Gay is good
I’m not gay although my friends think I am because, they say, I crack jokes like gay stand-up comedians do. But I do know of many people who are homosexuals. By no means do they threaten to harm the community.
On the contrary, they enrich our community life. We can enrich theirs, too, if we eliminate one by one the vestiges of discrimination to which they have been subjected for a long time.
My younger brother is gay. We know he has a boyfriend. If it were up to my mother, she would rather my brother chose someone of the opposite sex. But my mother knew that is not her choice to make; it’s my brother’s. Nevertheless, she doesn’t despise my brother for making that choice. Regardless of the choices he makes in life, in the eyes of my mother, he is the same person she raised.
I have a teacher friend who is a lesbian. We were colleagues at a sectarian school where I used to teach. Being a lesbian, however, doesn’t affect her being a teacher. In fact, she teaches so well that her students, the religious nuns who run the school, and her colleagues all respect her for who she is as much as for what she does.
I used to have a student who was brought up by a homosexual couple. The child grew up to be a perfectly fine young man. He was sent to a premier Catholic school. Now, my former student is doing well in college, thanks to his parents who are brave enough to take the tedious yet fulfilling task of parenting.
Perhaps one of the most prominent gay people in this country is Boy Abunda. His relationship with a person of the same sex is no secret. And yet one can tell he’s a God-fearing, family-oriented, and one damn good person.
It's all about respect
In earlier times, homosexuals were told either to get their act 'straight' or to stay silent for the rest of their lives. Today, however, our society is beginning to realize that gay people also deserve the same respect, because they also possess the same dignity, as those who are straight.
And yet, in the words of Margaret Mead, “What people say, what people do, and what they say they do are entirely different things.” Although we keep on saying that gay people are entitled to respect, the truth is the respect we give them is specious. Too often, we respect them only because they entertain us with their self-deprecating humor, only because they amaze us with their achievements, and only because they strive hard – perhaps harder than most us – to prove that they’re our equal. When they cease to amaze and entertain us, so does our respect for them.
We need not look back into our history to prove that we’re still a society struggling to accept the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. We need only look at the sad fate of Jennifer Laude. Many people say it was all Jennifer’s fault. Had she not gone out with US Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton, she wouldn’t have been killed. They made Jennifer the poster gay of the "hazards of homosexuality," pointing out Jennifer’s death as an example of what could happen to a member of the LGBT communuty.
We need only look at our marriage law. In 2001, a man named Rommel Silverio went to Thailand to undergo a sex reassignment surgery. His ultimate goal was to have his sex changed so he could marry his foreigner boyfriend in Philippine soil. After the successful sex reassignment surgery abroad, Silverio came home and petitioned a regional trial court in Manila to change the name appearing in the birth certificate from “Rommel Jacinto” to “Mely,” and the sex from “male” to “female.” The trial court granted his petition, saying it “would bring the much-awaited happiness on the part of the petitioner (Rommel) and her (fiancé) and the realization of their dreams.”
But the Court of Appeals stood in their way. It reversed the trial court’s decision, and the Supreme Court later on affirmed the Court of Appeals. Silverio was told that our Family Code says marriage is only “between a man and a woman.” And by man and woman, the law means those who, at birth, have penis and vagina. Even a sex reassignment surgery couldn’t alter the fact that he’s born a male, and will forever remain so, unless our lawmakers say otherwise (Silverio vs Republic).
Filipino homosexuals would probably envy their American counterparts. In 2003, the US Supreme Court, in Lawrence vs Texas, invalidated a Texas law that criminalizes same-sex sex. Homosexuals “are entitled to respect for their private lives. The state cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their sexual conduct a crime.” A decade later, the US Supreme Court, in United States vs Windsor, struck down a Federal law that prohibited same-sex marriage, noting that it “demeans the couple, whose moral and sexual choices the Constitution protects, and whose relationship the State has sought to dignify.”
What makes homosexuality unacceptable in this country until now is, I think, the idea that they’re a threat to our shared values. That is absurd. This country doesn’t suffer a shortage of real threats to our values. There are plenty of threats that come from so many sources and take so many forms.
To unjustly heap all that is evil upon homosexuals is to fault the stars for our misfortune. - Rappler.com
Arvin Antonio Ortiz is a full-time teacher at the Basic Education Department of Holy Cross of Davao College, and a third year law student at the University of Mindanao College of Legal Education.