Letters to the Editor

Well-meaning discrimination is still discrimination

The Philippine Star

We may not be living in a world where gays are being stoned to death or used as cannon balls for the target nemesis, where they are being squeezed to pieces to confess and explain their identity, or groomed to become relegated people in the same way as the comfort gays during the Japanese occupation (though some of these things do happen), but we are living in a world where discrimination still persists in a subtler, though categorically obvious, way.

Daily chats, such as “I like you ‘coz you’re gay, but formal,” “He’s gay, but at least he is intelligent” or “You’re gay, so you must know how to do makeover.”

These “well-meaning” insults have been construed by many straight people to be compliments that, if professed, make gay people kneel in appreciation. They are not compliments. Nor are they constructive feedback. They are statements that have underlying, troubling double standards. Why does being gay have to be complemented by favorable attributes like being smart, talented, intelligent, articulate and so on?

One possible inference for this problem is that in Philippine society, gayness is insufficient; it is one’s burden that needs to be lifted up from one’s shoulders because they do not only bring about incompetence but also inferiority. It means that once you are gay, you have to cover it up by being in possession of the values of society: intelligence, competence, hard work and other paradigms already agreed upon.

In other words, when a straight person enters the room, it’s a person in the workforce. But when an intelligent gay man enters the room, he or she is gay but intelligent. Because you are seen as inadequate and secondary, you have to compensate by being good. This unfortunate worldview proves that this form of discrimination never went away; it only morphed into a different linguistically casual way of expression.

There is one powerful gift that the world has gifted humanity: language. We have to use it and use it well. The discrimination against people in this sector persists through the misuse and abuse of language. It is time that we forged a path where gender or sexuality does not define, measure or limit a person’s capability but is only regarded as a natural phenomenon. – James Razel B. Tanguan [email protected]

vuukle comment


  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with