10/27/2013
My problem with gay people

Did that title work? Do I have your attention now? Great.

Now, I have to admit. I lied. I don't have a problem with gay people. I don't really care if you are or not. I remember knowing this guy from school, and everybody was telling me, "you know, I think he's gay," and I'm all, "and so?"

Granted, I didn't believe them. I didn't believe them when they said that. I never saw the difference. I just thought he knows a lot of things, that's all. We, for one, had a discussion about why two people can never be in a swing set and both swing forward, why one person always has to swing backward while the other swings forward.

I might have met a bunch more of them since, but again, I never really knew. Maybe my so-called gaydar is just dead. Maybe I haven't encountered anyone who introduced himself as, say, "hi, I'm Randy, and I'm gay!" But really, I don't see any difference. They're just guys I talk to who happen to prefer people who have the same genitalia as them.

So I don't see why people make a big deal of people coming out. Maybe it's because I live in the Philippines, a place of almost-utmost conservatism, where the teachings of the Catholic Church still hold sway despite the lack of moral ascendancy from some, if not most, of its leaders. Remember the reaction to Charice finally admitting that she's lesbian? People were all "I'm happy for her" but they were all hesitant about it. "Sayang siya," they probably went, silently.

It's understandable, then, why the gay community is still doing its best to push for acceptance. I mean, no matter how many times we vote for Ang Ladlad to Congress (side note: how would have Danton Remoto dealt with the pork barrel issue?) so the LGBTs can finally have a bigger venue to air their issues, there will always be people who vote for whatever party list Mike Velarde has because they believe it is their way to salvation. There will always be people who think the idea of your neighborhood manikurista getting a say on our national budget is ridiculous. There will always be people who, no matter what they publicly say or do, will not be comfortable with equality for all, whatever that means.

And that means there will always be people, there will always be underrepresented and underserved people, who will push for a bigger slice of the pie - I don't mean a bigger slice of the budgetary pie, no, but a bigger slice of privileges, basic privileges. I believe in gay marriage. I believe that two men who love each other being able to give their (maybe) adopted child a proper family, the idea of a proper family, which begins with having a last name that everybody recognizes. I believe that gays shouldn't only be sidekicks, always ready with a punchline or two, on the evening soaps. I mean, we're all just the same people, essentially, in cocktail events, in classrooms, in the workplace. What makes us straight people so special? Because we conform?

Okay. I have to admit. I lied, earlier, when I said I lied. I have this little problem with gay people. Not all of them.  Not most of them. Not some of them. I have a problem with how some gay rights activists frame their message. Again, not everybody does this; as far as I know, this problem of mine isn't institutional, but rather, is often a personal remark from one person, perhaps caught in the moment, trying to tell the unenlightened among us to think differently.

I have a problem when they say that their way is the best way, that their way is the only way.

I've seen this thinking before. Gay marriage, again. Why not allow two men, who genuinely love each other, to raise a family and be afforded the same rights as straight couples do? These two men - and this is how their argument goes - these two men will raise their child to be a God-fearing, honest, tolerant man. You know, unlike that straight couple over there who will inevitably split up, leaving their biological child to fend for themselves.

I mean, come on. I see where you're coming from, but are you honestly saying that only gay people can raise a child properly? Are you honestly saying that any straight person's efforts to start a family is doomed to fail?

Is it because gay couples, the few we see here, the few who actually took the plunge and started a family, try extra hard to do their children well, else risk the ire of disapproving, intolerant, holier-than-thou eyes? Is it because Boy Abunda's relationship has lasted longer than those of the heterosexual celebrities he interviews weekly? Is it because gay people are just better than us straight people, because we're intolerant in the first place, otherwise there wouldn't be need for a conversation like this in the first place?

Think about it. Say that line again, and I will tell you that you are a hypocrite. You are not pushing for equality. You're pushing for your worldview over everybody else's. You're saying that your way is better, that your way is the only way. And that is not equality.

It's not equality when a feminist pushes for positive discrimination in the workplace, when she complains about how there are only a few women in, say, politics, and then calls for women to be elected to position solely because they have a vagina.

It's not equality when an animal rights activist claims that people who eat meat are backwards barbarians who have no place in the 21st century, when he convinces us that we should become vegans because it is the only way to reclaim your humanity.

It's not equality when a politician extols the values of democracy, of true representation, while saying that the only way for this democracy to thrive is to follow this one way of doing things, because all other ways will bring us down and make us vulnerable to enemies. Okay, that's stretching it, but you get the idea. And besides, I needed three examples on the fly, what with three being the magic number and all.

Anyway, yes, granted, we all still have a long way to go. There will still be people who look at someone who acts differently and dismisses him instantly. We still use "gay" as an insult. I still get called gay occasionally, because I shout and I cry and I am (relatively) in touch with my feelings more than other men. Maybe me writing this (actually) pro-gay entry would raise the eyebrows of the alpha males who believe I should eat whole slabs of meat while still maintaining a six-pack figure.

I mean, yes, discrimination still exists in all its nuances, and we should do everything we can to eradicate it. But saying your way is another way is different from saying your way is the best way. Otherwise nobody gets what they want, and "gay" will still be an insult, and girls will still cry when someone like Matt Bomer comes out, whining that all the good men have gone.

And your responses...

Post a Comment