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Homosexuality in the Philippines

I am open minded and accepting of all types of people as long as they do not force upon me their way of life is if different of my own.

I accept and respect all religions and beliefs. My parents are Jewish. I believe in a supreme being but have chosen not to belong or follow any of the organized religions.
The same is for race or national origin. In America there is many groups prejudice or blacks, Jews, and anyone different of their own. I believe all are equal and I am only prejudice of prejudice people. Look at me now, I am a Caucasian living in an Asian country. I do not have slanted eyes, my skin is lighter than many here and I speak a language that is not a native tongue here.

It also goes for homosexuality. I respect their lifestyle as long as they do not try to force it on me. I am heterosexual and only desire the female species. I am also married so my desire is extended only to my wife. But, if someone prefers intimate relations with members of their own sex, that is fine.

In America a lot of the homosexuals keep their sexual preferences hidden. They have many reasons for this and I am not going to try to cover these, but even those “out of the Closet” keep it hidden in the business world because of the prejudices. Even the US military has a “Do not ask, Do not tell” philosophy. You mainly see open gays in the hairstyle, decorating and fashion businesses.

Here in the Philippines it is different. It is very open and tolerated. I was so surprised once I moved here how many open gays there are. Most days when you’re out you will see a males in female attire.  At times you will see someone walking ahead of you with long hair and female attire to be surprised when you hear their voice or see them from the front. There are many that wear padded bras or have saved to get breast implants.
Even with all the open homosexuality, I was informed there are more that will not admit they are gay and just say they are bisexual even if they never have intimate relations with a woman.

There was one person at one of the stalls we buy from at the outdoor market that spoke very good English, and we struck up a conversation. I never stopped to examine this person since she looked female and I was just enjoying talking to someone with a good sense of humor. After we walked away, Elena mentioned to me she was “bading” or “bakla”. I looked back and realized she was correct, but added, “It is ok, and I enjoyed talking to her and I was not looking to date.”

Here is a funny situation a friend related to me and also showed his quick wit. He was out one night and was approached by someone in female attire but from body shape he knew it was a male. This person asked him if he would like to spend time with “her.” He replied that “she”  was a “he.” With that this person said “Sir, I had the operation.” He then told this funny reply “You take a chicken, cut off his head and feet, cook it, chop it up, you still have a chicken.”

There are days you see boys, I would imagine 10-14 years old in female blouses and hairclips walking in groups.

Now I have been mainly talking about the males. There are many “Tomboys” lesbians here too that are obvious too. The ones noticeable are usually stocky with male short haircuts and loose blouses to hide their breasts.  As in any area, with the closeness of females, walking together, lesbians are harder to notice than male’s homosexuals.

It is also interesting here, even straight males will walk with an arm around each other. I think this is so you do not get separated in a crowd. At first it caught my eye but over time you realize it is a culture thing and not a “Gay” sign.

For a country that is mainly Roman Catholic, a religion that is against homosexuality, it is interesting that homosexuality is so open and tolerated.

I also wonder, with all the gays out in the open in Davao and I would guess the Philippines in general, are there more homosexuals here in the Philippines per population of if it is just with such a high population per land size and the overcrowded cities that you just see more.

Some advice, as a foreigner, trying to live and be accepted in the Philippines, we need to leave many of our prejudices behind and learn to live and accept the differences in our new country.

58 Responses to “Homosexuality in the Philippines”

  1. don m. says:

    A very intresting post. It was one of the most amazing things for me about the philippines. Most of the haircuts I’ve had in the philippines where from gays in fancy hair parlors. The guy who organized our wedding was openly gay and a high school teacher. I’m sure the per capata percent of gay to streight is the same but in the philippines very open. I am catholic and konw about the churches stand but in the Philippines they are not bad mouthed. The people in the Philippines are some of the most well adjusted people I have ever met. They love you for who you are not the way you are. Another reason to want to retire in the philippines!!!!

    • Bruce says:

      Don,
      In America I would get my haircut as stylist shops, here I go to barber. The barber I use is straight and the others in the shop look straight. Just like in America, barbers are mainly straight and most at hair stylist shops are gay. I did have a good friend straight and a stylist, but that is another story.
      My barber is great, and besides haircut you get a great head, back and arm massage too.
      The open gays do not all dress like ladies and not all talk with a lisp, but from mannerisms, you can tell.
      I do agree, there is not as much of hidden lifestyles here and they accept each other on own merits.

