The previous post reminds me of those beauty contests in a popular daytime show I used to watch as a kid. There were introductions, talent displays and interviews (which are staple for this kind of pageantry). The twist was in the contestants — they were all men. Of course, it was more a parody than it was honest competition. The audience ate this up because it was amusing, and nothing more. The other in the transgendered (as opposed to the homoseuxal since these men are more female than gay male-identified) is desexualized and objectified as mere entertainment. When the penis is cut off and there is nothing more to look at but the drab wig and the gaudy make-up on the face that dishes those funny one-liners, then it is okay to consume and even to be amused by. In hindsight, it was a tacky Filipino version of Will Truman doing drag.

The lazy and unintelligent clumping of all these gender identifications into the gay label is Manila’s big problem. No one seems to bother with the definitions. The parlor-prepped transvestite is lumped in with the gay yuppie in one big box. Until people see the distinctions from being a homosexual to being a transexual to being bisexual, then the respect that comes with each of these identifications will never happen.

There seems to be a lack of a thoughtful homo intellectual class who will initiate the significant dialogue of gender studies. I am not blind to the macho culture imbibed from the Spanish legacy (where to be effete is to be weak) and the heavy patriarchal class perpetarted by the Church (to whom the feminine is deemed inferior) that makes such a discussion a public impossibility. (Needless to say, the whole doctrine on sin remains a big block to even entertaining one’s own scientific analysis of the subject. Hellfire, after all, is served for all the abhorrents of creation.) But I believe that there is where the challenge lies for the initiated. The time to chip away at the wall of ignorance through history and enslaving tradition is always now.

The middleground is apt for homosexuals who live in Tehran where even posting a profile on a gay chat website is enough to get one hung. But for those who live in Manila which prides itself on its respect for intellectual freedom and of one’s pursuit of personal happiness, then the middleground is not enough. Homosexuals need to get off the fence of ignorance and adopt a more groundbreaking stance of radical assertion of their need for definition and sexual distinction and, utlimately, respect. Until that time commences, then they will continue to be relegated to the shadows bordered by discrimination and disrespect borne of ignorance. They will remain to be boxed in as nothing more than a group of screaming faggots and horny freaks.

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