26 December 2008

of signs, homophobia, and women with planetary names

share ko lang manila times column ko for today. original post here.

By Libay Linsangan, Cantor

Signs of these trying times

Why is it that we only tend to forget our differences during the yuletide holidays, with that classic line “peace on earth, goodwill to all” strung all over the metro along with twinkling lights? But I wonder more about who wrote that line in the first place. He or she must be smiling every Christmas, seeing how this line seemingly blurs negativity, at least during one time of the year. It’s the season of rejoicing, after all, for the holidays signify the birth of Jesus.

But the signs were different some three weeks ago, during the annual lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) pride march in Malate. Some followers of Jesus didn’t believe in goodwill to all as they preached on the sidelines of the festive parade. They carried signs and lines on placards that read hatred rather than peace. Samples were “Turn to Jesus or burn in hell” and “It’s not OK to be gay; it’s sin” (sic), among others.

It’s funny, but the signs imply that the marchers turned away from religion—which we did not, really. There was even a religious congregation marching that day. “Anti-homosexuality” quotes from the Bible were also used as signs. I just pity that book because, as much as it is an interesting and inspirational read, it is the most misinterpreted tome of our times. I’ll discuss that in a separate column next time.

The Malate scene was reminiscent of LGBT pride marches in the USA, a common happening there. But for the Manila Pride March 2008 participants, this is brand new. In the 10-plus years of the history of the LGBT pride march in the country, it was only this year that this kind of counter-protest was seen. It’s also strange that the protest was led by non-Filipino/Asian preachers.

But the LGBT community was unfazed. In the spirit of joy, pride and celebrations, people carried LGBT-positive signs of projecting equality, upholding solidarity, and ending discrimination. Perhaps in reply to the anti-gay religious group, this sign was my favorite: “God made us this way . . . so why question it?”

In a few days, it will be another year. Let’s hope that negative signs of our times will be left behind—along with people’s homophobia, racial biases, and other discriminatory prejudices—as we face the challenges of the new year with more open hearts, minds, and sensitivities. And let’s write about that more.

Comments? Suggestions? E-mail libay.scribevibe@gmail.com.

and on another note, we mourn the passing of the sexiest catwoman ever -- another truly glam gay icon.

imagine being named "eartha." kakaiba no? e kung neptuna? haggard. dapat glam. venusa?

US singer Eartha Kitt dies at 81
Agence France-Presse
First Posted 06:39:00 12/26/2008

NEW YORK -- (UPDATE) Eartha Kitt, the versatile US singer and actress whose sultry voice and sensuality made her an international star with a career spanning six decades, died Thursday at age 81, her friend and publicist said.

Kitt, who won two Emmy television awards and was nominated for two Tony awards and two Grammy awards, died at 2:15 pm (1915 GMT) of colon cancer, Andrew Freedman told AFP. She was being treated at New York Presbyterian Hospital and resided in the state of Connecticut.

"She was certainly a legendary performer and while I think there may have been many imitations, she was an original," Freedman said. She was one of the few artists who have been nominated for Tony, Grammy and Emmy awards.

"I Want to Be Evil" and "Santa Baby," still a Christmas favorite today, were among her best-selling songs.

A self-described "sex kitten," Kitt famously played the role of Catwoman in the US hit TV series "Batman" in the 1960s. Her catlike purr and uncanny persona won her many fans, among them Orson Welles, who called her "the most exciting woman in the world."

She acted in movies as well, starring with Nat King Cole in "St. Louis Blues" (1958).

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