  2. The last two haircuts I had in Davao was done by “bakla”. Very funny and talkative people usually. Like you said, they have a good sense of humour mostly. I agree with all your observations, I have seen all these things in Thailand too and also a lot in Indonesia. Interestingly, there is a span of gays in south east Asia. Not all gays are dressed as a female as we know. Maybe that is the reason we think there is so many more in Asia than in the west. In the west, a man dressed as and acting like a female is quite unusual. This is an area where I like the Asia a lot. People even get beat up in the west for being gay, I havent heard of that in Asia.

    • Bruce says:

      Stefan,
      I answered most of your comments in comment to Don. In America and Europe, many hide there sexuality because of the prejudice from straights, where here it is accepted more so they do not have to hide it.

  3. ceblogger says:

    bruce, 25 years ago, there were fewer gays who were out in the open. they were usually the object of mockery by the bystanders, so most prefers to stay in the comfort of their parlors. but now, you’ll see them everywhere, even in the red light district, and even dressed like real women.

    the most famous convert today is BB gandanghari. He used to be a hearththrob, every young woman’s dream, a famous Philippine actor, previously married to a pretty and famous young actress. But then, times have changed, and so are people’s view.

    • Bruce says:

      Ceblogger,
      It was the same in America too. Many gays got married, had kids and then later in life left their wifes to live the lifestyle they felt they were meant to live.
      Even with more gays “out of the closet” in America, many still try to dress and act like all others. If they work in the business world they do not lisp, dress different or act feminine.
      Here in the Philippines there is a higher percentage that outwardly show their gayness.

  4. grayspirit says:

    Yes, the world is indeed changing. I think Asia seems pretty open with regards to homosexuality.

    Haha … I can always tell though. If a young and really really stunning girl gives me a ‘come hither’ look, it’s probably a guy.

    But, whatever one thinks about gays or cross dressers, I kind of like the much more open nature of Asia. It extends not only to gays, but to us retirees as well. Kind of nice being a second rate citizen.

    • Bruce says:

      Grayspirit,
      You might be getting a “come hither” look because your credit card is showing too. hahaha
      We are not first rate, or second rate, but when you shop, we are higher rate.

  5. grayspirit says:

    lol … i meant … NOT being a second rate citizen.

  6. Evelyn says:

    hi bruce and elena….how are you guys..i am here now in garden grove reading your blog…i am enjoying this topic because i have a nephew who is gay..he is now in oman working as a florist in shangrila hotel,oman…i started the blog for him to display his creations..he is an artist, he could turn every flower into a magical arrangement..i enjoy being with him..there is no dull moment with him…i think –generally speaking,all gays are happy people..that is why they are called gay..gay means happy…

    • Bruce says:

      Evelyn,
      I am glad you returned safely to Garden Grove. Tell your employer, he is a lucky man for having such a nice person to take care of him.
      I do not think all Gays are happy, it is a difficult life and not something people to chose. They cannot get married or live a “normal” existence. I guess it is easier here than in other countries.

  7. Alan says:

    Hi Bruce

    I do believe that gays are more open in Asia than in western cultures and i have no issues with that as i grew up pretty tolerant despite being from the SE US . 🙂

    In fact i have a gay stepson and the only time we ever had a disagreement was one night when he came in late and under the influence . He proceeded to do the very feminine or prissy routine which i just thought was silly .

    In the end we came to an understanding . I don’t care what lifestyle choices he makes but in my house there are certain behaviors i do not approve of so that was a one time instance .

    In many ways i respect him because he has shown more ” ambition ” than our other children but then thats another story . 🙂

    • Bruce says:

      Alan,
      Homosexuals are not only more open here, but more accepted too. I agree, I do not think overly feminine movements and lisping voices are natural, but it is their life and as long as they do not force their sexuality on me, I accept theirs. Look, most foreigners are loud and pushy and they most accept us.

