Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s unrelenting defense against the aggressive moves of Manny Pacquiao has been credited for his wider-than-expected victory over the latter during their boxing fight last May 3. His defensive techniques however did not sit well among many observers, including former champion Oscar dela Hoya who described the bout as “underwhelming.”
Filipinos were especially more condescending of Mayweather, with some likening him to Disney characters Olaf (from the movie “Frozen“) and Baymax (from “Big Hero 6“) for what they perceived as his propensity to “hug” Pacquiao. Another fan-made meme shows pictures of Mayweather during the fight with captions taken from the lyrics of the Britney Spears song “Sometimes” (Sometimes I run, sometimes I hide …).
But perhaps the worst insult hurled at Mayweather, mainly by Filipino netizens, are negative insinuations about his sexuality. The undefeated American boxer has been taunted as “Gayweather” for many years now, initially for his refusal to fight Pacquiao (the negotiations went on-and-off since 2009) and now for his widely-panned performance during yesterday’s fight.
“Gayweather” is a homophobia-inspired slur that everyone has to stop using. It is a taunt based on the deeply-held stereotype that gays are cowards and unwilling fighters. Filipinos are no stranger to these insults, as evidenced by the lines “Magpakalalaki ka!,” “Walang bayag!,” “Parang bakla!,” among others.
Despite the perception that the Philippines tolerate members of the LGBT community, a 2014 study by the United States-based Pew Research Center found out that 65% of Filipinos actually view homosexuality as unacceptable. The stereotype that gays lack courage is not only unfair – it is also downright wrong. What many people do not realize is that members of the LGBT community are often stuck in life circumstances where great courage is needed to survive.
First, they need to accept within themselves their true sexual orientation. Gays and lesbians cannot possibly seek acceptance from their family and the society unless they are at peace about it or is in fact in denial about it. Total self-acceptance cannot be achieved by people who are not brave.
Being accepted by one’s family is also very essential. After all, getting accepted by your community won’t mean much if your family is merely “tolerating” your sexuality. Fighting discrimination from others is tough, but to be rejected by your own family because of who you love is hard to live with.
Now having said all of that, it is clear that using “gay” as an insult to coward people is totally unacceptable.