For most people, hate crime and homophobia are things that we only hear about in the news. We never take it seriously because we never actually see anyone get hurt – at least not the people that we know. So we listen to the preacher on a Sunday service proclaim that being gay is a sin and we shrug off comments by influential people like Manny Pacquiao as harmless ramblings of someone who isn’t very smart. But guess what? These statements are NOT harmless. Aside from the emotional trauma for a child dealing with his homosexuality, who is maybe reeling from the hateful things he reads online about his gender, these are the very ideas that could spawn into the heinous acts that end up as a short blip in the daily news.
In a TV interview, Pacquiao said, ““It’s common sense. Will you see any animals where male is to male and female is to female? The animals are better. They know how to distinguish male from female. If we approve [of] male on male, female on female, then man is worse than animals.”
Comparing gay people to animals is textbook discrimination and this shouldn’t be something that he can get out of by quoting the bible. Given Pacquiao’s massive influence to the masses and criminals even, as it was reported that criminality rate goes down on all of his televised fights, such statement can lead to people getting hurt or even killed. What if it was your kid who is showing signs of being effeminate at a young age? Would you risk some uneducated thug beating him up because his idol said that his life is basically worth less than a straight person’s life?
Take a good look at the hate crimes listed below. Someone may end up on that list just because an influential person thoughtlessly incited discrimination and hate towards gay people. There’s a saying that everyone is entitled to an opinion. I think the line is drawn where hate is promoted by that opinion.
In May 2011, Jamey Rodemeyer of Buffalo New York posted an optimistic video for the “It Gets Better” project that tells gay people to endure bullying and bigotry because things do get better as you eventually meet open minded people that know that being gay is not a disease nor a conscious choice that you can opt out of.
On September 18 of the same year, he took his own life due to incessant taunting and bullying. “People would just keep sending me hate, telling me that gay people go to hell,” he said in the recording, which was posted to YouTube.
In Formspring where comments can be left anonymously, abusive messages were left whenever he would post about his unhappiness. “Jamie is stupid, fat, gay and ugly. He must die!,” one post said. Another read, “I wouldn’t care if you died. No one would. So just do it. It would make everyone WAY more happier!”
In a previous post I mentioned that in our own country, the word bakla (gay) is used as an expletive along with tarantado (jerk) and putang ina mo (son of a bitch) even among very young children. In the media, local actors who are rumored to be gay get judged for not coming out of the closet but as encouragement to come out, they are being ridiculed. Celebrities that have had the courage to admit who they are like Aiza Seguerra has been labeled immoral and has been subject to verbal lynching, not only by devout followers of the church, but by co-celebrities that are being looked up to by the masses like Willie Revillame.
I supported two things strongly this November. Barack Obama and the NO vote on Proposition 8 that intends to ban gay marriages in California.
While the entire globe celebrated the history-making victory of Obama, proponents of equal rights in California took to the streets to protest the passing of Prop 8 which effectively overturned the SC ruling and banning gay marriages throughout the state.
This is a direct result of the misinformation spewed out by church organizations that promote divisiveness instead of love which is their primal doctrine. Atheists are not banned from getting married. Why then are gay people, who only want a chance to be in a legitimate relationship, be denied this right?
A few days ago, Brian Gorrell’s blog posted this letter outing a local actor/TV show host:
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.
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.