Homosexuality can be tracked throughout history. In ancient Rome, philosophers, such as Socrates, were having sexual practices with their students. They believed it was a part of becoming a man. The Bible, one of the oldest books in literature, discusses homosexual practices among the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah. Some of the most influential people throughout history were discovered to be homosexual: Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.), Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) and Tennessee Williams (1914-1983). http://main.uab.edu/Sites/students/life/safe-zone/33566/
Homosexuality is worldwide and has a global impact on society. It transcends borders, cultures, and governments. The homosexual society even bears its own international flag, a rainbow which signifies the bond between different people all over the world. The society shows how peace can be achieved throughout the world, an issue that is important to everyone. The global impact that homosexuals have on society is the reason for researching their behavior and discovering the factors that may cause their sexual orientation. In the Philippines, the term gay has been used roughly to include homosexuals, bisexuals, transsexuals, transvestite, cross-dressers, and effeminate men. Filipino gays are mostly stereotyped as effeminate, cross-dressers, hairdressers.
Bakla or Bading, a Filipino word for gay, is commonly used; tomboy has a similar function, and refers to lesbians, usually of the butch and masculine type. For Filipino gays, the Tagalog phrase paglaladlad ng kapa (literally means unfurling the cape) refers to the coming-out process. Although gays and lesbians are generally tolerated within Philippine society, there are still widespread cases of discrimination. The Filipino gays find the backward economy a cramp to their style. Many of them are unable to leave home and even among those who can usually feel they have to support their extended families. In turn, parents who beat up their gay kids later on reluctantly tolerate the grown-up breadwinner who can pay the bills. It is an irony with two realities, making it hard for observers to really pinpoint if Filipino society really accepts or still rejects having gays in the family.
Significance of the Study
This research will explain the evolution of homosexuality in the Philippines, how the society perceives homosexuals including misconceptions and controversies about homosexuality. Specifically, this research will raise the awareness of the Filipino society with regard to homosexuality by providing sufficient information to help people understand the various aspects of homosexuality.
Evolution of Homosexuality in the Philippines
In J. Neil C. Garcias oral accounts research, women were well-regarded by the society. They were priestesses and matriarchs who held themselves strongly. They had the power to divorce their husbands if they felt like it, choose their childrens names, amass wealth and own properties. The so-called somewhat-women also had the distinction of being highly-regarded. They were called bayoguin (bamboo specie), bayok, agingin, asog, bido, and binabae. Part of their transformation was donning female clothes and acting as women. Thus, they were more than cross-dressers, they were gender-crossers. Like women, they were also babaylans and catalonans who healed sickness and intermediated between the world of the living and the spirits. They were respected leaders and figures of authority. Further, men treated them as concubines.
As womens positions weakened in the Spanishs patriarchal society, so did the gender-crossers who suffered ridicule and scorn. From bayoguin, they were referred to as baklameaning confused and cowardly. To the Spaniards, kabaklaan was a temporary condition which might be corrected using whatever persuasive, brutally loving means. (Garcia) Dito na pumasok ang pananakit sa mga bakla upang itama sila sa ngalan ng pagmamahal ng mga magulang.
Because there was something transient with kabaklaan, the Catholic Church had their sights more on sodomy and how un-Christian it was. Things changed when the Spanish arrived. Over the centuries, as the status of women progressively deteriorated, gender crossing became more and more difficult. Men who dressed as women suffered from the strong male pride introduced by the Spanish. From being likened to a naturally occurring species of bamboo called bayog, the native cross dressing man (bayoguin) in the Tagalog-speaking regions of Luzon changed into bakla, a word that also meant confused and cowardly. Cross dressing became seen as a temporary state that might be changed. Nonetheless, despite Catholicism and three-hundred years of Spanish colonial rule, cross dressing, effeminacy and gender transitive behavior never really disappeared in Philippine society. (IIAS Newsletter, November 2004) American Period
With the onset of public education and mass media, sexuality was linked to psychological studies. Same-sex desire was labeled as homosexuality, and gay and lesbian terms were coined. Moreover, homo/hetero distinctions were classified and put in a box. The Philippines subscribes to American education and it poses a problem since the homosexual (a genitally-male man whose object of sexual desire is the same sex) was equated with the bakla. The American period, in which arguably the Philippines remains, saw the expansion of the newly empowered middle class, the standardization of public education, and changes Filipino ideas about sexuality through academic learning and the mass media. This discursive regulation inaugurated an understanding of sexual life as something to be studied, one that required a new psychological style previously unknown in the Philippines.