  8. Dan2vero says:

    Hi Bruce,

    This is a good article, because I think a lot of new visitors to the Philippines will be surprise at just how open homosexuality is there. I was kind of surprised at how many friends and family that Rose has there that are gay. I am like you, and really don’t have any problems with it all. Living in South Florida, I have many friends here, and had many co-workers here as well that are gay. But like you say, it is just not as open as it is there in the Philippines, so it may appear to be more there than here in USA. Although here in West Palm Beach, we do have a few cross dressers, and they seem to love the attention when they come into a supermarket.
    So great article, and definitely not here to slam anybody.

    Ingatz,
    Danny 🙂

    • Bruce says:

      Dan,
      Thanks. I always like to inform without insulting. Some times the truth is hard to hear, but it is the truth. If my opinions or observations are different from Filipinos, I am open to discuss.

  9. Steve Baker says:

    Bruce,
    I believe the whole gay issue, in the states, is blown out of proportion by those who hate others, not like themselves. I believe gay activities are a sin against God, not a sin against me, so I don’t judge and we get along without problems. If someone looked in my closet they would also find sin, so I hope they don’t judge me. I’ll answer for my sin one day. All of us will. I will not be the one casting stones at others. That would only add to my, already long, list of sins here on earth.
    As the infamous Rodney King once said, “Can’t we all just get along?” My wifes best friend from high school is openly gay and I think he is a very kind and generous person. If my wife calls him Friend, then so do I!
    Steve
    Steve

    • Bruce says:

      Steve,
      I agree, as long as we can accept people for who they are and people do not force their lifestyle, religion or beliefs on others, we can relax.

  10. bingkee says:

    You would say that there are more gays in the Philippines because they are more “open” unlike here in America, gay men still look and act like straight men. I used to work in a corporation where there are a dozen gays and yet nobody recognizes they’re gay until you really know what their life is all about. A co-worker told me, “he’s married to man.” I didn’t even know the guy was gay coming from a previous career where I worked with mostly gay men. The difference is , the acceptance here is more shocking , here in America–Gay Marriage. Even if the Philippine society accepts and tolerates gay people, I think it will never legalize gay marriage.
    Acceptance of their personalities and lifestyle is just being “non judgmental” . Gay people are more creative and work in more industries that bring money and fame to the Philippine nation—and probably that’s why I think we Filipinos accept gay people.
    Americans do not tolerate this lifestyle out in the open —unless you want to look like a drag queen all the time. American corporations tend to look down on people who don’t dress right for their professions. And that is why most gay men here look like straight men.

    • Bruce says:

      Bingkee,
      You are correct and that is why I wrote this article. Homosexuality is more open here and accepted.
      In the states I had worked with men who were gay but did not show it.
      It is slowly becoming more accepted there but the stigma remains.

  11. Bruce (not the publisher of this site) says:

    The consensus here is that homosexuality is more frequent because the PH is “more open to gays”. I think that’s too simple an answer for a country with the highest rate of out-marriage in the world.

    Is it possible that their whole country has a feminine image imposed upon them? The high rate of prostitution and foreigners taking Filipino brides is not just accepted, but encouraged. Maybe that has some impact on the lifestyle of young guys to idolize a more effeminate image while young girls may be bisexual because the gender divide is less defined.

    The corollary is dramatic heterosexual roles for macho men with insecurities (in reaction to this imposed image) who beat their wives to maintain dominance, which leads to pro-homosexual or volatile children.

    I personally think the PH is an enigma where an unstable household is a cultural tradition. It’s ubiquitous, no big deal, in fact they will smile if you say “his Filipino wife acts like a child” because that’s all too familiar for any Filipino living anywhere. There should be CAUTION tape put all over those islands.

    When you hear “Filipino” you better run in the other direction, no matter how seductive, unless you’re crazier than a Filipino. If you were tortured in your past, if you’ve seen things that would make people gouge their eyes out and lose all faith in God and humanity then I maybe there is a chance for you… cheers

    • Bruce says:

      Bruce (not me)
      I am allowing your comment to show the ignorance in the world. You say the “consensus here” but do not say where “here” is.
      You sound like homosexuality is a choice. Some one wakes up one morning and decides “I think I will try being gay.” Do you think a choice of a lifestyle that is looked down on so badly in most of the world, have beed berated and beaten for their lifestyle is something someone would chose?
      Narrow bigoted minds cause many of the problems.

