくれ、道中で彼自身がカミングアウトしたときのことを聞かせてくれた。まるで奇跡じゃないか、両親は僕に「ゲイのゴッドファーザー」を選んだのだ!

with my Godfather Brian
It was not until I entered college that I first met gay people my own age who were “out and proud.”. Quickly gravitating toward them, I began to embrace my own sexuality as part of who I was and became the co-founder and co-president of the Lesbian and Gay Alliance on campus. Helping to arrange club activities and events raising awareness about issues that affected LGBT students, being gay began to define who I was. This was the first time in my life that I had felt such a purpose, and no matter what I did, whether it was serving on the student council or editing the student newspaper, I did it as a gay person and I made sure that everyone knew it.

 大学に入ると、僕は初めて「隠さず、誇り高き(out and proud)」同世代のゲイピープルに出会った。たちまち彼らに引き寄せられた僕は、やがて僕という人間の一部として自分のセクシュアリティを受け容れ、学内のゲイ&レズビアン団体の副代表になった。LGBTの学生に関わる事柄への関心を喚起するための活動やイベントに携わるなかで、ゲイであることは僕自身を定義するものとなっていった。生まれて初めて、僕は目的を見つけた ――自治会の活動であれ学生新聞の編集であれ、僕は何をするにもゲイとして活動し、ゲイであることを皆に知ってもらうべく行動した。

When people would ask me personal questions about being gay, I took it as a sign of interest and gladly answered even the most inappropriate queries. But after years of hearing the same probing questions, mostly about my sex life, I began to tire of being seen through the same stereotypes. Simply because someone is gay does not mean they are experts in fashion, hairstyling or oral sex. And when friends started using my sexuality when introducing me (“This is Ian. He’s gay.”), I realized that I was being reduced to just one thing — being gay — and it upset me, because while being gay was a part of who I was, it was not all of me.

 ゲイであることについて個人的なことを訊かれると、僕はどんなに失礼な質問も関心のしるしと受け取り、喜んで答えた。しかし、ほとんどは性生活にまつわる、どれも同じような興味本位の質問を何年も聞かされるうちに、僕はステレオタイプで見られることに嫌気がさしてきた。ゲイであることと、ファッションやヘアスタイル、オーラルセックスの専門家であることは同じではない。友人が僕を紹介するのに僕のセクシュアリティを持ち出すようになると(「彼はイアン。ゲイなんだ」)、僕は自分という存在がたった一つの事柄――ゲイであること――に収斂されつつあることを思い知り、愕然とした。ゲイであることは僕という人間の一部であって、すべてではなかった。


When I moved to Japan and made a conscious decision not to tell people I was gay, I did not see this as hiding who I was or going back into the closet. Rather, it was keeping private something that I saw as nobody’s business but my own. I embraced the high level of privacy granted to people in Japan and reveled in the lack of personal questions asked here, especially in the work place. Personal information such as whether one was dating or living with someone was never discussed, and spouses were never invited to attend work functions.

 日本に移り、ゲイであることを黙っていることにしたのは、自分を隠して再びクローゼットにもぐり込むためではない。そうではなく、僕はそれを、自分だけの事柄として胸の内に置いた。プライバシーを大切にし、とくに職場で、個人的な質問がなされない日本の環境はありがたかった。だれだれがデートをしていた、あの人は同棲している、といった個人的な話題は避けられ、仕事の場に配偶者が招かれることもない。

For the first time, I realized that knowing personal information about someone can actually be a kind of burden. In the west, you are expected to ask about someone’s personal life—“How’s the wife and kids?” or “How’s your girlfriend?”—but in Japan, I was relieved of the responsibility of keeping track of the kinds of personal details about someone that I had never even wanted to know, and spared of having to reveal such information about myself.

With conversations in the work lunchroom limited to innocuous topics such as the weather, my food likes and dislikes, and whether or not I could use chopsticks, I was never concerned if my sexuality would become office gossip or if I would be cornered by someone who just had to know “how guys do it.”.