Western psychology took root in the Philippines. As a result, the sexualization of local mentality, behavior and personality accompanied English-based education in Americas newly acquired colony at the beginning of the twentieth century. The force of this imported psychological view of sex has grown; present generations are subjected to levels of sexual teachings unheard of in previous decades. In other words, by virtue of American colonialism and neocolonialism, Filipinos have been socialized in Western modes of gender and sexual identity formation.http://lifetranslated.blogspot.com/2010/08/j-neil-garcias-male-homosexuality-in.html
The Story of Walter Dempster Jr. aka Walterina Markova Walter Dempster, Jr. is the last living man to have been a comfort gay to the Japanese Occupation troops in Manila during World War II. His story would have remained one of thousands of personal secrets of wartime shame were it not for the fact that it was dramatized into an award-winning movie.
Dempster had told his story many times before and he had a folder filled with newspaper clippings, photographs and thank you notes from university students who regularly came to interview him. Markovas story of wartime abuse is just part of a larger story about the Philippine gay subculture. As Neil Garcia points out in his Philippine Gay Culture, there is a distinction between the bakla or man who subjectively sees himself as a woman and his macho partner, the real man whom he seeks out for sexual favors. This distinction causes confusion on the part of the interviewer when the subject comes up. Yet it also raises the question of motivation on the part of the Japanese soldiers who raped him.
Dempster is a survivor in many senses. Not only did he live through his harsh experience with the Japanese, which several of his friends did not, but he was able to use his wiles and charm, sometimes deceptively, to get through the war and prosper afterwards. Flirting with boys, dancing with customers and even providing sexual services to American officers (who assumed he was a woman) are part of Walters gay personality before, during and after the war. He often talks innocently about making love, a term that has changed in usage over the years. For him making love is the playful verbal flirting that takes place on the street or in a club, exchanging compliments or admiration. Most Japanese are unaware that during the war, Japanese soldiers raped men. Walter Dempster, Jr. is last person alive who can bear witness to that practice. http://www.bulatlat.com/news/5-29/5-29-markova.htm
How Homosexuality is treated in the Philippines: Philippine Gay Culture In his book, Philippine Gay Culture: Binabae to Bakla, Silahis to MSM, Garcia differentiates a bakla to a homosexual: 1. Bakla as term is specifically denotative of the identity of the effeminate and/or cross-dressing male, while homosexual strictly refers to sexual object choice and hence it cuts across sexes. (And so, the term homosexual may be appended to either male or female, while bakla may not.) (Preface, xxi) Homosexuality is a general term to which the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community belongs and is not gender-specificwhether one acts masculine or feminine. A bakla, in Pinoy world, is an effeminate male alone. A lesbian cannot be called a bakla. A masculine gay man would refused to be called bakla.
2. Bakla connotes a certain manner in the same-sexual act which differentiates him from his masculine partner who is not considered a bakla precisely, while homosexual connotes a certain form of orientation, preference, or desire which both parties in a same-sexual experience engender and share. (Preface, xxii) A bakla exemplifies with the female role in the relationship, thus, s/he prefers and is attracted to a straight man. Usually he feels like a woman whether he wants to act on it or not (be transsexual), so he is a transgendered individual. Homosexual acts incorporate a great deal of affairs between the persons involved in the relationship that both share and experience. No gender-specific activities; no typical roles to play. Both partners can be gay (or lesbian) which is a no-no to a bakla. In Filipino culture, a straight man who had sex (for whatever reasons) with a bakla is not a bakla, therefore, is inconsistent with American studies.
