Fluid is our identity. 流体がアイデンティティ。

“You guys are like chameleons. Always trying to blend in, never believing in anything and never asserting yourselves,” I was told once at a Tokyo party by this guy I had met just moments ago.


In the moment I had a flash back to the time I had been bitten by a chameleon when I visited a reptile park near where I lived as a child growing up in Chennai.


I had been amazed at how unexpected it was that this slow, swaying lizard could so swiftly bite my extended hand. 


I had also been surprised at how painful the bite was, and when the animal released me, at how fascinating it was that the bite mark was a perfect “V” shape. I was seven years old – fascinated by all animals at the time.

また、噛まれた時の痛さやを超えて、手をひいた時にみた噛まれた跡の完全な「V」字型が子供ながらにも魅力されたのを覚えていた。 当時の自分は動物がとにかく好きでたまらなかった。

When my mind returned to party from those memories, I knew the guy had meant his comments as a back-handed compliment. It was obvious to me that he believed one should have deeply held principles and live according to their dogma.


His comments were as unexpected and as painful as the chameleon bite I remembered.


But it was anathema to me to have beliefs that were so inflexible and easily destroyed.


At the same time, I realized then that the world outside my shrinking bubble saw me as something to be mocked at like the lead character in the Woody Allen movie Zelig. I was also still a young and freshly out gay man when I realized that is how I and my ilk were being seen.


A decade before this party and many more years after that chameleon bite, I was a homophobic teenager in an international school trying to deny my sexuality and defending myself against assaults on my identity as people sang to me the words to Boy George’s Karma Chameleon, intentionally chanting the refrain “Karma, karma, karma chameleon” as “okama, okama, okama kamereon”- or “fag, fag, fag chameleon” in Japanese.


It was a stupid teenage boy joke of days before most people had any inkling of understanding of the LGBTQ community. I put on a brave face to laugh off their teasing. I knew they weren’t thinking too much about what they were saying and I could not be seen to take them too seriously either.


But just like the lyrics to the song, it made me a man without convictions. I was a man who did not know how to sell a contradiction as I listened to my lies.

でも歌詞同様に、「私は信念のない男だった。 矛盾を売りにすることを知らない男だった。 」まさしく、その時の私は、確かに自分の嘘に耳を傾けていた。

Some of those lies I told myself were


You need to find a girlfriend, or someone to marry


You need to be successful & moneyed


You need to be perfectly trilingual


You need thread carefully and make the first effort to fit in


You need to wear a mask woven at all times to meet surrounding expectations


You can’t always have what you truly want first


As I grew older, my insecurities faded or at least were momentarily buried by the fast pace of everyday life and I stopped listening to my most of my lies, one after the other. Howeve one conviction started replacing the lies — the conviction that I could change my colors and still be true to myself.


Chameleons survive by blending in, becoming as bland as their surroundings when and as the need arises. However some are also speckled in variegated bursts patterns across their body. Some change color according to their mood.

カメレオンは、必要に応じて周囲と同色になって身を隠して生き延びてきた。 しかし、中には全身に斑点状のカラフルな模様のカメレオンもある。彼らは気分によって色を変えるものもいる。

Many LGBT and TCKs share the experience of having for many years denied who they truly are. It is just so much easier to go along with the lies you tell yourself. Lies that seem like comforting truths. No one wants to be see as arrogant and self-obsessed, especially if you do not visual fit in with the surrounding culture.

多くのLGBTやTCKは、長年にわたって自分の本当の姿を否定してきた経験を持っている。 自分に言い聞かせた嘘に従うことは、とても簡単なこと、また心地よい真実のようにも感じる。 特に、周囲の文化にビジュアル的に同色なれないものたちも、傲慢で自己中心的だと思われたくないので余計に低姿勢になる。

But it is necessary to shed that old skin and show one’s true colors as one grows older. Who truly cares if you’re not perfectly trilingual, not the perfect homosexual, or foreign resident. Those who care that you are not perfect are people who don’t really know you or have your best interest at heart.


3 thoughts on “True colours : Un-apologetically TCK / 玉虫色な未帰国子女だけど、それがどうした?”
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