Friday, December 19, 2008

Closet Talks

I've been thinking about closets recently and it's not just because Kiks and I are thinking of looking for one that can accommodate clothes and knick-knacks accumulated for years.

A question that nagged me a couple of days back was: can a relationship between an out gay man and a closeted one work? My opinion is that, yes it might for a while but there will come a point where the matter will have to get resolved: should the closeted person come out or the out gay guy comes back in the closet?

Basically, I think that for an out gay guy, going back to the closet is a very hard thing to do. It's too constricting, it's dark, it's messy and it's a place you'll never want to come back to once you've experienced being in the open. After the personal liberation of coming out, to be guarded once again with how you act, how you speak and the freedom of saying that "he's hot" to anyone without apologies is surely a gut-wrenching decision.

But of course, coming out is a decision that must not be forced. Else, instead of that sweet feeling of finally being able to do so, it becomes a bitter source of resentment and self-loathing.

Thoughts about closets once again came up after I finally watched Milk.

Indeed it was about the life of Harvey Milk. But it was the message of what he did while he lived that struck me more powerfully: gays must come out.

His advocacy to promote the rights of gays and protect the gains of the gay movement was both acts for out gay men to rally and an encouragement for closeted guys to come out. He thus worked for policies that could set the condition for those in the closet to be able to come out without shame and fear of any form of retribution.

Like any movement for change, it has ups and downs. But perseverance is hinged on and can lead to hope. For at the end, anyone who has been in an oppressed condition will want for a better one.

Every pride march, every rally for a gay cause and every time that someone speaks and acts for gay rights is a message to those in the closet that says, yes it can be done. Moreover, it must be done for, cliché as it may sound; it is in being and doing things together that give us the resolve to push forward.

Now I know I sound agitated.

Still the films let me look back to the times I spent inside the comfort of a closet that is actually a prison. We always say that experience is the best teacher and closets are not built to allow one to live and learn from the nooks and crannies of the gay life.

And yeah, if I have to live the gay life with someone like James Franco, I'll smash that closet into pieces.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ayokong magmura, pero …

Namputcha naman!

Nang mabasa ko ito, hindi ko napigilan ang mainis. Hindi lang ito simpleng gimik. Walang kahihiyang panloloko na ito.

Sa mga susunod na buwan eh nanganganib na mawalan ng trabaho ang libo-libong mga OFWs. Ang balita nga, mahigit 1,000 pa ang mapapauwi mula sa Taiwan ngayong buwang ito. Sa Macau ay may 500 na ang natanggal sa trabaho sa construction sector at may mahigit pang 12,000 na migrante ng iba't ibang lahi na nagta-trabaho sa casino ang hindi na raw ire-renew ang kontrata. Meron pang 500 sa property sector naman sa UAE ang nawalan na ng trabaho.

Kung sa kada 100 mapapa-uwing OFW ay magpapa- photo-op si Gloria, sana ay tamaan na sya ng kidlat sa pagiging sinungaling.


Namputcha naman ulit!

Ilang linggo ko na ring nababasa ang hinggil sa isyu na ito: ang pagkakait ng tenure ng Sociology Department ng College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (CSSP) ng UP Diliman kay Prop. Sarah Raymundo.

Ni ha ni ho ay walang sinabi ang puno ng departamento kung bakit. Basta na lamang sinabihan si Prop. Raymundo na hindi na nya kailangang magturo simula noong Nobyembre 6 at matatanggal na sya sa unibersidad pagkatapos ng kanyang kontrata sa Marso. Sampung taon ng nagtuturo si Sarah sa UP at naabot na nya ang mga rekisito para maging tenured faculty – may MA, magandang ebalwasyon ng kapwa-guro at estudyante, at may mga na-publish na sa mga kinikilalang journals.

Dahil wala namang iba pang maibigay na rason, simple lamang ang pagsusuri ng mga kapwa-guro, kaibigan at kasama ni Sarah: aktibista kasi sya.

Malayang kaisipan sa malayang pamantasan. Diba? Diba?!

Sa personal na antas, kilala ko na si Sarah noong estudyante pa lang sya. CNS sya at LFS ako. Kabatak, kaibigan at kasama. Bakla sya kung baklaan ang usapan pero hindi rin sya umuurong sa seryosong mga talakayan.

Ano na ba ang nangyayari sa UP Diliman?


Pagkatapos ng aking mga rants, Pride naman.

Wagi sya. Yun lang. Sa susunod na Pride March ulit …

(Salamat kay Kiks sa pagpapahiram ng larawan)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Pride against prejudice

A couple of things inspired me to write this. First was Lyka's post on the movie Milk. Second was the coming first Pride March in Hong Kong this Saturday. Third was because a friend of mine urged me to write about Pride.

But at the end, it is because I am gay.

Pride is a deadly sin and so they said. But if you've taken beatings once too many, it is liberating.

When I think of Pride, I think of celebration. I haven't been in a Pride March for it was only in Hong Kong did I come out. But anybody who's seen Queer as Folk or just knows how to browse the internet will have seen the rainbow of colors decorating floats and marchers in all the Pride events in the world.

When I think of Pride, I think of men and women – homosexuals and heterosexuals – who, in their own ways, have strived to make this world a place where gays need not live in fear. Of groups like Progay Philippines who have endeavored to make homosexuality a matter that should not only be discussed in hushed whispers or within the walls of the academe. Of the likes of Jonjon whose case has shown that reasons abound for such marches.

When I think of Pride, I think not only of individual pride on who I am, how I turned out to be and how I will still be. Beyond this is the collective pride in the community whose struggles have seen highs and lows but still standing. There may be differences in opinions and various debates even among us but still, the common cause against discrimination and prejudices and destroying the myths on homosexuality remains.

Lyka asked how far have we gone since the time of Harvey Milk? If I may dare add, how far are we willing to go?

I know that you cannot live on hope alone. But without it, life is not worth living. And you, and you and you gotta give them hope. – Harvey Milk

The Pride March may only be for one day and, in fact, for only two hours. But the pride and hope that it gives may last for a lifetime.


On a different but related note, tomorrow is the International Human Rights Day. Allow me to share this video of the human rights situation in the Philippines. Nothing that I may say can equal the message that the images here evoke.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Emote lang

Lately, I've been feeling restless. I feel like I'm drifting.

It's not about work. I still love what I'm doing and it is not that stressful. If truth be told, the pressure of the past month was not as great as before.

It ain't about romance as well because I've already made peace with my decision months ago to not dwell on it for the rest of the year. After a couple of bumps, I have moved on and I've no plans of stopping.

Maybe it is because I haven't been home for the past 18 months. Though I am used to being away, this is the longest period that I haven't taken a home leave since I arrived in Hong Kong nine years ago and I think the longing is getting into me.

Some may say that HK is not like on the other side of the world. Still it is not easy to just pack a bag and go home for a while. Also, I'll definitely need more than a weekend to satisfy this craving to be with my family and just be in the Philippines.

Oh well, in a couple of months, I'll be taking that leave. I've lasted this long and I can take four months more. If this is indeed what is making me restless and feeling adrift, then I guess I will know soon.

But if it is not, that's another matter.


A friend of mine suggested that it may just be sex. This one can easily be tested.