And as it was happening, my POC editor asked me to do an article on Dolphy's gay roles in cinema. So I sat one day in my favorite nearby coffice and churned out not one but two articles. Yes, he had that much of a career and I had much to say as well about a chunk of it. Here's part one and then part two.
This got me thinking also of something I've been hearing all week whenever I am in a public space, and it's quite alarming -- o baka naman sensitibo lang ako dahil ang radar ko ay trained na maka-pik-ap ng ganung mga bagay. Nariyang nasa Starbucks ako at sa isang mesa sa di kalayuan, may nag-uusap at magsasabing "Bakla 'yun!" as if parang dumudura siya ng kadiring pagkaing nalasahan niya. Sa kalye isang araw din, narinig ko muli 'yun, ang kataga ng pagkutya. Kanina lang pababa sa escalator ng SM Marikina, 'yung dalawang nasa likod ko, ganun din ang pagkakabigkas sa mga katagang 'yon. Kataga ng paghusga. Bakla 'yun!
Kahit di ako bakla, nasasaktan ako kapag nakakarinig kasi ako nun. Kasi isang tawid na lang, puwedeng ako na ang sinasabihan nila nun e. Mamili ka: "Lesbiyana 'yun e!" "Tibo 'yun!" "Tomboy 'yun!" Again, like I lecture in my nondiscriminatory gender-fair language lesson in scriptwriting class, it's not the words spoken but how it was spoken, how it was thrown at you. If they were thrown to hurt, they could be daggers. If spoken in a nonjudgmental way, these words could also soothe, calm or comfort.
So imagine if someone just spits out these words like venom. It poisons those who are commented at, and the minds of those who hear are also poisoned to believe the venom. Either way, it hurts. Now this is no wonder why I see many lesbians and bisexual women closeted, and they use social media to live out their other personas, their real personas. This I discover in their tweets at Twitter, and also as they narrate it to me when we meet up in person. Yes, uso pa rin pala ang closet in the age of the internet.
If more world leaders like Obama came out to support us,
maybe things would be different.
In the meantime, we just pose with his cutout.
Thanks to the US Embassy in Manila for the photo.
And it saddens me that things can't be just out in the open. Just like that. Like how a guy and a girl couple behind me in line earlier at the cinema were all kissey-gooey and all that. Huh, new couple, I shrugged. But it also warmed me when, in another line to buy flavored french fries, I saw a butch-looking lesbian carry the girly bag of her femme-ish girfriend, and they kept on hugging each other while waiting for their order. The world is fair this way -- people of all persuasions could present their love openly like this. But no, still not everybody. Maybe that lesbian couple waiting for french fries has a different situation than those hiding behind their anonymous lesbian Twitter accounts.
I know how it feels, to be closeted to a certain degree. But mine was really by choice. I had a partner who was not out back in the day, and we had to take our relationship down low so her family won't suspect. Plus she was also protecting her reputation in a highly homophobic macho work sector, she said. There was another ex that had the same situation. We were selectively out as well since she said her mother was strictly religious and all. I guess I could adjust for people I care for. But still, sometimes there's that painful pang whenever you are reminded of it. So I just shrug it off.
But what's the relationship of that principle with the Pidol articles and those scenes I witnessed randomly this week? Simple. As I wrote there in the articles, sometimes hate against gays is being normalized in his films. And that makes me super-sad. Bumawi lang talaga sa Markova and sa Ang Tatay Kong Nanay. But still, nakakatakot kasi ang naiiwang imahe ay okay lang kutyain at pagtawanan ang mga bakla. Hence we get those comments I've been overhearing all over this week. Na puwedeng itawid din sa aming mga babae na nagmamahal ng babae. Kaya naiintindihan ko ang kloseta, ang di ligal, na kelangang magtago to a certain extent.
A love like ours is pushed in the shadows. Nonetheless, we thrive.
Pero naiinis ako na may kloseta. At naiinis ako na may mga naging ganoong pelikula na nagdulot ng pagtatago ng mga bakla at lesbiyana sa kloseta. Nakakainis kasi di lahat ng mag-jowa ay puwedeng ipakilala sa pamilya bilang jowa ang jowa. Minsan ang saklap kasi may pagkukutyang maririnig sa paligid na di ito normal. Puwede ka pa ring mawalan ng trabaho dahil nagladlad ka. Puwede ka pa ring pandirihan dahil hindi etits ang habol mo. Ang labo ng mundo minsan.
Pero ano ba kasi itong tinatago natin sa kloseta? Pagmamahalan. Di ba ang saklap? Ano nga ba 'yung termino dito noon sa Amerika? The love that cannot be named. Something like that. Isn't it strange that all other things could be displayed out there in the open -- criminality, corruption, gambling, abuse, disease -- but not love. Not this kind of love. And that's what makes me so sad. Very sad.
Ewan ko ba. Minsan ang labo lang ng mundo. At naalala ko ito habang narinig kong kumakanta ang tinaguriang "partner" ni Pidol ng through the years/ you never let me down... etc etc etc. Through the years, nagmamahalan din naman ang mga tulad namin. Pero dahil sa iba kasi ang formula namin -- babae+babae at hindi babae+lalaki -- olats kami. Kelangang magtago, kelangang alisin sa pictures, kelangang di sinasabihan ng I love you in public online and offline, kelangan kaibigan lang at hindi kaIBIGan.
Ang daming isyu, ang daming concern. Who knew these things could intersect in one vertex where at the core is not love but discrimination against love. It hurts sometimes to realize that. After years of being with women, I am still saddened. I guess as human beings, we still need to evolve. But regardless, like Pidol's favorite song said, smile though your heart is aching.
With the way things are going in this country, I hope I have enough strength to keep on smiling.
In the meantime, we shrug some more.
Or maybe just sleep it off. Goodnight. Love you too.