On Gayness and Bigotry
The infamous, ‘foul-mouthed’,straightforward Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte once again made headlines due to his controversial statements. In his recent address in Tokyo, Duterte claimed that he was once gay but now ‘cured’ after meeting his now ex-wife. In the same speech, he said “Long live the gay people of the Philippines,” to which the crowd cheered and applauded.
His statement, however, drew criticisms from LGBTQ support group. They said that referring to being ‘cured’ connotes gay as a disease, so the group slammed Duterte’s words.
Being gay, whether a gayman or gaywoman, refers to homosexuality. Now, gender preference and gender identity has become broader, hence the LGBTQ (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer). The group includes those who are confused about their sexual orientation or identity.
There had been a lot of terms that refers to the group, mostly derogatory such as closet queens and homos. Being accepted in the society has been a long and painstaking struggle for the members of the community. They are either frowned upon or downright hated. There was no easy way.
Recently, a lot of issues and controversies related to the LGBTQ community have been discussed. it includes same-sex marriage, civil union and the legal rights of same-sex partners. Taiwan was the most recent country to legalize same-sex marriage and the first in Asia.
In the Philippines, being gay is quite a commonplace but acceptance varies from person to person. It’s true that gay men and gay women have been more prominent in important fields such as business and even politics. But despite the country’s openness to such compared to the Asian counterparts, prejudice and discrimination is still rampant. And the country has remained conservative when it comes to legalizing the union of the same gender largely because of religious belief. However, some companies do recognize same-sex civil union and allow the same benefits as traditional couples enjoy. But in general, the legal right of partners remains problematic.
We all fight for equality and yet we condemn those who hold a different opinion from ours. Equality among genders, not just between men and women, is paramount. If we can’t support nor accept people who are confused or undecided, then the least we can do is to keep our opinions to ourselves especially if we don’t have anything good to say. We have our freedom of expression, but we are also bound by the common courtesy called respect.Respect begets respect.
derogatory(adj): insulting and disapproving
rampant(adj): a lot and very difficult to control
paramount(adj) : more important anything else
courtesy(n): polite behavior and respect for other people