Normalizing acceptance and equality: The gay ads in the PH II

On the surface, it looks like the PH is an inclusive country. But one look at the comment section on Facebook and/or Twitter threads whenever a hate crime is posted in the news or the subject of gay marriage is brought up and we get jolted back to the reality that we still have a long way to go.

I have cut ties with people who post lengthy justifications for their bigotry, often invoking God to justify their hate. The quest to educate is still there but sometimes we just have to accept that there are people who are set on their ways. And while I am at an age where I don’t give a crap what people think, the younger generation who may still be grappling and coming to terms with their sexuality, is in constant need for representation in the media.

Read: Normalizing acceptance and equality: The gay ads in the PH

Last year, a love story between two boys rose to critical fame and international success/recognition. Their message was simple – that love has no gender. Gameboys ushered in a slew of Boys Love series and movies, and recently an ad promoting inclusivity. That it is partnered with the City of Pasig makes it even more special and official.

I would have loved to be a gay kid at a time when content like this is shown in the mainstream. And yes, we have a long way to go even today. But this makes me feel that things are less bleak and maybe there is a chance for things to get better after all.

On bigotry, discrimination, and Manny Pacquiao

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?

Read

Manny Pacquiao Apologizes for Saying ‘Gay People Are Worse Than Animals’

(After apologizing) Manny Pacquiao’s Instagram account calls for gay people to be put to death

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.

Continue reading

My Husband’s Lover and the CBCP

Over the last few months, the widespread acceptance and awareness among Philippine audiences of the plight and lives of gay people have visibly changed. Whereas gay characters were contained in stereotype a few years back, now we are presented with a variety of characters whose lives may not be very different from a family member or that gay couple that live across your house. Good people mind you, that go on about their daily lives as any heterosexual person; many of them as Catholic as 80% of this country’s citizenry.  

Enters My Husband’s Lover – a progressive story of a gay man who succumbs to fear of having his sexuality discovered and cloaks it by marrying a woman and having children with her. It is a story that breaks the stereotypical portrayal of a gay man as effeminate, loud and flamboyant, or if he happens to be discreet, has the tendency to bend like seaweed at the sight of an attractive, straight guy.   Here we see actual gay men that exist in growing numbers in society today – handsome, well-bred, successful and intelligent. These men act just like any straight guy and excel in their respective fields. These are men that any person would dream of having; role models that any kid can aspire to be when they grow up.

This representation is unacceptable to the CBCP. In a statement aired on Radyo Veritas, Fr. Kunegundo Garganta, Executive Secretary of the CBCP Commission on Youth said that shows like My Husband’s Lover should consider that we are in a country that gives importance to morality. He also said that guidelines should be set for shows that are being being watched by today’s youth.  

Of course, we are not going to pretend that he is referring to the plot about infidelity as this is a staple in several other telenovelas and they have not aired their disapproval about those other shows. So we are left with two things: 1. the homosexual theme of the story and 2. the possible route that leads to individuality and standing up for who you really are no matter how scary and no matter how the bigoted society reacts.

Now, this show is rated SPG (Strong Parental Guidance) and screens late at night when little children should already be asleep. For other kids that are old enough to be aware of the concept of having a crush, I think with proper guidance, this is a good time to explain to them that there are gay men and women who cannot live with themselves and live a lie in order to be accepted – all in an effort to conform to the Fr. Gargantas and the CBCPs of this world. They have to know that being moral is not measured by whether you are gay or straight but by the good that you do. 

At a time when first world nations have infused awareness in just about anything that you see on television and on the web, the churches are losing their hold on the “educated” citizenry; more-so, the battle on equality in several countries, in what I can only imagine to be an alarming rate.   

In a developing country like ours, the CBCP thrives in using eternal damnation as a scare tactic for the ill-informed, even telling people that our culture should be different from those of foreign countries that have embraced equality and fairness as a doctrine. For a mentality that promotes hatred and intolerance in the name of God, a show like My Husband’s Lover can be quite a threat as it reaches out to the very masses that the church holds dominion over. It gives them access to a reality that most of us already know. It presents another face of normalcy, where the only immoral act is bigotry.

On Jamey Rodemeyer and the state of being gay in the Philippines

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.

Continue reading

Can’t Win ’em All

“In a time of impermanence and fly-by-night relationships, these people over here want the same chance at permanence and happiness that is your option. They don’t want to deny you yours. They don’t want to take anything away from you. They want what you want — a chance to be a little less alone in the world.” – MSNBC’s Keith Olberman

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?

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading