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10.22.2010

u.c. student regent comes out

On Wednesday night, University of California Student Regent Jesse Cheng, an Asian American studies major at UC Irvine, publicly came out after years of hiding and downplaying the fact that he's bisexual: UC Student Regent Comes Out In Wake Of Gay Suicides.

Years ago, apparently before he attended UCI, he had told his "homie" he liked men but his friends had beaten him up as a result, trying, he recalled, to beat the gayness out of him. He marched at his first gay pride march in San Francisco, but after his mother saw him on television, he denied it was him. At UC Irvine on Wednesday, he explained he "lived for" his mother and could not let him down. After his father found a rainbow flag he had collected, Cheng told his dad, with whom he was "not close," that he liked the colors. He also contemplated committing suicide. All this history of denial was the backdrop to his dramatic, unexpected coming out during a dark Wednesday evening at the UC Irvine flag poles during the University's speak-out and candlelight vigil against homophobic bigotry and hate in the wake of the suicide of gay Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi last month.
From everything I've read about this guy, it's apparent that he's an inspiring, outspoken student activist. You have to commend the conviction and courage it took to make such an emotional, public declaration about a very personal, private struggle. More here: UC Student Regent Jesse Cheng Comes Out.