Does Manny Pacquiao's comment comparing people in same-sex unions to animals create a hierarchy of who deserves or does not deserve basic rights? Image courtesy of Emil Mercado
To be honest, I was not surprised. Manny is a fighter, a soon-to-be pugilistic has-been. I have not expected anything intelligent to come out of his mouth in a long time.
In the beginning, like most of my countrymen, I was a fan. During Manny's quick rise to fame, I asked my relatives in Manila to send me the latest Pacquiao shirts so that I could show my Filipino pride.
I fell for the narrative of fighting past poverty, of learning a craft and sticking with it, and of earning fortune and accolades because of it. I beamed when Americans talked to me about this tiny cross-eyed fighter from the South. I said, "Yes, we make strong athletes," secretly feeling proud for sharing a little-known country with a rising star.
A lost affection
He immediately lost me in 2012 when he voiced his stance against same-sex marriage and was allegedly misquoted as promoting violence against the LGBT community.
While each person is entitled to his own opinion, I have always drawn the line in those I associate with or admire and decided early on to not have even a remote interaction with any person who does not feel that my life and marriage deserve the same protections as heterosexuals freely enjoy.
I have always been firm on that, and I have never regretted it. A difference of opinion is one thing, oppressing a subset of people and depriving them of their rights is another.
Of course, Manny continued to rise through the years and both friends and acquaintances asked if I would regain my affection for him.
I have not.
Since 2012, I have not watched a single Pacquiao fight, engaged in a conversation about him, or even showed any kind of pride in him as a Filipino. I cannot, as a matter of principle, be proud of anyone who cannot be proud of my peaceful, productive, and loving home life.
For the first time and constantly after that, I felt embarrassed to share a country with someone so feeble-minded, hurtful, and bigoted parading his outdated sentiments on an international stage.
It came as no surprise today when a clip was released today of Pacquiao issuing a statement on his feelings about same-sex marriage, saying that it was simply "common sense" to oppose it because he claimed there are no instances of homosexuality in the animal kingdom.
Feeling righteous and justified, he placed homosexuals and same-sex relationships below the level of animals based on the fact that he has never seen an instance of homosexual behavior in the animal kingdom.
1,500 species of animals exhibit homosexual behavior
Mas masahol sa hayop (More disgusting than animals)? I beg to disagree, but don't take my word for it. Read a little about the facts of life outside your immediate surroundings.
The human species is not exempted from this phenomenon. Like in mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians, fish, insects, and other invertebrates, homosexuality in nature is an integral part of the ecosystem. There is a list of them for anyone who cares to open their minds.
But I forgive Manny for never learning this in school as it probably was not taught in his elementary level. I do not fault him for not knowing how to use the scientific method when presented with new ideas and theories.
Even if I'm not a religious person, I still forgive him for clinging to the Bible in citing his outdated and bigoted ways.
I give him a pass for not understanding how his primitive ideas will not only cost him sponsorships but also the remaining affections of those who aren't ignorant enough to let those they admire say hurtful things about them and they ones they love.
The one thing I cannot allow to slide is the fact that my LGBTQI brothers and sisters and I are being placed on a hierarchy where humans like Manny Pacquiao are supposedly better and more deserving of basic rights than animals, followed by the masahol (disgusting) homosexuals that are supposedly below our non-human counterparts.
A message to Pacquiao
I will say it in Filipino so there is no misunderstanding and I will not be accused of being elitist, intellectual, or simply using English to go over Manny's head:
Alam mo kung ano ang mas masahol sa hayop? Ang magnakaw sa taumbayan katulad ng hindi mo pagtupad sa tungkulin mo bilang hinalal na opisyal.
Ang pagsayang sa binabayaran naming buwis para andyan ka sa puwesto mo ay isang kasalanang kahit kailan hindi pa ginawa ng kahit na anong klaseng kahayupan. Mas mabuti pa ang hayop sa iyong hipokrito. Kahiya-hiya kang Pilipino.
(You know what is worse than being an animal? It is to steal from your countrymen the way you do when you don't fulfill your duties as an elected official. To waste the taxes we pay so you are employed by Congress is an offense that has never been committed by any kind of animal. Animals are way better than a hypocrite like you. You are a shame to Filpinos.)
Most animals don't abandon their offspring. They certainly do not blackmail their former lovers to stay away from them because their children are bad for their fame.
Manny Pacquiao cut off all ties with his flesh and blood because it wasn't good for publicity. He denied siring his own son because he could not stand up to the consequences of his actions, making his girlfriend quit her job and leaving her without income to support herself and his child.
Manny Pacquaio is another horrible official who is now trying to maintain the lifestyle he earned as a fighter by being another thief of the nation's coffers. Evading taxes for his international earnings, he fits right into the system of corruption that is currently endemic in the Philippines. (READ: They must think we're stupid)
Dear Manny, talk to me about being a good, kind, and accepting Christian who believes that he who is without sin must cast the first stone. Do not talk about the animal kingdom, the hierarchy of life forms, or the scientific world that you know nothing about.
At the very least, tell me why the successful, peaceful, and loving life I share with my wife and my fellow LGBTQI Filipinos is somehow inferior to yours when all we seek is to love well, work hard for our families, and raise children with a conscience and a certain level of humanity so they respect all people the way you find so difficult to do. (READ: When a woman has a wife)
The tragedy of Philippine politics
It is unfortunate but the Philippines is so typical and predictable. Even after this irresponsible statement, there will still be a whole nation still singing Pacquiao praises.
There will be overwhelming support for this boxer simply because of his fame and regardless of his leadership or legislative skills. The sad reality is that we truly get the government we deserve.
But hopefully he will finally begin to stand for the good of all his constituents instead of adding more problems to an already rotten system that barely serves the people he claims to care about. – Rappler.com