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MANILA, Philippines – Would you?
In August 2014, popular YouTube personality Chris Thompson vlogged about his rage about a gay man beaten up and disowned by his own parents after coming out.
Thompson then asked his lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) followers two questions: (1) If you had a choice, would you choose to be gay or straight?; (2) Is being gay a choice?
One of the responses reduced him to tears: “Sometimes, I ask myself, is there any possibility to become straight? It seems impossible because I’ve never felt attracted to a woman before. It’s pretty confusing. If I were straight, I think I’d somehow be a little happier.”
The video was a hit on both YouTube and Upworthy.
We were so affected after watching the video, so we decided to ask Filipinos the same questions. Here’s what they have to say:
“Definitely not. Who wants to be a third-rate citizen?”
Rueh Rephan Roi Almonte is a 19-year-old Political Science major of Silliman University. He has been openly gay since high school.
When he was in elementary school, he had trouble identifying himself as a straight man because he didn’t “fit the description.”
“If you reach the mature age to make a decision, you’ll realize that you have to follow your heart, but also take your brain with you,” said Rueh.
He added that being gay is “definitely not a choice,” and if it were, he wouldn’t choose to be gay. “Who wants to be marginalized as a third-rate citizen anyway? No one.”
Rueh shared that when he first came out to his family, they had a hard time accepting him. Being an only child was a factor, he thought. His parents, however, eventually understood him better.
“Nope. Also, I wouldn’t be gay if I had the choice.”
Cinderelle “Gab” Gabucan is 17 and has been openly lesbian since she entered college. She said that she’s fortunate to have a supportive family.
Gab insists that being gay is not a choice. She said she wouldn’t be gay if she had a choice, “Being gay is tough. I had to face things that no straight man would ever understand. I had to face antipathy, prejudice and hatred from ruthless homophobes.”
But things have improved in time, “I am happier now because I am more exposed to the gay community. I know myself better but I am still sad when I hear about gender discrimination. I think people should be educated about gender sensitivity because we are all equal and should be treated as human beings with emotions.”
“No. I was born this way and even though it was difficult at first, I wouldn’t change who I am.”
Solimar “Soli” De Castro, 18, identifies as a “pansexual.” He is in Dumaguete City for college, and he is the president and founder of Illuminates of the Spectra, an LGBTQ organization in SU.
“I’m a pansexual because I’m not gay, I’m not straight, and I don’t feel like a bisexual either,” Soli explained.
Pansexuality, according to Queers United, is the “physical or emotional or spiritual capability of falling in love or being with someone regardless of gender identity and biological sex.”
“You can’t really control who you like,” Soli believes, “I wouldn’t change who I am because that has made me the person I am today, and I am quite contented with that.”
The young student wants to help turn his university into a space “where people don’t just tolerate gay people, but see them as normal human beings who can function and merit understanding just like straight males and females.”
“Being gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual or whatever is not a bad thing. It’s just a thing that happens. Lady Gaga summed it up real neatly: We were born this way.”
“Being gay is not a choice, but pursuing relationships or coming out is a choice. I’d still choose to be gay if I called the shots.”
J Marie “JMax” Maxino, 25, has a double degree in Language and Literature from Silliman University. She is a proud lesbian.
She is also a women’s and LGBT rights activist.
JMax stressed that being gay is “not a choice with regard to feeling and what’s happening in your body.” It is, however, a choice when it comes to pursuing homosexual relations or choosing to openly identify yourself as gay.
“Being gay is a struggle with myself more than it was with the people around me,” she shared, “I am fortunate to be in an environment where it’s already ‘okay’ to be gay. It’s tolerated, but tolerance is not acceptance. I think Dumaguete is not yet ready for full acceptance but I have hope.”
We have to realize that the fight for LGBTQ rights and acceptance can only be won with everyone’s help.
The social construct that is homosexuality is just as limiting as heterosexuality, famed feminist and philosopher Simone de Beauvoir wrote. Everyone should be capable of loving anyone, whether man or women, without feeling any fear or restraint. – Rappler.com
Kae Lena Nuique, Queenie Maria Guibao, Ronelyn Faith Vailoces are youth reporters from Silliman University. They are part of the Mulat Pinoy-Kabataan News Network (MP-KNN), a project of the Probe Media Foundation Inc. MP-KNN youth reporters receive training in developing stories which concerns the Filipino youth. At present, there are 7 bureaus nationwide: Manila, Antipolo, Los Banos, Laoag, Dumaguete, and Davao.
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