MANILA, Philippines – Coming Out is a term used in the LGBT community to describe the process more completely labeled as “coming out of the closet.” It means a decision to lay waste to subterfuge, deception and fear, and allowing your real self to be exposed, and to publicly identify oneself as a member of the LGBT community.
(I have known of the term LGBT since the late-80’s, which stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. I was surprised when one of my readers had to ask me what it meant, proving once again that the struggle of the LGBT is far from over, when the very term that describes the community remains unknown to some people in 2012.)
So, why should Corona “come out”? He is, by all accounts – all 82 of them, sorry, I had to go for the in-joke – as straight as they come, so it has nothing to do with his sexual orientation or identity when I say that.
But as I intimated, coming out implies one to be honest with oneself and with the world. There are similarities for both him in his particular situation, and for those of us who have made that trek. (So graphically described as pagladlad ng kapa in local parlance, or an unfurling of the cape. Not too incidentally, I believe this is where the LGBT group Ladlad derives its name.)
1. Aren’t you tired of hiding yet?
People who have come out of the closet – voluntarily, let me qualify that – are those who are tired. Tired of all the little stories they had to tell people as to where they really went over the weekend, who they were really with at the movie premiere, tired of having to sit through another heterosexual fix-up. Tired of hanging out with the “buddies” having beer and ogling half naked women in an attempt to be “one of the guys.”
In Corona’s case, isn’t he tired of all the stress that he is going through? He has proclaimed, at the start of this trial, that he will face all charges “in due time.” We only saw him on the first day of the trial in the audience, then poof! He has made himself scarce – in the trial that is. Yet, he goes on national TV, on various stations and even on radio, to “air his side.”
Clearly he has something to say – saying it on trial will make it official. Much like those who have come out of the closet, who see it as an official break from their old life, one characterized by lying and putting up a face.
Or more likely, a farce.
2. It becomes easier to see who matters and who don’t
One thing that became evident when I came out: I saw who, among those who identified themselves as my “best friends,” saw me for who I was, and those who did not because I failed to conform to some “ideal,” and that any break from that supposed ideal meant I was not worthy of being called a friend (let alone a best one).
Once you come out, you become quite adept in determining which people are worth your time, your affections and even your love. You learn quickly which relationships do not matter, or which ones are those you should cherish.
Has Corona considered what this trial has done to his family? They have been dragged into this, for public scrutiny, all because he is steadfastly clinging to his guns, trying to hide and make things murky, having TROs (Temporary Restraining Order) issued by the court he heads, having his lawyers resort to technicalities, in attempts to conceal information rather than to reveal.
(Of course, his wife is at the center of the BGEI scandal, so she has to answer for those herself. But the children, who have lives of their own, and are not in the country…they are now part of the vernacular, as party to something sordid, all because he has refused to be open about the details of his conduct.)
The common perception is that he is holding on to his position because he has to protect the person who gave him – illegally – his current position, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He is seen as someone who can provide legal obstacles to anyone who dares to bring Arroyo to be accountable for all the horrendous transactions and practices that happened during her term. (ZTE, fertilizer scam, “I am sorry”…I don’t think we can list them all.)
If Corona comes out with the truth, it will be easier to see kung sino ang mas matimbang (who weighs more): his family or his benefactor.
3. It decreases the chances of someone “blowing the whistle”
No matter how much you suppress who you are, if it’s part of you, it will be revealed, sometimes sooner, sometimes later, but it can never be completely hidden. Related to the first item, it takes work to construct a “fake life” – just ask the government agency in charge of the witness protection program.
LGBT people still in the closet spend considerable amounts of time, effort, energies, all into making sure that other people remain “comfortable” in their presence. This is a classic recipe for paranoia: “Did someone just see me buy this book?”; “I hope no one saw the card I sent her that said ‘I can’t wait to be with you, Claudia.'” Your next note, your next purchase, someone could see it as a betrayal of your membership in the LBGT community.
And someone could spill the beans and force you to come out.
I don’t think we need to regale yesterday’s events one more time. Wait, I think we do, since Corona hasn’t considered this point.
Now that is publicly outing someone.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has revealed in her investigations that Corona has dollar accounts with transactions that occurred in the millions. His blanket denial of the existence of the “$10 million account” now stands as a record of just that, a denial of the truth.
Are you waiting for more people to blow the whistle? Coming out is the best “defense” against people trying to find “dirt” on you. Once facts are exposed, they lose their power over you, and your life will not be ruled by fear and paranoia anymore.
4. Your path becomes clear
By extension of the second item, it will become clear what you will do next. For most in the LGBT community who have made this decision to come out, it is liberating not to be weighed down by societal expectations – should marry by this age, should have kids by now, etc. – and the future becomes something exciting, because truly, the possibilites will seem endless as to what “the next step” will be.
This is where it diverges for Corona, though: when he comes out, it should become clear to him that his duty, as a public official, is to be accountable to all of us. He is imbued with great powers, so great that he can thwart a government’s attempt to stem the tide of corruption that has long plagued our political life that we accept it as a given already.
He may have gotten his post because of GMA, but it was not her post to give: the power of that post emanates from all of us, citizens in a democratic country. It is we who desire for justice and truth to be served, not the capricious desires of a former President who is so drunk with power that she refuses to give up political privilege, even clinging on to a “lower post” just so her ego can be assuaged and her anomalous dealings kept hidden from scrutiny.
I would like to share this quote from one of my favorite writers, Deb Price. What she said about being in the closet was in reference to the LGBT’s struggle, but it also aptly describes what Corona’s situation is like now.
“One of the great American myths is that the closet is an uncomfortable but safe place. In reality, it is an exceedingly dangerous place that can feel comfortable simply because it is familiar.”
And, might I add, it feels comfortable because it lulls you into believing that you do not have to be honest to yourself and accountable to others.
As Harvey Milk once said, coming out is a duty. Heed his call, Corona.
Come out, come out. – Rappler.com
(The author works as a fitness professional and is currently an area manager for a large multinational fitness center chain. For more by the author check out his blog.)
Click on the links below for more Thought Leaders pieces.
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