 僕は、他人の個人的な事柄を知るというのがある種の重荷でもあることに気づいた。欧米では、当たり前のように他人の私生活を尋ね合う(「奥さんとお子さんは元気?」「ガールフレンドはどうしてる?」)。しかし日本では、さして知りたくもない他人の個人情報に気を配り続けるという気苦労から解放され、自分の個人的な事柄も、他人と共有することなく過ごすことができた。職場のランチルームでの会話は、天気、食べ物の好き嫌い、僕が箸を使えるかどうか、といった当たり障りのない話題に終始し、自分のセクシュアリティが職場のゴシップにされる心配はなかった。もちろん「アレをどうやるか」を知りたがる人からの質問攻めに遭うこともなかった。


This is not to say that no one ever suspected I was gay. I am sure that some people did. But the beautiful thing is that even if someone thought I might be gay, no one ever asked. And I liked it that way.

 とはいっても、だれもが僕がゲイだと思っていなかったわけではない。そう思った人はきっといたのだと思う。だがありがたいことに、そう思ったとしても、だれも面と向かって訊いてきたりはしなかった。僕にはそれが心地よかった。

When I entered into a serious relationship, the only people who knew about it were those I chose to tell. How refreshing that I could be seen walking around town with someone and that people would simply assume that we were friends. This was quite unlike the small town I grew up in, where being seen with someone was apt to start rumors of romance.

 特定のパートナーを見つけたときも、僕は一部の人にしかそのことを話さなかった。だれかと街を歩いていても、人は僕らを友人同士だとしか思わない――僕は心が晴れわたる思いだった。故郷の小さな町では、だれかと歩いているところを見られでもしたら、やれロマンスだと噂されるのがオチだった。

Shortly after I had come out, my father warned me against telling people I was gay before I was “really sure”, because, he said, “once you come out as gay, you can never take it back.”. At the time, I remember being insulted at my father’s insinuation that my being gay may just be a phase, but now years later in Japan, I understood what he had meant. Suddenly I was free to explore who I was without the fear that I would become a caricature of myself based on the way other people saw me.

 郷里でカミングアウトをして間もなくのころ、僕は父親からある忠告を受けたことがある。他人に告げるときは「充分に覚悟をして」からにしろ、というのだ。父はその理由を、「一度カミングアウトをしたら、後戻りはできないのだから」と言った。当時の僕は、ゲイだと言ってみたい年頃かとでもいうような父の物言いに傷ついたが、日本で過ごすなかでその言葉の意味を理解するようになった。そのときから僕は、「他者の目に映る僕の姿」になるしかないのかという不安を抱くことなく、自分という人間について考えることができるようになった。

with my dad

For the last eighteen months, I have been quietly working on a documentary, which is about, among other things, male sex workers who, despite having sex with other men, do not identify themselves as being gay, and, how this can impact HIV/AIDS outreach. Although this film is extremely important to me, I must admit that I had been unable to allow myself to speak about it openly because I was afraid that doing so would somehow out me.

 実は18カ月前から、僕はあるドキュメンタリー作品の制作に取り組んでいる。自分はゲイではないとしながらも男を相手にセックスをする男性セックスワーカーと、HIV/AIDSアウトリーチプログラムへの影響を描いた(それだけじゃないが)作品だ。しかし白状すると、これは僕にとってきわめて大切な作品であるにもかかわらず、僕は"MSM"のことを人前で話すことができずにいた。話せば自分のセクシュアリティがばれてしまうのではと怖かったからだ。

Photo credit: ©Uchujin Adrian Storey 2013
Here I was working on a film that dealt with issues of discrimination and equal rights, and I, as a gay man, was afraid to talk about it, despite the fact that these were some of the very issues I had tried to address as an openly gay student activist. When I realized that my filmmaking partner, Adrian, a straight married man, had been talking about our film with his friends openly for months, I suddenly realized that my silence had been contributing to the kind of intolerance and alienation upon which we were trying to shed a light. And it made me feel like a hypocrite for potentially exposing our subjects to discrimination while I myself was unwilling to assume the same risk.

