Journey for Love, Acceptance, and Freedom
How would you feel if a large part of society tells you that you cannot love this person ever? Unfortunately, this is one of the many problems that the LGBTQ+ community is experiencing in the Philippines. The community has been facing this issue for a long time yet the hate still exists to this day. They are called homophobic slurs, sinners, and demons, to name a few, just because of their gender identity. As a result, there are people who have been diagnosed with mental illnesses and worst, some have even committed suicide as they are discriminated upon and bullied by their own family, friends, and the society. Some are forced to hide their gender identity and have avoided expressing their sexuality for fear of being bullied by those who cannot understand them.
A number of religious leaders people and supporters are strongly against the idea of homosexuality because they think that is against the teaching of God. Because of this, parents on one hand, often force their male children to act like a man, dress like a man and to think like a man. If they don’t, they are called either gay or other offensive terms. On the other hand, parents teach their female children to be subservient, to dress feminine and to not answer back to their parents. If they don’t follow this, they will be called either lesbian or offensive terms. Sadly, the cycle still goes on for decades with no one willing to break it because that is how they were also raised up when they were growing up.
It can be said that not all religious heterosexual parents, meaning a pair of male and female parents, respect their child because of their sexuality. Common observations include they kick the child out of their house or abuse them in different forms because the parents refuse to respect and accept their children’s identity. In doing so, hundreds of youth in the community become homeless and end up starving. Luckily, there are charities and organizations that are willing to take care and help them rebuild their lives. Those religious families have seemed to forget the fundamental values of love and respect just because they wanted to stick to the strict teachings of the binary sex assigned at birth. The other problems that the community is facing are not being spoken about that much because they are considered taboo and very sensitive topics for school-age children. But for me, I believe that we should speak and learn more about these issues to spread awareness about these concerns and help children like me to have informed choices on how to deal with our gender identities. By doing so, we are helping prevent discrimination and hate crimes against the community. Information and awareness are keys for the harmful and toxic cycles to end and could serve as an effective medicine for the youth that have long been poisoned by toxic masculinity and femininity.
Interestingly, the media and film industry often cast actors that are openly part of the LGBTQ+ as a laughingstock in a show or movie. They often think that they are helping normalize homosexual representation in the industry but I think that this is ineffective because it helps set false stereotypes that are harmful for the community. The usual roles that gay people get are either the hyper feminine sidekick of the hetero (short for heterosexual!) female lead or the antagonized hyper feminine who is crushing on a male lead. Doing so enables the audience to despise them all the more just because they are seen as competitors of their crushes or loved ones. Perhaps you might ask, “Why do they accept such roles if these are deemed harmful for the community?” I think because of the abuse and hatred surrounding the LGBTQ+ community, they are in a constant quest for validation and acceptance. They accept these roles to be validated and accepted by society.
As a reflection on this topic, we should learn to respect their fundamental rights and view them as unique beings. Many people despise the terms unique especially in sexuality because in their eyes, difference is bad as it cannot fit in the stereotypical role that the society has assigned to them. There are hate groups that crusade against members of the LGBTQ+. Sadly, these groups continue to terrorize the community because of their chosen gender identity and no one openly speaks about this for fear of being ridiculed or bullied because this is not given a decent amount of exposure to be a normal conversation topic for the Filipino people. Sometimes I wonder why can’t we focus on advocacy campaigns so people can be enlightened. But in my observation, I think there are efforts to promote gender equality but they are being silenced by a large part of society because they believe that the whole LGBTQ+ community is a danger to the Catholic faith, that the members are automatic sinners because of the “loudness” of their choices, that they are undeserving of human rights. I honestly think that our mindset and opinion should be evolving like historical beings as time passes but the lack of awareness and close mindedness still get the best of those who choose to be traditional. I hope that as we continue to upgrade our lifestyle, we can learn to modernize our way of thinking to include respect in diversity in order to journey towards love, acceptance, and ultimately, freedom for all kinds of people.
Article written by:
Kade Allyson P. Enriquez
Grade 4 SSC Jose P. Rizal
San Juan Elementary School