3. Baklas specific history exists before that homosexuality in the Philippines, and until now, certain of its former nonsexual significance that relate to fear and confusion may be seen to persist in it. (Preface, xxii) Even though homosexuality is relatively a new study, Filipinos use the terms bakla and homosexual interchangeably, and both suffer the same social stigmatization especially that homosexuality was considered to be a disorder in the beginning. The baklas concerned themselves not only with how they present themselves in public, but also with the thought that they were sick and sexual predators. As homosexual changes from sexual disorder to sexual orientation, effeminacy becomes the target of homosexual studies. Effeminate behavior is likened to gayness which is not the case always.
Tom Hardy, star of Inception, couldnt expressed it any better in his admittance of his sexual relations with men: As a boy? Of course I have. Im an actor for fucks sake. Ive played with everything and everyone. I love the form and the physicality, but now that Im in my thirties, it doesnt do it for me. Im done experimenting, but theres plenty of stuff in a relationship with another man, especially gay men, that I need in my life. A lot of gay men get my thing for shoes. I have definite feminine qualities and a lot of gay men are incredibly masculine. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1298384/Inception-hunk-Tom-Hardy-admits-Ive-sexual-relations-men.html
Uma Khouny declared that he is not gay despite kissing another man.Nakipaghalikan ako sa lalake, gumimik ako sa gay bar. Because for me, bakla man o tomboy, were all the same, di ba? Dito lang sa Pilipinas is the weirdest thing ever na bakit hindi tanggap yung bakla? For me, were all the same. For many Filipinos, Uma seems to be gender-crossing for he is neither that masculine nor feminine. That creates confusion dahil hindi siya mailagay sa kahon.
We have to realize, though, that he grew up in Israel, and men out there dont exactly subscribe to specific gender ways. There are other countries with customary men kissing as greeting, yet they dont brand themselves as homosexuals. http://www.pep.ph/news/26378/uma-khouny-admits-kissing-a-guymdashand-he-likes-it 4. Finally, it needs to be reiterated that bakla and homosexual are terms belonging to two different knowledge systems, and therefore can only be irrevocably different from each other. (Preface, xxii) A bakla is a homosexual, but a homosexual is not always a bakla. It is significant that they be studied distinctively from each other. The study made by Garcia about homosexuality in the Philippines is important. It gave us clear highlights of its origins, current status, and destination of homosexuality in our country. (Garcia, 1996, 2008) Homosexuality of this Generation
When Filipinos see a couple consisting of two people of the same sex, the typical question that comes to mind is which one of them is gay? This question had always puzzled me. What do you mean which one of them is gay? Theyre both gay right? How could one be gay and the other not be? Why would they go with the same sex if they werent? Well its not always like that in the Philippines. The homosexual culture is a little different in the Philippines than its western counter-part. Homosexuals, cross-dressers, and bi-sexuals are all labeled under the term gay. Surprisingly in a Catholic dominated country homosexuality is widely accepted in the Philippines compared to other cultures, even to dominant American culture but there is still much discrimination towards these people. All gay men are stereotyped to want to be women and muscular gay men dont like to admit that their gay. Bakla (gays) in the Philippines fall into different categories: 1.Effeminate gays or Effems These include effeminate men, cross-dressers and transsexuals, who may use make-up and dress in womens clothes.
They tend to be concentrated in certain professions such as working in beauty parlors (thus the term parlorista) and in the fashion and showbiz industry as directors, writers, comedians and talk show hosts. Some work as entertainers, and a growing number work in Japan as female impersonators. Many of these gays tend to prefer heterosexual men as sexual partners. The motivation for some of these heterosexual men having relations with these gays is usually financial. Effeminate gays are referred to colloquially as pa-girl, malambot, or Boyet, which is a commonly used nickname for effeminate gays, while heterosexual men who are in relationship with gays are often referred to as papa or fafa. 2.Straight-acting gays or Discreet This population is found more in urban areas.
These men are not effeminate and will not use make-up or cross-dress. They are found outside of the stereotyped gay professions. Sexual preferences vary with some willing to have sex with other straight-acting gays while others will prefer straight men. Many also self-identify as bisexual, even if they only have sex with men, bisexual having been redefined locally to mean straight-acting. Straight-acting gays are called paminta in Manila and maya in Visayas and Mindanao. 3.Pa-girl Theyre the ones associated with the beauty parlor. They are into cosmetics, the more make-up you have one the more youre like a girl (or the more you look like a prostitute).
