When 2008 American Idol runner-up David Archuleta came to a gay club in New York last April 2010, nasty rumors about his sexual orientation spread like wildfire. This prompted Archuleta to explain himself via Twitter, implying that he would think twice next time before going to such places. Turns out he was there just to watch his friend, international singing sensation Charice Pempengco, perform.
Two years later, Pempengco herself became the subject of lesbian rumors because of her chosen new hairstyle (which she described as the “edgy look”). One local showbiz website noted that the 19-year-old Pempengco now “looks like a butch.” It also repeated the unfounded claim that the personal assistant who accompanies Pempengco in the US “is actually her girlfriend.”
In a press conference last Thursday for her upcoming Infinity concert tour, Pempengco said that with her new image, she wanted to be more like Avril Lavigne and Rihanna. And for those insinuating that she is lesbian, Pempengco said: “This is the look that I want. I know what people think, and I don’t care.” She even criticized those who kept on insisting on this subject, saying: “Why would you ask me that question? I think that’s a very inappropriate question.”
She’s right. Why is it that bullying someone (a celebrity in most cases) into admitting that he/she is a homosexual has seemingly become a national pastime? This is the case especially at the height of the controversy over the break up last year of Piolo Pascual and KC Concepcion. Deviate from long-imposed gender norms and you’ll surely be labeled as gay or lesbian. Do you think David Archuleta would have to deal with such rumors if he did away with his goodie-goodie image? Or if Charice kept her teeny-bopper style? Or if Piolo got married years ago? Most likely not.
American television host Rachel Maddow wrote in her blog last year that gay people “have a responsibility to our own community and to future generations of gay people to come out, if and when we feel that we can.” And that is one thing only the concerned person himself/herself can determine. After all, coming to terms with one’s own sexuality is one thing, while asking for acceptance from his/her family and the society as a whole is another. So what if Charice Pempengco is lesbian? Should you care?
(UPDATE) ABS-CBNNews.com has reported this August 10 Pempengco’s announcement that Courtney Blooding, a Canadian, will be her new “point-of-contact” after she fired Grace Mendoza, her erstwhile manager.