Having spent the last three weeks or so in Islamic South East Asia has made me appreciate how easy it was for me to be gay here in Catholic Philippines.

My work tends to bring me to countries abroad that have a significantly more open, more vibrant gay community than what we have here in Manila. I’ve always loathed how despite the relative freedom gays have here, we actually have to fit in that oh so stereotypical fag image (along with the advertising or beauty parlor career) to get the respect and men we all deserve.

And so a big chunk of the gay guys here think of themselves as girls. Girls, who want “real men” to marry and mother. There is a whole culture of “straight men” who sleep with gay gays to finance their wives and kids.

More recently, the “straight-gay” culture has emerged. Now you have guys who are revolted even with the thought of even seeing a vagina let alone touching it but call themselves bi since they act butch.

The gay community is polarized between gays who act like men versus the gay guys who want to be women. Thank goodness at least both divides share the love of the most important thing of all — beautiful tight bodies and gorgeous faces. Otherwise we wouldn’t even see each other.

When you see how the gay community, particularly the gay youth of Europe are becoming, you would feel so deprived of what our community chooses to be. There, men celeberate their masculity by sleeping with other men. There they dress up like girls and yet act butch, they hold hands, get married, adopt. They decide what gay means without having to select from the current social norms.

But then, being in countries (even for just 3 weeks) where sodomy is a crime and where homosexuality can lead lead to stoning, the choices I have to make, limited as they may be, seem to be worlds better than anything they can ever have.