These groups of people are the typical gay stereotype that other homosexuals fall under. Pa-girls only want to be with straight men because being with other homosexual men will be like being with another girl which would make them lesbian. How would a Pa-girl convince a straight man to be his boyfriend and perform consensual sex with him? Money. Of course. It isnt hard to find a boyfriend if you have the money to keep one. The successful Pa-girls who win the most gay beauty pageants and earn more money doing someones hair have the most steady boyfriend. Steady income equals steady boyfriend. The straight guy will keep coming for his money. This shows the desperate situation in the Philippines that some people will do almost anything for money.
4.Pa-Mihn They dont dress like women or act feminine in anyway. They hide the fact that they are gay for fear of being unaccepted by society. They usually lead a double life by marrying a woman and then going out with his Pa-girl boyfriend at night. They are sometimes labeled bi-sexual. Bi-sexual in the Philippines doesnt actually mean that you like both sexes, you might only like guys but since most pa-mihn are married, fall under this category. 5.Urban Gays They arent ashamed of being gay and are usually more educated then the first two groups of homosexuals. Their outward appearance resembles the Pa-mihn because he doesnt like to cross-dress or look like a girl. They usually have a successful career and have a normal open relationship with their partner. http://en.wikipilipinas.org/index.php?title=Homosexuality_in_the_Philippines
Swardspeak or Gay Lingo
Swardspeak is a vernacular language derived from Englog and is used by gay Filipinos. It uses elements from Tagalog, English, Spanish and even Nihoggo as well, giving them new meanings in the context of this unique language. A unique trait of swardspeak is that it immediately identifies the speaker as homosexual, making it easy for people of that orientation to signal to each other in a place where such tendencies are not easy to display. This creates an exclusive world among its speakers and helps them to resist cultural adaptation. By using swardspeak, Filipino gay men are able to resist the dominant culture of their area and create a space of their own. The language is constantly changing, with old phrases becoming obsolete and new phrases frequently entering everyday usage, reflecting changes in their culture and also maintaining exclusivity. Examples with Tagalog and English definitions:
ace sanchez/ alitaptap top guy
aketch/ akiz me
backstreet boy the cute guy at your back
badessa gay who act like a princess
backlog/ badiday/ badingarzie gay
bulag make-up beautiful only at night
caladryl/ catherine zeta jonessexually hyperactive
chuck norris/ chuckie dreyfusugly
cover girlfront girlfriend of a closeted gay
cynthia luster/cynthia villarunknown/not popular
espluk/vera wang naexplain
forty-eight yearsvery late
five aray aray500 pesos
gora/agora/ kairulets go
hawaii five-o50 pesos
katol (katol-ong) looks like katulong
king-kong barbiebuffed good-looking gay
lydia de vegarun
malaysia at pakistanI dont know and I dont care (Malay ko at Paki ko) mrtpretentious (ma-ar-te)
queri/ keri/keribelzable, can do, could be
si rowenaunsuccessful (zero)
tom jones/ tommy lee joneshungry
voltronmuscular gay (baklang maton)
wahdano money (wah datung)
Up Close with Two Homosexuals
The researchers had the opportunity to interview two (2) openly gay in our barangay. Our purpose is to gather information based on real story about homosexuality. Below is the highlights of our conversations: Niko Trinidad also known as Kagawad Niko. Niko Trinidad is a 28 years old gay, a former Barangay Kagawad in Brgy. Lingunan, Valenzuela City. He graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Nursing in Our Lady of Fatima University in Valenzuela City. He used to work at the City Health Office of Valenzuela City and at present, he manages his own coffee business.
The highlights of our interview:
1.He knows from the very start that he is gay during his elementary days. He kept his feelings inside because his family will not accept him. 2.During his school days, he was an outstanding student. As a matter of fact, he graduated with a degree in BS Nursing. 3.Only after he graduated in college, he come out from the closet which he said the most difficult part of his life. 4.He was only accepted by his family especially his father when he was able to help them financially. 5.His journey started when he tried his luck to run as Barangay Kagawad and luckily he won. However, he has been criticized because of his gender and sexual orientation. 6.His dream is to become the Barangay Captain of our barangay because he wanted to serve and help his constitutions. 7.His greatest achievement in life so far is having a family who accepted him for what he is. In fact, his family is very supportive to all his undertakings. 8.His greatest fear in life is getting old and nobody will care for him. 9.Five (5) years from now, he sees himself serving his constituents as Barangay Captain of Brgy. Lingunan in Valenzuela City. 10.He believes in same sex marriage. According to him, it is the ultimate goal of being a homosexual.
