20 February 2008

REPRINT: the Inquirer article

originally posted at leaflens.multiply.com

since i intended this portal to be the repository of my stuff, i'll reprint the article i wrote which appeared in the lifestyle exclusives ng inquirer. i checked their website naman and it's clear na they don't put everything in there, lalo na itong special section. tama nga naman. i'll also add here the photo that accompanied the article (sorry mareng rovie, hindi nagamit yung kuha mo kasi lowres daw).

pero before that, share ko lang yung chika ng nag-solicit ng article, si ms linda panlilio, a fellow writer din.

Dear Libay,

Wow! What a wonderful piece! I loved it. Your article will help educate the homophobic public out there on LGBT issues. Thanks a lot! Am sure my Inq. editor, Cheche Moral, will like it too. I'm not touching it at all. Am leaving it to Cheche to make it fit in the space she has allotted for this special features issue. Would you like to send me a photo of yourself and Sarah? The other articles will have photos.
Btw, you'll be pleased to know that you will be in the company of great writers in the anthology I'm doing for Anvil. No less than National Artist Edith Tiempo is contributing--on her relationship with her students (mentor-"mentees"); Krip Yuson, on his pater-filios relationship with his kids; Sarge Lacuesta and Mookie Katigbak--on their bf-gf relationship; Joy Cruz on her "stepfamily"; Karina Bolasco, on being a single Mom to her daughters; Ed Maranan, Roweena Torrevillas, Barbara "Tweetums" Gonzalez, etc.

So please expand your Inq. article to 3,000 words, if possible, or at least to 2,000. Deadline is March 31. Meantime, thanks for being so prompt, and for your wonderful contribution.



sobrang nakakataba ng puso ang compliment na ito, coming from ms. linda. super.

at binigyan pa
ko ng new deadline haha! ayuz.

but the inq sub-ed, ms moral, actually edited the article pero konti lang. ang ginalaw lang niya actually, yung last two lines. i was actually very very thankful dahil napaganda niya yung tuldok statement na nais ko sanang sabihin sa original article. dun kasi ako nahirapang i-phrase kung paano nga ba ie-end ito. i wanted to put in there kasi yung dating exploitative tagline about homosexual love sa US. at grabe, nakaka-high sakin yung ginawa niyang improvement. saka nilagyan niya ng subheads which i expected them to make. great! kewl din ito. yan ang editing.

eto ang labas. para sa mga di nakabasa, enjoy!


[published 10 February 2008 Phil. Daily Inquirer Lifestyle Section Exclusives]


By libay linsangan cantor

It has been ten years since I came out as a lesbian to my family and friends. but this is the first time I am coming out with a girlfriend who is as out as I am.

Confused? Don’t be. In the local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, relationships are one of three things: out in the open, discreet or closeted.

Being out in the open means there are no issues whatsoever that bother either party – no workplace homophobia to be fearful of, no disinherit-if-you’re-gay issues hounding their respective families, and it’s perfectly all right for each party to be seen as a couple in public. In short, it’s the love story with the possible “happily ever after” tag.

Being discreet means being out in the open is done in a limited fashion. People might not even notice that the couple is a couple unless they introduce themselves as such. This kind of relationships has some issues being considered. Issues may vary, depending on each party’s concern such as family, job security, public reputation or something else. This relationship is usually hidden from the heterosexual world but not from the LGBT world – a kind of “selective outing” is done.

A closeted relationship means not even the LGBT community is fully aware of its existence. People who are usually in a closeted relationship are also closeted LGBTs themselves. Aside from having the usual issues concerning work or family, there might be other bothersome factors or angles, such as having an illicit affair with one who is legally married or has another partner.

Not for me

My coming out in 1997 didn’t mean I was a closeted lesbian. It was just then that I discovered that heterosexuality isn’t for me, and the way I could express my love in honesty is by being with another woman. And on that fateful year, I met that woman – a lesbian woman. We were both alike at the time – so very feminine-looking girl-next-door types. She belonged in a lesbian advocacy group and was very out to everybody—except, it turned out, her family and relatives. That was why when I met her mother, I was merely the “designated best friend.”

I didn’t really know how to react to that. I mean, there I was, happily rejoicing my newfound final and real identity, but I cannot show it to the mother of my partner. We both couldn’t. Their family was just strict by nature and even her heterosexual cousins couldn’t overtly show their partners to their elders.

In less than a year, that relationship ended. I continued living my life outside of the closet and joined efforts of the LGBT community for positive visibility, especially in the media where I work. That became the focus of my lesbian feminist advocacy up to this very day. That means speaking about LGBT issues in public gatherings and appearing in media outlets like newspapers and TV. As a writer, I wrote about it a lot.

Highly patriarchal

But all that changed when I met my next partner, a closeted lawyer. Because hers was a highly patriarchal world, she said, we could never declare that we are a couple. So more than a best friend, sometimes my designation became a “personal assistant.” We knew some of her family members knew what we were really about—even if they never talked about it—but we kept it on the safe side nonetheless. This meant no more TV or print appearances for me, and my LGBT advocacy involvement lessened. That went on for half a decade.

When that relationship finally ended, it made me think long and hard on what I really want out of a relationship. I’ve thought of a few. I want to be proud of my partner as she is proud of me, and we both shouldn’t have issues of showing that love and care to the world. I want a bond devoid of paranoia; I don’t want my partner to be scared that someone might see us in each street corner or mall, and therefore will make every effort to keep us under the radar of everyone all the freaking time. I will support a partner who will support me, too, who understands our advocacy, and who believes in it fully. I want a partner who believes that relationships should have equity, aside from the usual requirements of trust, honesty, being caring and nurturing.


Happily, I’ve found all of that in my new partner, Sarah. She’s all that, and more. No paranoia, no excuses, no apologies. She doesn’t believe in closets, and neither do I. Thus, I can just be myself in public with her, and she is the same. It doesn’t bother us that we are a bit “different” from the rest of society – or are we, really?

In this day and age, love comes in all shapes and sizes, and this happens to be our “packaging” – two women deeply in love with each other. You can’t go wrong with love.

I am at peace. Finally, I am with someone who understands what this is all about – that living and loving outside of the closet is what it is about. Ours is a love that indeed dares to speak its name. //

there you go.
mukha ba kong fil-am jan? hehe.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations! winner ang piece ha :) "Finally!" that's the word for you. You've found somebody :)

    Naalala ko yung pinsan ko. All the while, we thought she's the super feminine, "lady-in-waiting" type (parang ako hee hee) pero the gay radar in me gave a sounding WHOOP! when I got to talk to her. She's not out, then. But I feel grateful that she shared with me her struggles. Lumakas loob nya, tingin ko. dahil na rin siguro maski isang miyembro ng pamilya nya, may nakakaalam. Now, she's OUT! I am so proud of her. Pag minsan may pagtatalo sila ng auntie ko (her mom), the latter will go to me and ask me to talk to her daughter. Naayos naman in the end.

    Natuwa ako sa article mo :)sobra!