  12. wildcat75 says:

    HI! Bruce,
    I agree w/ bingkee even the phil. society accepted and tolerated gay people, they will never legalize gay marriage, i have a gay nephew and a lesbian niece and they are both compassionate and the one who are helping me out in almost everyting , the funny thing is they are the one i trusted most, i know it’s not easy for them and i kept telling them to be sure they can handle their life well no matter what they encounter, infact i’m totally against it but they are my family members. i just only wish that someday their life would change and realize that a man is for a woman and vice versa.
    BTW, Bruce, i have a problem w/ my software so for now i’ll just lurk when i have time to go to the internet cafe.
    Hope all is well w/ u and your family…

    • Bruce says:

      Wildcat,
      Trust has no gender or sexual preferences. I think if your Niece and nephew have accepted their sexuality and you love them, you should accept their life. I feel homosexuality is not something they chose, but how there biology has made them. Yes their life will be harder and marriage and having children is not really possible, it is their life.
      I hope you can get your computer fixed soon, or else come visit Davao and I will help you out. 🙂
      We are fine here and doing ok.

  13. Gene says:

    Interesting post and a lot of comments just as interesting. I guess the percentage of gays and lesbians bust be the same all over here in the Philippines. Atleast as far as I have seen it is.
    I suspect the reason for it is as stated in the posts. That it is more accepted here than other places. But one thing I have also noticed is that in some families, parents actually seem to choose one child to be or become gay. Sounds crazy but have seen it more than just a few times. I am tolorant of gays and lesbians and their lifestyle as are most people. But it seems wrong to take what is or would be, or should be a “normal” six or seven year old boy, and dress him as a girl and announce to all that he is “gay.” I’m sorry but, a child that age who can barly add 2 plus 2 has absolutly no idea of his own sexuality at that age and no idea even what it means. Moreover, it reflects what seems to be a growing lack of any reasonable parenting ability. Makes one wonder what the place will be like in another 50 years or so.

    • Bruce says:

      Gene,
      I have never heard of such a think of parents dressing a young boy as a girl and trying to make them gay. For what purpose?
      I guess anything is possible.

      • Gene says:

        My wife has a coworker that is married and has i think five kids-all boys. They also wanted a girl. As the lady got close to menopause and knew the last boy would also be their last child; she AND her husband decided to make the last son into a daughter. The child is now about ten years old and on the surface looks and to some degree acts like a girl. Because this is a pulic post I will not give my opinion of the parents or their decision to do such a thing. But doing something like that to a child is far beyond anything that this old guy can understand or accept as “good parenting.”
        There are many other cases like that in atleast this area as well although I do not know the families involved or their reasoning for it.
        I love living here for many good reasons. But the longer I do the more I question not only the lack of parenting ability but the complete lack of common sence in so many…

        • Bruce says:

          Gene,
          This family and what they are doing goes past my senses of logic. I just hope the boy comes to his senses and clears up his conscience and life someday.

  14. sham says:

    Dear Bruce,

    I am a gay muslim here in Mindanao, it is very difficult for me inform all of our relatives, friends and even in our community that am GAY but my question is am I oblige to tell them?

    sham
    sham07_84@yahoo.com

    • Bruce says:

      Sham,
      That is a decision only you can make. With all the tsismis in the Philippines, if you tell one, all will eventually know. If you plan or need to live a gay life, going to places gays go or want a life with a boyfriend it will be difficult to hide it. Again, it is your decision if you want to tell, or just hide it.

  15. roy says:

    Hello Bruce, your observations are spot on. True, it is very open there and tolerated. Not like the US that you don’t wear your gayness in your sleeves, so to speak. Gene’s claim maybe an isolated case but I’m sure it does happen. Sometimes it’s an extreme case of wanting so much a preferred gender of a child or it just goes to show how casual their attitude is towards homosexuality. I have an Aunt with lots of male children who take turns getting in trouble. This Aunt of mine looked at me and whined “if all my sons were gays, I won’t have this worries”. 🙂

    • Bruce says:

      Roy,
      I heard of an 8 year old boy who stated he wants to be a ladyboy when he gets older. I wonder if some straight kids look into this change for the attention and glamor dressing like a woman.