 そう、差別と権利の平等を描いた作品をつくりながらも、僕は、一人のゲイとして、この作品について語ることを恐れていた。差別も権利の平等も、学生時代にゲイ活動家として積極的に取りあげていた問題なのに、だ。一方、制作仲間のエイドリアン(彼はストレートで既婚者)は、友人を相手に僕らの作品についてごく普通に話をしていた。そのことに気づいた僕は、愕然とした。僕の沈黙は、この作品が訴えようとしているある種の不寛容と疎外とに加担しているのではないか。僕は偽善者ではないか――作品に登場する人たちを差別にさらす恐れがあるにもかかわらず、自分はそのリスクから逃げようとしているなんて。

What had honestly started out as a reclaiming of my privacy by moving abroad had slowly, insidiously become a willful turning away from who I really am. It was in Japan that I had became a shakaijin, or full-fledged member of society, accepting my first fulltime working position, enrolling in my own health insurance plan separate from my parents, and leasing a car for the first time. But recently I realized that I will be 40 this year and have lived my entire adult, shakaijin life in Japan in the closet.

 海外へ出て自分のプライバシーを取り戻そうと純粋な気持ちで始まったことは、知らぬ間に、ゆっくりと、本当の自分からの身勝手な逃避へと姿を変えていた。僕は日本で「シャカイジン」になり、社会の成員になった。初めてフルタイムの仕事に就き、親の扶養を離れて自分の健康保険をもち、初めて自分の車をリースした。しかし気づいたのだ。今年40歳を迎える僕は、日本で、成熟した大人としてのシャカイジン生活を、クローゼットの中で送ってきたのだと。


After sharing with a fellow producer and friend that I had decided to come out in Japan as a result of my experiences while working on this film, she told me that she, as an out lesbian, would never have been able to work on a film like this with a gay director who was not out. She said that the fear that she would have inadvertently “outed me” would have created such a level of stress and paranoia that she would not have been able to work effectively on the film. It was then that I knew coming out was the right decision. And I felt an immense relief.

 僕は、プロデューサーであり友人である女性に、"MSM: Men Who Have Sex With Men"をつくるなかで日本でカミングアウトしようと決断したことを告げた。彼女は、カミングアウトしているレズビアンとして、公表していないゲイの監督と"MSM"のような作品を一緒につくることはできないと思っていたと話した。僕のセクシュアリティをうっかり「暴露」したらどうしようというストレスに苦しみ、彼女はこんな状況でいい仕事なんてできるはずがないと悩んでいたという。その言葉を聞いて、僕はカミングアウトが正しい選択であることを確信した。そして大きな安堵を覚えた。

For me, moving to Japan had not been about escaping from being identified as gay, it was about escaping from the kind of small town simple-mindedness around which I had grown up. Yet while I could take the boy out of the small town, I could not take the small town out of the boy, and now I find myself trying to escape again; this time from myself and from my own small-mindedness which has prevented me from being honest about who I am.

 僕にとって、日本へ行くことは、他者の目にゲイとして映ることからの逃避ではなかった。そうではなく、故郷を染める小さな町ならではのある種の素朴さからの逃避だった。しかし、僕は小さな町から僕の体を引き離すことはできても、僕の心から小さな町を引き離すことはできなかったのだろう。いま、僕は再び気づいたのだ――自分自身から、そして自分に正直に向き合うことを妨げていた僕自身の狭量さから逃げようとする自分に。

So, to all of my friends, colleagues, and supporters in Japan who did not know I am gay, I would like to tell you that, well, I am gay. And for those of you who already knew, like my mom, I would like to thank you for respecting my privacy and for allowing me to tell you when I was ready.

