On Celebrities and Homophobia

A few days ago, Brian Gorrell’s blog posted this letter outing a local actor/TV show host:

Hello Brian,

I am one of your dedicated readers and I am sending you a photo of Paolo Ballesteros with a Caucasian male friend. To be honest, I was adamant to send you this photo. However, I find it disappointing that Paolo is hiding his true self to the public.

There is nothing wrong with being gay and perhaps, through your blog, he will realize this. He should never be embarrassed of his sexuality. Perhaps, this photo may be helpful in proving that what you wrote about him is true. No straight male would ever pose in a photo like that. It is too compromising. Don’t you think? Keep on blogging, Brian. You are doing the Philippines a favor.

Click here to read the actual post.

While I have always been a follower of Gorrell’s blog and while I do believe that sometimes you have to resort to the extreme in order to correct a mistake committed against you especially if the authorities and local courts prove themselves useless, this post goes way beyond what the blog has always been about… exposing wrongdoings for any minute chance that people will act and correct them.

Local actors just like everybody else have a right to a private life. They can choose to expose or hide their sexuality if that means limiting the work that they can do and avoiding the ire of moralists and the ill-informed that still think that being gay is a sin and is like a disease that you can cure. Celebrities DO NOT have the responsibility to tell the masses that support them, whom they sleep with and what they do in bed. That is none of their business. People DO NOT have a right to be disappointed if they do not know the most intimate details about these actors. Their craft is what you see on screen. Judge them based on what they do there and not based on their sexual orientation.

True, these actors should not be embarrassed about who they are but if who they sleep with becomes a factor for them to be unable to do their jobs effectively, then they should not be required to talk about it either. In our society where even the supposedly educated spew out the most uneducated opinions/comments about gender related issues, we cannot blame them.

Case in point – today an article was published about Piolo Pascual, a talented actor/singer who is often rumored to be gay. While the issue at hand is a simple explanation as to why the actor was not able to join the recently concluded Bench Blackout Fashion Event, most user comments were not even about the article but about the actor’s sexuality. Some of these comments are downright stupid and so bigoted, you’d begin to wonder if we are truly an evolved specie.

Throwing back these comments to the person who wrote the “expose” to Brian Gorrell, now do you still wonder why some people opt not to come out of the closet? While you think that it is your right to know who other people bed, would you be there to shield them from verbal lynching and would you share the burden it would cost and the damage that it would do to their careers?

In our country where bakla (fag) is used as an expletive along with tarantado (jerk) and putang ina mo (son of a b****), and coming out of the closet could mean jeopardizing your career , losing friends and even getting disowned by your own family, most people do not have the luxury of “coming out”. We can blame it on not having an actual law that protects the rights of gay people from discrimination… but such law even if it existed would only apply to the workplace. We cannot hope to stop discrimination in the minds of people. And until we do, nobody has the right to demand from anybody that they come out of the closet and reveal who they are if they aren’t willing to do so.

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