      • roy says:

        Hello Bruce, I don’t think “some straight kids” would do that for the attention and glamor of dressing like a woman. It just so happen that that 8 yr old boy identifies more with the women. Homosexual tendencies may manifest early and progress w/ those female identifications esp if the environment allows it.

        • Bruce says:

          Roy,
          I understand what you say and feel homosexuality is something in a persons biology makeup and is not something chosen. What makes me think is even with the open and more accepted attitudes for homosexuals and transsexuals here, there are more than seen in other countries. I would like to see if there is any demographics on homosexuals by country.

  16. ian says:

    Sham- what you do or who you tell is no ones business except your own. You owe nobody else anything in this matter. Do what makes you feel comfortable. it is unfortunate that some people in this world make it impossible for us to be honest, but that is the reality of life, and sometimes self preservation comes first.
    I see many gay men in the philippines who for some reason equate being gay with acting or looking like a woman. In Vancouver in Canada, which has a large gay population, gay men are proud of who they are- which is gay MEN- and feel no need to pretend to be women. Of course there are still some gay men there who like to cross dress or be drag queens etc but again it is purely a personal choice. Like Bruce I am secure enough in my own sexual identity that I am unconcerned by the sexual identification of those people around me.

    • Bruce says:

      Ian,
      You are correct. For a Gay, it is his own decision to stay in, or come out of the closet. In many cases here, it is more open then in the States or Canada.
      The thing to be careful here is there are Ladyboys that are more beautiful than many of the ladies, just watch out for the extra packages.

      About being secure, yes I am and I have no problem being friends with a gay as long as he or she is not trying to force their lifestyle on me.

  17. roy says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NScfSWyaXEY

    Hello Bruce, I just tried it. Kind of relevant here. No worry this is so PG. But you can delete this msg if you don’t want links here.

    Cheers.

  18. ian says:

    I cant decide if this video makes me more angry or sad !

  19. roy says:

    Hello Bruce,

    What makes a boy gay anyway? What makes a man gay? 🙂

    I think that video only illustrates how fluid is role playing among Asians. The boy does not look like he was coerced to do it. He has several videos, BTW. When I showed it to my family, it was a big moment. They enjoyed it.

    • Bruce says:

      Roy,
      I feel someone does not wake up one day and decide to be gay. I feel it is part of his or her biological makeup.
      I also have no problem with the video, but hope if the little boy was just role playing and not gay, he is not embarrassed in later life if others remind him of the video.

  20. Macky Joven says:

    hello. i don’t think that homosexuality is tolerated at all in this country. i know so because i’m gay and i don’t feel accepted here. but in some cases it is tolerated. cases involving gay rights activists or gay icons in the media industry. and to quote Danton Remoto whom i interviewed about this topic: What we are looking for is not tolerance but understanding.

    i think filipinos should be like you. open-minded. 🙂

    you can read Dr Margarita Singco-Holmes’ book on being gay in the philippines. you’ll see why. it’s old but i think the issue is still prevalent.

    -macky

    • Bruce says:

      Macky,
      Here in Davao I see many lesbians and gay males on the street, in the malls and in restaurants. They are usually with straight ladies as friends. I have never seen anything of attitudes or discrimination against them.
      It is true, I do not understand the language so I do not know if anything is said and do not hang out with them to see how others treat them. But from what I see here and what I saw in America, it is better here.

      • Erik Botner says:

        Very interesting post, Bruce. I admire your open minded attitude. I am a Norwegian living in the PH, and being a good democratic socialist I get really infuriated at any inequality. I am not gay but my cousin is, and he recently got married in Norway (we have same-sex marriage there), and he and his husband recently adopted a baby. They are great parents and I’m so proud of them and of my country.

        I am also a biologist, and the medieval notion that homosexuality is a choice really doesn’t hold sway in scientific circles any more. It is clearly biologic, involving numerous genes (polygenetics) as well as the prenatal environment. This is known as neurohormonal influences. The evidence is quite immense, even if it makes conservative people nervous.

