Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Letter from Indonesia: "I Have Decided Not To Run Away"

We receive many beautiful notes from people near and far who have been affected by the stories in "Out In The Silence." This one from Shila in Indonesia is particularly inspiring:

Dear Joe & Dean,

My name is Shila and I’m from Indonesia, a country known as having the largest Muslim population in the world.

I got the chance to see your movie, "Out In The Silence," a few months ago at Q! Film Festival in Jakarta, and I have to say, it was a life-changing experience.

I lived for a few years in Canada just a few months after I came out as a lesbian. Life got easier because Canada is obviously a very gay-friendly country. I also was very blessed with the fact that my family and friends were very accepting about me being gay. Despite all of the love and acceptance given by my loved ones in Indonesia, I still thought that it’s better for me to live in Canada for good and to never come back to closed-minded Indonesia. I wanted to save myself.

But your movie changed me.

I remember you saying how you respect the people who decided to stay in Oil city and have the courage to live their lives openly in that small town portrayed in the film. I thought, wow, you’re right. These courageous people have probably helped and inspired more young kids like CJ compared to those who choose to live openly outside of their hometown.

And then I remembered my friends who organized Q! Film Festival, the biggest queer film festival in Asia, and the overwhelming size of the audiences this year.

Imagine, the biggest queer film festival in Asia is in the largest Muslim-populated country in the world!

My friends decided to stay, even though they could’ve chosen to live elsewhere in the world, and they have made a huge impact in the lives of people here, gay and straight.

I have always wanted to help create a change in the lives of young gay people. You guys have made me realize that, maybe, I could create a better change if I come back to my small-minded hometown and slowly help the people here build awareness towards LGBTIQ people.

How will I do that? I don’t know. But most importantly, I have decided not to run away to Canada anymore, and I thank you guys for that. I really, sincerely, thank you. I hope this realization would be helpful for a lot of young lives here.

Thank you, again.


Shila A.

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