そこでだ。僕は、僕がゲイであることを知らなかった日本のすべての友人、仲間、僕を支えてくれる人たちに伝えたいと思う。その、僕はゲイだ。そして、母親ほか僕がゲイであることを知っていた人たちには、僕のプライバシーを尊重し、僕が打ち明ける心の準備ができたときに受け止めてくれたことへの感謝を捧げたい。

Being gay is not the only thing I want you to know about me, but it is a part of who I am, a part that I am no longer going to hide.

 僕についてあなたに知ってもらいたいことは、ゲイであるということだけではない。でもそれは、もはや隠すことのない、僕という人間の一部だ。


~~~~~
Born in New York, filmmaker Ian Thomas Ash is the director of the Japanese feature documentaries ‘In the Grey Zone’ (2012), ‘A2-B-C’ (2013) and ‘-1287’ (2014).  He is currently in post-production for ‘Boys For Sale", about male sex workers in Tokyo, and in production for his third feature documentary about children living in Fukushima.  Both films are scheduled for release in 2017.  More information about his documentaries can be found on his website: www.DocumentingIan.com

6 comments:

sierdzio said...

Great post, Ian. Your story reminded me somewhat of Siddhartha from the book by Herman Hesse. The main character there goes through a similar set of phases in his life (although the topic is entirely different).

Your post makes a very good read, and I'm really happy that you have shared this with us.

PS. Also, good to know you are working on more documentaries!

Umiko - Okasan said...

Bonjour Ian,
vous êtes franc et sensible, parfaitement humain et entier. Être soi-même est très important pour être heureux et s'intéresser aux autres et comprendre notre monde. Vous êtes avant tout très compétent dans votre domaine de cinéaste. Félicitations pour votre article où vous racontez votre parcours depuis petit jusqu'à présent. Continuez de nous montrer le monde à travers votre regard. Le monde de demain sera-t-il meilleur? Je l'espère. Je vous remercie pour votre soutien aux enfants de Fukushima et leurs familles.

Adrian/Uchujin said...

I'm proud of you for writing this, it's an wonderful piece!
I was concerned when we first started working on MSM together that it would force you to give up this aspect of your privacy but reading this I see I shouldn't have been worried.
I love and respect you as my friend and film making partner a tiny smidgen more than I did before (which was already a lot:).
Thank you.

James R. Fitzpatrick said...

Thanks for sharing, Ian. Like you, I was the son of a minister and I also knew from early childhood that I wanted to be held by the heroes of the books I read. I tried to escape the approbation of being gay that was heaped on anyone not living in NYC or San Francisco. I moved to Australia. But I still never could accept that I was fully gay until I returned to America.

I entered the business world and if anyone asked, I told them, but I did not broadcast it about myself, not because I was closeted, but because I was multifaceted and did not fit a stereotype. I wanted to be taken upon first meeting as a serious professional with a sharp eye for detail and a great sense of humor. Of course, I felt like I had the word G A Y tattooed across my forehead. But when I finally met Richard and we were seen as a couple, there was no longer mistaking me for straight. Things changed quickly and I began to experience homophobia in the workplace.

I still do from time to time, but it is so much easier just living out my life in a stable relationship with the man I love and not worrying about what people will think of me professionally.

I am so grateful to you for sharing your story as it helps all of us who face the same kinds of issues.

Ian Thomas Ash said...

Thank you all so very much for your supportive comments and for sharing your own thoughts and feelings as well. I feel extremely encouraged by your words and hope that other people who are struggling with similar situations will be similarly encouraged by reading them.

Much Peace to you all,
Ian

Sarah McKinzie said...

Beautifully written! Much love to you for standing in your truth and having the courage to share your journey. May you continue to be blessed in life and be surrounded by all of us who love you for the wonderful soul you are.