The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Respect for the Rainbow Society

(On the Homophobic Culture of the Filipino Community)
by aLfie vera mella

A few schoolmates of our eight-year-old Gabby have been teasing him 'gay' for a while already. Admittedly, at his young age, Gabby is already showing signs of being gay. He is effeminate. He loves playing with toys usually associated with girls. He enjoys more being in the company of girls; and when he's with them, he suddenly transforms into this animated and shrilly-voiced person.

Although we don't discuss this (homosexuality) yet with him directly, we ensure that he knows that we support him in his passions—like knitting, gardening, interest in flowers and botany, and dancing. In fact, we enrolled him at Royal Ballet of Winnipeg and, only about three months of lessons, he landed a role in the upcoming show The Nutcracker. Many kids auditioned, and he was among the number who got roles.

In the Filipino culture, homosexuality is a laughing stock for many people. Many Filipinos—adults and kids alike—would make fun of especially gay people. When they see a gay walking, many couldn't help themselves but utter something funny, derogatory, or even downright insulting. Some even get to the point of physically hurting these individuals.

Raised in a Non-Bigot Family
I am glad that, even as a child, I never teased a single homosexual in my life. In fact, I have many homosexual friends, and they know that—that when I'm with them or when I'm in conversation with them, I interact with them without taking their sexual orientation as a novelty.

Here in Canada, many people are already advanced and well-evolved in their ways of dealing with homosexuality. Besides, discrimination is a very serious matter here. However, there remain many people who still make fun of homosexuals.

Now that we are aware that Gabby is being teased by some kids, or even by some adults, we are not taking this matter lightly. We continue to be vigilant. We always remind Gabby that regardless if a person is gay or not, this person does not deserve to be bullied.

I don't need a psychologist to know that such teasing could leave an enduring emotional scar in the mind and heart of kid. For one, Psychology and Psychiatric Nursing were my favorite subjects in university, when I was finishing my degree in B.S. Nursing, 20 years ago. Secondly, I finished a two-year certificate course in Social Psychology here in Canada.

The Resolution
Having said that, the first thing that we decided to do to deal with the matter was, Inna reported to the school principal the kids who were teasing Gabby, and the principal talked to the kids.

And now that some kids still keep on teasing Gabby, Inna is talking again with the principal to ask that this matter should be elevated to a higher level: If the same kids keep on doing what they are doing, parents should be asked to talk with their kids and make them stop. If they persist, the school should sanction a suspension or any form of disciplinary action on these kids. If they are stubborn and keep on doing that, it's time to elevate the matter to higher authority—that is, consult legal advice or even a governmental agency that deals with such matters.

Homosexuality Is Not the Problem; It’s the Culture of Some People
The bottomline here is, whether Gabby is really gay or not, he doesn't deserve to be teased and treated like that, especially that he is a very kind, soft-spoken, and quiet boy.

That's the problem with many Filipino parents—they justify their children's teasing gay kids by saying "Eh, paano naman hindi tutuksuhin ng anak ko ang anak mo e babakla-bakla naman kasi talaga! [Why wouldn't my kid tease your kid gay when he is really acting like one!

Obviously these parents are discriminatory (based on gender or sexual orientation). They think that homosexuality is a bad thing, making them think that it's okay to make fun of or bully gay people.

Right to Feel Does Not Necessarily Extend to Right to Act on This Feeling
Okay, if deep in their hearts they believe that homosexuality is bad, then it's their right to feel that way; BUT, it is not their right to express such bigotry by teasing and hurting homosexuals just because of their homosexuality.

In the Philippines, making fun or bullying homosexuals seems being taken lightly by many people and even by the law itself. That's the reason many people perceive Filipino culture in general as homophobic. That's why people who bully homosexuals get away with their evil ways.

Here in Canada, the Law deals with this matter—discrimination of whatever nature—very seriously. If you discriminate someone based on whatever factor, you can really get yourself in legal trouble.

In Simple Words
All the victims or parents of the victims need to do is deal with this properly by acknowledging the situation, documenting the time and place of the incident, identifying the perpetrators, and reporting the matter to proper authority. Then do a followup to know what the school authority is doing to address the matter or if the bullies keep on doing what they have already been asked not to do anymore.

Homophobia encompasses a range of negative attitudes and feelings toward homosexuality or people who are identified or perceived as being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). It can be expressed as antipathy, contempt, prejudice, aversion, or hatred; and may be based on irrational fear.”—Wikipedia


  • At Friday, December 21, 2012 12:07:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hi im from Toronto been following all your blogs from the start , im glad that i was able to know pinoys here in Canada who have the same interest and passion,Thank you for this article about gay people ..galing naman. well reserched and very good that you able to educate readers about this..napa comment tuloy ako.. thank you


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