June is the international LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) pride month. A lot of people seem to think that the Philippine gay community is monolithic. That’s not true. In fact, it can be said that the only thing that’s common among them is their attraction to other men.
In other words, the gay community here is diverse in every way imaginable, just like the Philippine society in general. There are gay socialites, then there are those who belong to the middle class and the urban poor. They may have the same sexual orientation, but their life experiences are vastly different.
There are religious gays (e.g. devout Catholics) and there those that are very liberal and/or liberated. Many are spornosexuals (into beefy guys), but there are some who are into sapiosexuals (ergo, men with brains). Sadly, there are also gays who discriminate on other gays on the basis of looks, economic status, and even their preferred role during sex.
Pinoy LGBTs can only look wistfully at their brothers and sisters in other parts of the world as they achieve progress in the area of marriage equality. Here, efforts to have an anti-discrimination law have gone nowhere for many years now. Meanwhile, the LGBT political party Ang Ladlad wasn’t even qualified to take part in the 2016 party-list elections.
The coming of the new administration under President Rodrigo Duterte presents a fresh start for the LGBT community here. How far can things go under the new government? Only time will tell. Nevertheless, advocates must never forget that any proposals they may come up with in the future should reflect the diversity of the LGBT community and their diverse interests.
For instance, while it is understandable for some to be pushing for civil unions or marriage equality already, that remains not on the priority of LGBT people who have to deal with the fact that they can be fired from their jobs just because of their sexual orientation.
The potential for the advancement of gay rights in the Philippines within the next few years is there, but there must be a feeling of solidarity first within the community. The privileged few should stop thinking that just because they are safe and dry under their umbrellas, then everyone else is also having an easy time.