Yes, I'm gay. I probably was since the day I was born. On my 21st birthday, I sort of had my debut. I came out to my parents. A little drama from mom, and some indifference from dad. An above-average coming out. Almost perfect.

Nine years later, two weeks before my 30th birthday, I found out... I'M HIV POSITIVE.

And so my story begins... I'm BACK IN THE CLOSET.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mabuhay!

Philippine flagMay 28 is Philippine Flag Day. So in that light, let me tell you more about my beloved country.

The Republic of the Philippines is an archipelago in Southeast Asia. It is comprised of around 7,107 islands, depending on whether it's high or low tide, divided into 3 major island groups, 17 regions, 81 provinces, 136 cities, 1,494 municipalities and 41,995 barangays or villages. Whew. That's a lot.

The Philippines is a melting pot. We’re neither black nor white, we’re somewhere in between, the brown beings of the earth. We’re a melting pot of races, generations, cultures, religions, nationalities, dialects, traditions and sexualities.

I actually feel I'm lucky to be a gay man in the Philippines. I believe the general population is accepting of gays, as they can be encountered everywhere, as hairdressers, make-up artists, fashion designers, stand-up comedians, impersonators, entertainers, dancers, masseurs, girls' best friends, and lately, the trend has spread to customer service, especially call center agents.

I guess the sad part about it is that the stereotype of effeminacy still prevails, which causes the misuse of the word bisexual to encompass discreet gays here.

Homosexuals here are lucky, but to some extent. We are accepted, but not entirely celebrated. I mean I don't see any gay marriage laws taking effect any time soon. But other than the close-to-dying generation and the closed-minded catholic sector, we can live pretty freely with the rest of the normal Filipinos here.

Living with HIV in the Philippines is another thing. I’d say it’s still on the border of being taboo, just like contraception and safe sex. No one talks about it. I never knew or met anyone who had it before this. I’d only see people with HIV on the news, or in documentaries, and not that often either. It’s even still regarded by most as a gay disease. I think the mere fact that only one specific ward in one specific hospital caters especially to patients with HIV and AIDS might sum it all up. Are we being tucked away in a corner of the closet? I’m still trying to figure out for myself how it is really to be living here with HIV.

Although I do look purely Filipino, I am actually not,. My family tree will reveal traces of British, Panamanian, and Chinese in my mix. So I myself am a melting pot.

Regardless, I like it here. I’m not your typical Filipino whose ultimate dream is to go abroad and pursue so-called greener pastures, and eventually forget or deny that they were ever Filipinos.

On my sidebar, to express my pride in being Filipino, or ‘Pinoy for short, I now stamp this blog with the official “Proudly Pinoy” seal. Sa isip, sa salita, at sa gawa (By thoughts, by words and by actions…).

PinoyPoz is Filipino, and proud of it. Mabuhay!

4 comments:

thonnibg said...

The Philippines sounds like a great counry!I`d like to go there one day.Btw going to Southeast Asia has always been a dream of mine.

So nice to hear you`re a proudly Filipino:)

Bulgaria is kind of a melting pot either.We are on a crossroad here between Europe and Asia.But I can say we are mostly white except the Gipsies.

Very informative post!Thx.

Kiss

PinoyPoz said...

thanks! you should tell us more about bulgaria too! pictures of vikings and russians usually come to my mind... please enlighten us!

thonnibg said...

Hehe,we are actually far southward from Russia or the vikings.:)
Here is my post I had about Bulgaria:
http://toni-thonnibg.blogspot.com/2007/09/bulgaria.html

Hugs

Leon said...

Happened to surf into your blog randomly..nice postings

Greetings from Singapore

Leon Koh
visit my blog http://hanleong.blogspot.com/