“Don’t shut up just because you’re gay.”

Reposting from Yahoo! News Philippines by Kim Patria

Photo by EPA/DENNIS M. SABANGAN. From Yahoo! News Philippines
Photo by EPA/DENNIS M. SABANGAN. From Yahoo! News Philippines: https://ph.news.yahoo.com/blogs/out-and-proud/don-t-shut-up-just-because-you-re-gay-061812062.html

“For the record, I’m gay.

I don’t want to be a woman; I’m happy that I’m a man. It just so happens that I have a tendency to like—dare I say love—other men, and I choose not to fight that tendency.

But I write today not only to tell you I am gay. That does not concern you, and rightly so. I believe the world would be a much better place if people minded their own business.

Instead, I write to protest how being gay is still considered an aberration or, much worse, a sin. Some cringe at the sight of men hugging, holding hands or professing gay love.

There are Filipinos, in fact, who blame gays for this country’s problems. A taxi driver once said to me, “Kaya nagkakagulo sa Pilipinas dahil maraming imoral na bakla.”

Another taxi driver meanwhile told a colleague that he would rather have sons who are “macho at manyakis” than sons who like men. Gays, it seems, are worse than criminals.

This abhorrent attitude toward gays is why many choose to stay in the closet. It is the reason many keep their love for others of the same sex. It is the reason some die.

A total of 156 members of the Filipino lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community have been killed from 1996 to 2012, the Philippine LGBT Hate Crime Watch claimed.

But violence against gays goes beyond physical. Filipinos throw accusations of gayness as if they were insults. “Bakla!” is a taunt we hear from daycare to the Senate.

Recently, media reported that Robin Padilla, asked to comment on his daughter Kylie’s breakup with Aljur Abrenica, said, “Isang bakla ang gusto ninyong pag-usapan.”

The actor, who not long ago won the gay community over by reconciling with his brother-turned-sister Bibi Gandanghari, seemed to think gays are not worthy of attention.

Also recently, when I engaged a rumormongering relative online, she responded by alluding to me as gay. “Wag patulan ang sirenang nakatira sa lupa,” she said on Facebook.

The intention, I believe, is to force me into conceding on pain of being revealed as gay. She was, in effect, saying I am wrong—and I will never be right—because I am gay.

Logically speaking, my cousin’s statement was an ad hominem. Instead of attacking my argument, she attacked my person. I think it is the worst ad hominem there is.

This shut-up-you’re-gay attitude is a case study for a theory called “Spiral of Silence,” which says an opinion becomes dominant because the minority refuses to speak.

The Senate should be abolished. But you’re gay. The Reproductive Health Law is pro-women. But you’re gay. Education should be a right, not a privilege. But you’re gay.

This shut-up-you’re-gay attitude is exactly why gays should not shut up. Silence is defeat. Ours need not be the dominant idea, but that should not stop us from giving voice to it.

Until today, I intended to talk about the way I choose to live—and love—on a need-to-know basis. I figured, however, that by saying it out loud, I strip my gayness of power over me.

I will turn my head and wink when you call me “bakla” or even “sirenang nakatira sa lupa,” but that makes me no less proud of how “pogi” I can look in a coat and tie.

I used to shun labels and insist on being known simply as a man who loves. But, as this generation of Harry Potter fans know by heart, “Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.”

So for the record, I’m gay, and maybe—just maybe—so is your son, brother or anyone else in your life. Embrace him. Accept him. Live with it.”

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