Nestor Velez also known as Sushmita. He is a popular hairdresser in our barangay. He owns a beauty salon. He is the eldest of six broods. He hails from Leyte and a bread winner. The highlights of our interview:
1.He knew from himself that he is gay even in his early years. 2.Sushmita as his name by night, loves to compete in Gay Beauty contest in his younger years. He experienced criticisms and ridicule. 3.He suffered physical and verbal abuse from his father because of being gay. This triggered him to become a vagabond and that was the reason why he tried his luck in Manila. 4.Unfortunately, he never completed high school because of financial problems. 5.The most difficult decision he made was coming here in Manila from Leyte. Having little knowledge of what life would be, he set his foot here in Manila. 6.He does not believe on the same sex marriage because according to him no straight guy will marry a gay. Having a life partner is just a waste of hard earned money. 7.His fear in life is getting old without having any single money in his pocket and that is why he does not believe in having a partner in life. 8.All he wanted is to concentrate on helping his siblings in Leyte. 9.His dreams include having a lot of beauty in Metro Manila. 10.Five years from now, he plans to expand his beauty salon in nearby barangays.
In todays society, many people are concerned with morality. With the advancement in technology, homosexuals can undergo special operations to have their sexes changed and at the same time live a life of their choice to become gay or to become a lesbian. Many people wonder how come there is a rapid growth of homosexuals. As what Hillary Clinton has said, Being gay is not a western invention. It is a human reality.
Following that view and the lessons learned from these two unique individuals that we have interviewed, we believe that being a homosexual does not make you less human. You can still be a good person and productive member of the society. You can share and contribute your innate skills and talents towards self-development and in nation-building. You can make a difference to the lives of others. After all, gay rights are human rights. Equal protection of law is guaranteed by the Philippine Constitution. Whether you are a straight or gay, you are equal in the eyes of God and of men.
The researchers recommend the following:
1.For the society in general to be aware and understand the various aspects of homosexuality in the Philippines. 2.The lawmakers should enact laws championing the rights of homosexuals. 3.Further research on this topic is necessary in order to verify the facts stated in this study.
Gay and Lesbians in History
http://main.uab.edu/Sites/students/life/safe-zone/33566/ Homosexuality in the Philippines
http://lifetranslated.blogspot.com/2010/08/j-neil-garcias-male-homosexuality-in.html The Story of Walter Dempster Jr. aka Walterina Markova http://www.bulatlat.com/news/5-29/5-29-markova.htm
J. Neil Garcia: Philippine Gay Culture: Binabae to Bakla, Silahis to MSM Second Edition- QC: The University of the Philippines Press, 1996, 2008. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick: Epistemology of the Closet
University of California Press, Berkeley & Los Angeles, California University of California Press, Ltd., London, England, 1990, 2008. Tom Hardy: Daily Mail Reporter
UPDATED: 16:25 GMT, 28 July 2010
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1298384/Inception-hunk-Tom-Hardy-admits-Ive-sexual-relations-men.html#ixzz2IxVFfiEr http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1298384/Inception-hunk-Tom-Hardy-admits-Ive-sexual-relations-men.html Uma Khouny: Rey Pumaloy
Tuesday, August 03, 2010 @ 04:29PM
http://www.pep.ph/news/26378/uma-khouny-admits-kissing-a-guymdashand-he-likes-it Homosexuality in the Philippines
http://en.wikipilipinas.org/index.php?title=Homosexuality_in_the_Philippines Swardspeak or Gay Lingo
Swardspeak: A Preliminary Study: Reinerio A. Alba (June 5, 2006). The Filipino Gayspeak (Filipino Gay Lingo) http://www.ncca.gov.ph/.