        As far as the PH goes, yes there is a high level of tolerance here, but I think that has actually led to mixed messages. Toleration is not equality, and it seems that many people are confusing the two. People can tolerate many things but not view them as “right” or “normal,” and it is not hard to find deep-seeded prejudices (mockery, disdain) against gays and lesbians in the PH just below the surface. The macho, religious environment contributes heavily to that of course.

        Also I think the toleration has definite limits here. Filipinos are willing to tolerate transvestitism and giggling fun-loving ladyboys, but I do not think they could handle seeing two average men walking down the street holding hands and being affectionate the way straight couples do. As long as gay people fit the Filipino stereotype, Filipinos will tolerate it. For us in Norway it’s quite the opposite; a lot of flamboyant ladyboys might make many Norwegians uncomfortable, but it’s normal and common to see same-sex couples walking around hand-in-hand, whether they are dating or married.

        Tolerated yes, but gays and lesbians are not treated on equal levels with straight Filipino couples. The PH congress cannot even stomach to pass an anti-discrimination law yet, let alone provide any recognition to same-sex couples. Toleration is nice, but it doesn’t amount to much if your country’s official stance treats you as second class.

        • Bruce says:

          Erik,
          I am not as scientific as you are but you see more out in public than I have seen in other countries and I have not seen any troubles.

  21. Tom Martin says:

    Sorry, but homosexuality does not have anything to do with gender identity. Those that have gender identity problem are not homosexual.

    I guess it is okay that some people especially in a Catholic country get confused an label bi-sexual, transexual, homosexual and pedohpilia all as Gay since the Pope does not even know the difference between homosexuality and Pedophilia.

    • Bruce says:

      Tom,
      You are right, there are straight people who cross dress and gays who look “normal”
      As we have talked, the Vatican is just outdated and protects their own.

  22. Anthony says:

    Well said, Tom!!!

  23. ian says:

    Not sure why you assume that people who dress or act in a sexual way not in line with their genitals have a ” gender identity problem” ?? I am sure that there are many males in the Philippines who wear make up or female clothing who do NOT consider their expression of freedom of choice to consider that they have a “problem” .
    I think the post was more designed as an attack on the Catholic church than a valid attempt at explaining a complex situation. And please do not assume that because i dislike faulty reasoning that I must be a Catholic and am defending the Pope- because I am NOT !!

  24. Grace Capada says:

    “I respect their lifestyle as long as they do not try to force it on me.” I’m just wondering what you mean by that. I’ve heard many straight people say that or “I don’t mind gays as long as they don’t shove their lifestyle in my face” or something along those lines. I just don’t know exactly what is meant by it…

    • Bruce says:

      Grace,
      What I mean is I will respect a homosexuals lifestyle as long as they do not try to convert me to their style. I am straight and have no desires to have sex with another male.

  25. Grace Capada says:

    Bruce,
    That makes sense, and I know exactly what you mean. I happen to be a lesbian, and a very feminine one at that. Ever since my teen years, and then especially in college and in the office, alot of guys were hitting on me. Not trying to sound conceited here…just telling my tale.

    Even after telling them “no thanks, I’m a lesbian and I’m happily in a relationship with a woman”, they didn’t let up. Some of them said that they believed they could even make me turn straight if I’d give them a chance. Maybe they’re just guys being guys, but after understanding what you’re saying about trying to be “converted”, I can clearly see that their behavior was both disgusting and unacceptable. They were clearly trying to force their hetero behavior on me, and I, as a homosexual woman, didn’t appreciate it in the least bit.

    So I see what you mean, Bruce, and I agree! Trying to force a lifestyle on someone else can go both ways for sure.

    • Bruce says:

      Grace,

      Unfortunately people have trouble accepting others with different views or styles. Smokers trying to quit will be offered cigarettes by smokers, dieters are offered food and sexual preferences are challenged. We just need to calmly explain our feelings or views.

