It was a sultry Saturday when I saw Andrew and Angelo â€œEl Elâ€ sporting new haircuts. They are my neighbors and my distant relatives who are clearly referred to Lady Gagaâ€™s hit song â€œBorn This Way.â€
Although there are no accurate predictions to be made based on a childâ€™s behavior, weâ€™re for sure then they were destined to become gays.Â Why? Andrew, who is four years older than El El, was effeminate, while El El when he cried to ask for milk— it was different–there was something in his cry that made him different from other boys. When El El learned to talk, there we knew heâ€™s different! When he learned to walk, he walked as if heâ€™s on a catwalk. Confirmed!Â Â They mingled with other kids mostly with girls where they played â€œBarbie dolls.â€
Aida, El Elâ€™s mom, sometimes bought some girlie things for her son like girlâ€™s dress, headbands and make-up. Some neighbors scolded Aida for treating his son like a girl, but Aida defended she liked to see her son like a girl.
When Andrew was seven, he left for Manila to stay with his only sister after his mom passed away. El El was left in the neighborhood. He had joined dancing and singing contests in the city. We didnâ€™t hear what happened to Andrew until after ten years he came back to the province and reunited with El El.
They become best buds! Theyâ€™re inseparable. Andrew is now known as Princess Nicole Montenegro and El El is Princess Fherisse Aiko Fortigal. They are not only gays but openly and honestly gays.
Andrew and El El are few of the homosexuals in our clan on my fatherâ€™s side.Â We have had Nong Tildo (deceased), Fabio, Allan, Esoy, Dodong, Arnel and Bagoctoc.
Why there are so many gays in our clan? The answer is I donâ€™t know.Â Â But like a flower blooms in the field, in every generation, there could be a different flower.
So, we accepted the fact that we have gay cousins.Â Â In many of our clanâ€™s gatherings, they always brighten our days. It becomes livelier when they meet with other members of the federation…. as the saying goes,Â birds with the same feather are a good feather duster, ehem, flock together! Itâ€™s really more fun being gay in the Philippines.
However, behind their happy faces, Andrew and El El have personally experienced discrimination. Theyâ€™re often ridiculed. Since they are wearing womenâ€™s dress and heavy make-up when they go out, some people are badmouthing against them. But they donâ€™t give it a second thought. They have accepted their fate as it is part of the society when youâ€™re gay.
Some religious people told them they could not enter heaven because they are homosexuals. But they answered those religious people in jest, â€œif we canâ€™t enter heaven, we will stay in the rainbow!â€
Nothing is causing the level of gays. They donâ€™t make babies but they are increasing. Arenâ€™t they?
You are born that way, according to some experts. The fact is being gay has been an accepted part of life in the Philippines though how many times the members of the lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals (LGBT) community have been fighting for their rights against discrimination.
Here, homosexuals are calledÂ baklaÂ orÂ bading. The former has developed slightly derogatory connotations for some, while the latter is somewhat milder. In Visayas,Â bayotÂ is the term forbakla.
Effeminate men and homosexuals in general are calledÂ binabaeÂ (“of a womanly sort”), from the Tagalog wordÂ babae, which means “woman.”
If you act effem or sissy, people would tell you are a â€œmember of the federation.â€
Stereotyped homosexuals openly work in beauty parlors and in the creative industries of fashion and entertainment, such as talk show hosts, female impersonators, writers, directors and comedians. They have long been part of the Filipino cultural landscape.
There are also those “maya (a sparrow),â€ a term for bisexual men, who act like a real men but like men. They are doing bro-mance!
There are also â€œpaminta (pepper),â€ another term for bisexual who go to gym and outwardly straight-looking men who also like men.
Like love, gays come in all different shapes, sizes, colors and backgrounds.
Note: Two weeks ago, Andrew has left Bohol to find a greener pasture in Manila. Another gay relative Arnel aka Iwa Moto went to Manila to look for a job and heâ€™s staying with Andrew.
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