Penises, vaginas, and trouble in the middle
TO THE QUICK - Jerry S. Tundag (The Freeman) - August 26, 2019 - 12:00am

Let me be clear at the outset. I will be using certain contextual words and phrases here. Their use isn’t intended to disrespect anyone. It’s just how they were used at certain points in time in this narrative. I use them in an attempt to capture the mood at a particular period in this country's search for identity, a search often led into the wrong direction by our own faulty appreciation of what we really want, for ourselves and for others.

My earliest recollection of people of the third sex was in the early 1960s. Growing up in what was then Wireless, Mandaue, third-sex people were simply called “bayot.” There weren’t many of them at the time. But you knew instantly when they were around because there would be an uproar in the neighborhood because older boys would chase them squealing and laughing away.

I don’t think the bayots were in any way threatened and in danger. The fact that they would squeal and laugh as they picked up their high heels and ran was because they probably loved the attention. But a romp through the neighborhood was not the pinnacle of their attempt at display and search for recognition. Every once in a while they got together in barrio fiestas to do fashion shows.

A fashion show sa mga bayot was always a hit. People found a perverse delight in making fun of them. Oddly, maybe because it was the only way to be recognized at the time, the bayots themselves relished the malicious attention. And strangely, and for which I cannot explain scientifically, these fashion shows almost always get rained out. Gikilatan na ang mga bayot, the old women would chortle away.

Things changed in the 1970s. As more men became bayots, including those you never expected, they began to fill niches in society that normally weren’t fit or reserved for them. So from the traditional beauty parlors, they began to move into regular jobs. One thing that probably helped usher in the change was their befriending of women with influence in society.

And when the women did, so did their men. Pretty soon, it became disrespectful to call them bayot. If it can be helped, you don’t call them anything. Or did, as they preferred, which was as gays. In the intervening decades, and for whatever reason, the number of gays in the world exploded. Yet strangely, just when they have become so many, never had they become, or feel so threatened.

I think gays have earned their place in the world as early as the 1970s when they first found real support among women. And that’s why, having seen this evolution, I cannot understand why, by whatever name they choose to be called now, they would insist on things as if insisting from a point of utter deprivation. At no time have gays been more respected, recognized, and appreciated.

So why can they not extend the same to women? Have they forgotten that without the embrace of women they probably would still be chased around and made fun of by men? Gays should learn to give back respect and courtesy to women. And they can start by respecting their need for privacy as they are --women-- which the gays can never be by reason of birth, and the genetic programs that make those births as they are.

When a person is born, he or she can only be male or female, that is, with a penis or a vagina. It’s not a rocket science to tell which is which. All you have to do is look. Now a penis may develop vaginal feelings and a vagina penile feelings. The software, as they say in this day and age, may change. But the hardware stays the same. If you have a penis, go to the men's room. If with a vagina, to the women's. Let's not complicate the simple.

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