  26. Ann says:

    Thanks for the post, Bruce. It’s refreshing to actually read this article written from a foreigner’s point-of-view living in the Philippines. This is quite a lengthy reply but I hope you won’t mind.
    I’m Filipina, living in the Philippines, and I do agree with your observations, but the description you were referring to best describes the gay trans-genders and transsexuals. It’s true that it’s open and you can see them anywhere in the Philippines, big or smaller cities and towns. There are even transgenders who work as escorts in other bigger cities. The media, I believe, has been a big influence since the entertainment industry is dominated by gays, at least behind-the-scene. It’s also sad that many Filipinos, too, associates being gay as being transgender because it’s what they see on TV. There are still bullying (mainly teasing) towards gays because of how the transgenders are presented in the media; thus, all gay men are generalized as this loud, cross-dressing bakla. They are tolerated but are not also taken seriously.
    This has been the frustration by some gays who are what they call “gay male”, the ones who act straight but is actually openly gay. And by open, I meant they are out as gay, have gay relationships, and participate in gay interests – the types which you probably commonly see in the US, the ones you refer as not showing their gayness. This is why some Filipino gays stayed in the closet because people think of transgenders when you say you’re gay. People can’t seem to accept or understand that there is another type of gay men – and is actually more common but underrepresented in the media – who are straight looking and straight acting gay males. And that being a gay male is a preference among other gay men rather than conforming to heteronormative lifestyle. There are a lot of gay men who are like this. Even those who are effeminate but not necessarily transgenders are frustrated with this generalization. These gay males can be found amongst the young and older professionals. Basically, the gay males are not represented and commonly seen on TV, unlike the US entertainment industry or in the US society in general.
    I’ve got colleagues who are straight looking who openly date their equally straight looking boyfriends, but the funny thing is they raise eyebrows more than the transgenders. I heard this from the gay male that I knew that it was better in the US because gay males can be openly gay and acknowledge their homosexuality without having to act like transgenders. And this was the initial concern of Rustom Padilla when he was still a closeted gay male, on why he chose to live in the US for a while before coming out in the Philippines as a gay man. He said that he felt liberated and accepting of his own homosexuality when he went to the States and saw many straight looking gay male couples, in which the society doesn’t regard gay male as uncommon, whereas, in the Philippines, the accepted gays are the transgenders. Of course, years later Rustom turned transsexual, but that’s beside the point.
    So it’s funny when other Americans feel that American gay men are not as open like in the Philippines, like it’s more out in the open just because they see a lot of transgenders. Perhaps, it’s the different understanding of what is being gay. Personally, I think it’s better how in America, although I know there are more in the closet as in the Philippines, shows that being gay is normal, that being openly gay is not being transgender, or being loud or overly effeminate. This is exactly the kind of acceptance some of my gay friends wants to happen in the Philippines.

    • Bruce says:

      Ann,

      I think open gayness and cross dressing is more accepted there and gays that just work and live in a normal lifestyle and the only difference is who they sleep with is more accepted in the US.

  27. Kyle says:

    I just turned 17 years old and in college. I’m gay and my family knows that. My dad accidentally knew about it by reading my e-mails (Hehehe… I have a habit of not logging out)and my mom knew about it when I was 15-16 when I first cried over a guy. I told my sisters (2 straight, 1 lesbian. Lol.) about it when I just couldn’t hide it any longer and my brother just figured it out by himself.

    I am not your typical gay guy. I love rock and metal. I don’t dress like a girl and I do not definitely talk or act like one. Most of my classmates in college were sort of surprised when I told them I was gay.

    Being gay in the Philippines is great. But gay rights in the Philippines have still a long way to go.

    • Bruce says:

      Kyle,
      I thank you for your comment. I think your lifestyle is less of a threat to non gays. Just be yourself and you will be happy.

  28. David John says:

    Im an American male here in the USA. I have been in Love withe the Philippines ever since I first visited as a young man in the military.
    I am now 49. My Girl friend is a beautiful Pinay and currently works in Canada.

    Ive always known I was bi and not sure If I was fully gay.

    She accepts me as I am though she says I am gay.
    Yes we have sex but she tries to meet my sexual needs.

    I know many women who will dress down or up. It depends on how they feel or the occasion. I think for many gays such as myself it is the same. women dont always wear a dress and make up nor do those gays who are fem.

    When in the military I was sure that many of my close friends knew how I was, but never said anything. We never really needed dont ask dont tell because most dont care. Just as long as you did your job and were there for each other.

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