A 23-second online video showing a conversation between Kris Aquino and her 10-year old son Bimby has gone viral this week. In the clip, Bimby was talking to his mom about persistent rumors about his sexuality. It is an excerpt from a longer video uploaded on her official YouTube channel.
BIMBY: People think like I’m a homosexual.
KRIS: Yeah. Don’t be homophobic, right? That’s the message. And whatever your choice is in life, that’s your choice.
BIMBY: Why would (they) judge a child?
KRIS: Don’t judge a child and don’t make a decision for the child.
BIMBY: It’s because we are still learning about ourselves and puberty hasn’t struck for me yet.
Obviously, the articulateness of Bimby at age ten is already impressive. However, there’s a more important point to be made. Having a gay son or lesbian daughter will almost certainly put most parents anywhere in the world in a tightrope, much more in a supposed socially-conservative country like the Philippines. For example, we have seen how singer Jake Zyrus’ mother and grandmother rejected his sexual transition early this year.
Thankfully, the actress and TV host is taking a different route. One Instagram user using the handle @josephlacearl earned the ire of Aquino recently when he implied that her former husband and basketball superstar James Yap would disapprove that his eldest son would become gay. “He (Yap) lost that privilege when he declared to the world that he lost interest in exerting effort to be a father to Bimb when he was promoting a bar he was a co-investor in,” Aquino said.
Aquino also threatened to take legal action against social media users who attack her son. “Next time you try to bully my son, remember that you are creating an enemy in me. And until he is 18, you are committing child abuse. I have taken a screenshot of your negativity and we keep a file of these types of comments with my lawyer Attorney (Raymond) Fortun,” she added.
It is important to highlight three lessons that we can learn from this episode. Number one, there is nothing wrong with being gay. As the Psychological Association of the Philippines stated forcefully in 2011, “decades of scientific research have … concluded that lesbian, gay and bisexual orientations are normal variants of human sexuality” and that the persistent anti-LGBT prejudice and discrimination “tend to be based on a rhetoric of moral condemnation and are fueled by ignorance or unfounded beliefs.”
Meanwhile, Bimby is correct that those in their pre-adolescent and teenage years are only beginning to learn about themselves, particularly their sexual orientation. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) explained in 2013 that “many gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals first become aware of and experience their sexual thoughts and feelings during childhood and adolescence.”
The AACAP further emphasized that during this difficult phase, it is imperative for parents “to understand their teen’s sexual orientation and to provide emotional support.” The group also added: “A person’s sexual orientation is not a matter of choice.”
HOY BIMBY IS SLAYING WITH ALL OUR HEARTS AND SOUL! YOU BETTER WATCH OUT! pic.twitter.com/4dxTMwVPOT
— ieca (@ricamaekessiah) December 24, 2017