Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I'm Gay! I'm Gay! I'm (gurgling sound..) ulk!

Don We Now Our Gay Apparel

This is late, but I guess something has to be said. I won’t rehash any of the other arguments made by some people, I’ll just mention my own.

You’ve got to hand it to this guy, he’s a retired member of the Philippine Supreme Court and by that same token, has just fouled the intellectual atmosphere with one of the biggest brain farts ever. Phe-yew! The whole thing about this article stinks.

The real sad thing about is, the underlife in his article is pretty solid. The erosion of Philippine public values is a deplorable thing. But he points us in the wrong direction – really, what does gayness have to do with the dumbing-down and increased vulgarity of TV?

Who decides what is put on TV? The supposedly-dapper gentlemen who run the businesses! Who keeps on supporting TV programs regardless of their dumbed-down content? The macho men of the food and beverage industry, the manufacturers, the telecom firms, the consumer products guys . . . aw come on! Let’s dispense with the hypocrisy and say it simply --- you stop the pipeline from being fed, the flood of stupidity will run dry.

Don’t blame the media. It’s the Corporate World that really pays the bills.

Yes, you have gay men running the shows in creative agency boardrooms, in film studios, on network TV, and what-have-you. It wasn’t a problem when you have National Artists Behn Cervantes, Ishmael Bernal, Rolando Tinio, Bibot Amador and Lino Brocka et al running the show. They are all gay, right? Does that make their work suffer?

Hey, it’s not the gayness that affects sensibility. It’s plain and simple vulgarity, or if you opt to indulge in name-calling, it’s stupidity, lack of culture, lack of good taste, period. And that, quite naturally, can happen to anyone. No one is exempt.

Not even strait-laced macho former members of the Supreme Court.

“The permissive belief now is that homosexuals belong to a separate third sex with equal rights as male and female persons instead of just an illicit in-between gender that is neither here nor there.” I don’t know if the good Justice was reading up his science, but homophilia is a natural occurrence in several species. It’s a function of environment. At times, it’s a function of survival.

Homosexuality was so rife in Victorian England it was conveniently ignored but politely tolerated. And considering what kind of advances were made in the “humanist” cause throughout that segment of the 19th century, I would not infer one or the other as the influencing factor.

What we have are emerging voices, emerging thoughts, where acceptance, not boundaries, is the norm. Maybe the good Justice should go back to the Ages where there was no electricity and infant mortality could not be held in check. Those were the times when men were “macho” and no ambiguity could be brooked.

That didn’t mean there weren’t homosexuals then. They just didn’t receive good press.

A part of me agrees with the good Justice that it would be nice if the world were a simpler place where black is black, white is white, and the good guys were better-looking and more refined. Nowadays, even the blackguards claim impressive pedigrees and doctorates, earn international recognition, make loads of money, and claim to be part of the New Future of the Philippines.

What does gayness have to do with the erosion of respect in the rule of law? In the decay of social institutions? In the onset of moral turpitude in public life? Or on the other hand, what does one’s sexual orientation have to do with simple decency and delicadeza? With professionalism and hard work? With creative vision and business acumen?


The vulgarity we so easily accuse, of course, is a symptom of the greater malaise that is affecting our society – in how our traditional mores, in their own way, have failed to proactively counter the raised banners of consumerism, materialism, and most of all, moral relativity.

Sure, when it comes to screaming faggots and their public display of cheap thrills, there is the do-right” side of me that says “ugh!” On the other hand, there is also this perverse side of me that can’t help but keep on looking. But that, dear people, is just a function of taste. But on the matters of our greater cancers… guess who’s to blame for all of these? Who’s responsible for corporal punishment? For hazing in fraternity rites? For incestual rapes? For multiple marriages? Your macho men, of course! Your culture of machismo is old, primeval, and at many times benighted.

Huwag kang maghanap ng masisisi, at baka manuno ka. The fingers of blame would all point back to you.

I can say this with confidence because several times I have been accused of, or secretly thought of, as gay. But here in Saudi Arabia, everyday, the prospect of homosexuality is so palpable that regardless of the blatant homophobia of many of our so-called “macho” men, many men, good men, men with beautiful wives, men with families anyone could be proud to call their own, find themselves facing the question, “To Brokeback or not to Brokeback?” and then failing the machismo litmus test.

I can also say this confidently because many Filipinos here, if not thought of as sly, underhanded, fisticuff-ready troublemakers, are branded as gay. While I have no illusions about the potency of my “mangina,” my tendencies are fully heterosexual. So it’s tough when some Arab or Pakistani tries to grope you or ogles you, or grabs his crotch, or shows his penis at you. It makes you laugh, but it also makes you think.

These are macho men living in a repressed world. And that’s the world to which the good Justice would like us to go back?

Uh-uh, keep that world, good sir. Keep that world of guns, of wanton violence, of pissing contests, of wars over turf, of rendering females into objects, of the conflict of this world, all for the sake of “machismo.”

I don’t believe in a gay party list, either, for practical and ideological reasons, because there are no such things as “gay issues,” only economic or political ones. But that’s a story for another day. But conveniently labelling gays and lesbians as the culprits for our societal degradation is a really long stretch of the imagination.

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