This is another Coming Out story coming from Asia. Dwayne Wang shares his story of coming out and his relationship with Nicholaiv Villalobos in Singapore.
In a stable long-term relationship with Nicholaiv Villalobos. Dwayne and Nick have become the envy of gay singletons everywhere. Unabashedly open about their relationship, the Insta-famous couple have almost 40,000 followers between them!
However, their massive online following is not merely due to the fact that both of them possess an enviable set of abs.
It’s because they’re one of a handful of gay Singaporean couples who have no qualms about publicly acknowledging their relationship.
Before Dwayne got together with Nick however, he primarily dated girls. Although he identified himself as bisexual from a very young age, he didn’t pursue any gay relationships till he was 21-years old.
I consider myself someone who appreciates beauty in all forms.
Being born into a rather open family, coming out was never much of an issue for Dwayne. He came out first to his sister at the age of 21. It was during a self-awareness and actualisation course. When asked what his deepest secret was, he told the group at large that he was attracted to men as well. The reaction thankfully, was overwhelmingly positive. And that gave him the courage to come out to everyone else in this life.
It made me realise that being true to myself and being vulnerable did not make people lose their love and respect for me. In fact, it only deepened it.
Did not meet through a gay app
A year later, on a seemingly normal day at Columbia University where Dwayne was pursuing a Bachelors in Science and Engineering, he met Nick. And no, contrary to popular belief, they did not meet through a gay app:
Dwayne: We actually met through straight friends at college! End of freshman year in college.
Nick: We hung out with a group of international students, an eclectic mix of people from Turkey, Greece, Singapore and the US.
Dwayne: One of my best friends there, this firecracker named Alara, knew I was interested in guys, despite having primarily dated girls before. We had just found out that Nick was possibly gay too. He was also very straight acting and just came out of a relationship with an Asian American.
Nick: We were sitting on opposite sides of Alara at a house party. When I was jokingly hitting on her, she turned to Dwayne and outrightly stated “Hey! Aren’t you gay too Nick? Do you know that Dwayne likes guys too?” She then stood up and left us to awkwardly stare at each other.
Dwayne: We ended up chatting the rest of the night. Our friends even left us alone to clean up and find our way back to campus!
Nick: We had a nice heart to heart about our lives and family and sexuality, and took our time taking the NY subway in the dead of night. When we reached my dorm, Dwayne gave me a massage which I will never forget, and the physical ice was broken.
Dwayne: No happy ending though! At least not this first time.
Gradual strong bonding
Since that chance encounter, the two hung out almost everyday. From working out together to eating burgers by the steps of Columbia University together, they were inseparable. Two months into their relationship, they embarked on a trip to Hawaii to cap off the semester.
By their second summer together, the bond between the two was rock solid after having gone through many ‘couple tests’ such as living and traveling together. So, they decided to celebrate by going on a massive trip together:
We took Anthropology classes together, then used the civilisations we studied about (Mayan, Ottoman, etc) to plan a 60-Day blitz around South America and Europe.
But of course, their relationship wasn’t all fun and games. Like any regular couple, they had the occasional tiff as well.
Like every couple we have had our disagreements. But we know that all of these pale in comparison to our love and commitment to each other.
In line with his aim to inspire the LGBT community, Dwayne has very kindly agreed to share his coming out story with Dear Straight People so read on to find out more about his love story with Nick!
1. How was your first coming out experience like?
It was awkward, to say the least, but also very freeing and invigorating. One doesn’t realise how strong the unseen pressures that come from society and religion are until one has been freed from it.
2. How is your family coping with it?
My family doesn’t “cope” with it. They in fact embrace it and love me even more so for my choice to be true to myself and vulnerable. I am very grateful for their acceptance of non-traditional values.
3. What advice do you have for gay people still hiding in the closet?
Come out! It will change your life for the better and you will realise how much energy you have been wasting fighting yourself.
It is also the best way to convince people around you that gay people are no different from straight people, and to aid in the process of spreading love and understanding.
One pebble in a pond creates a small ripple, but many pebbles at once can create an overflow!
4. What has been the greatest challenge to your relationship so far? And how did you manage to overcome it?
The first summer was the most challenging. I thought Nick was just going to be a hookup and I was going to be all heteronormative and marry a girl eventually. We were casual up till Hawaii, and I had to come back to Singapore for 3 months for summer break to do an internship.
When I went home, an ex of mine was waiting, and it was truly a crossroad – The Local Girl or the Overseas Guy? In the end, I made the best choice of my life.
It was also our first taste of what a long distance relationship would be like. Still, we talked almost every day over Skype.
Yea, it was a weird limbo. We could have easily fallen back into what we then perceived to be the safety of conventionality. But despite the difficulties we thought were looming ahead for us, we couldn’t deny the strength of our connection, and as soon as Dwayne got back from his home visit (it was way too long!), we began to clearly plot out the direction of our relationship.
5. How has the response to your public displays of affection been so far?
Most of the time, we don’t even notice it! Granted, I am the one less comfortable with PDA. We reserve our love for when we are amongst friends, or on Instagram, where we hope our love can inspire others to follow suit and be true to themselves.
We are rather large and noticeable, but I agree that it’s been OK! Due to Dwayne’s invulnerability, we just do small things like hold hands in the movies and occasionally scratch at each other.
6. What do you think is the biggest misconception that straight people have towards gay relationships?
That gay relationships are not serious, entail “fake love” and are ultimately damaging and hedonistic.
This article and interview was published by DEAR STRAIGHT PEOPLE in 2016.
I am happy to report that Dwayne and Nick are still together! Quite recently they appeared on hotel advertisement for Pride Month.