Thursday, February 18, 2010


Being Gay

Did you ever catch yourself thinking that a man you see is gay? What traits of a person or cues of his appearance or movements can really cause such an opinion? Mostly people thought of gayness in two ways. First one is person’s girly appearance and manners. If anyone sees such person in public, almost 100 per cent people would call him gay. Second is based on the fact that the person engaged in same sex activities, may it be first hand story or just rumors.

The term gay was originally used, until well into the mid-20th century, primarily to refer to feelings of being "carefree", "happy", or "bright and showy". The term later began to be used in reference to homosexuality. In modern English, gay has come to be used as an adjective, and occasionally as a noun, that refers to the people, practices, and culture associated with homosexuality.

Gays appear in different faces. Some who manifest girlishness don’t necessarily have physical attraction towards the same sex. So homosexuality is not a determinant of gayness. Some, who managed to stay straight-acting, straight-looking, do not usually depict heterosexuality. They are privileged to look as any other guy looks, they are handsome, their speech is natural and they have no specific gay traits.

These scenarios have posed confusion to curious individuals on how to recognize someone to be gay. Most of the people close to me would ask me how to detect gayness in men.

Gay Classes
This article in fact is a product of my friends and colleagues inquisitiveness. I may say that this is just the first installment to fully describe each featured classification. I will call it as faces of gayness.

There have been many things told, various articles published in variety of medium, books, blogs, or written reports about different types of gays. I only chose 3 very valuable ones. One from Brotha’s Journey, a blog posted on 14 June 2008, presented 10 types of gays in campus. However, the featured classifications have limited scope because it only describes author’s observation of gayness within one particular school campus and it has too many (10 to be exact) categories to consider. Another interesting related article was posted by someone whose pseudonym is Bioman on 28 July 2008. It was written in Tagalog and described eight (8) types of gays. But then again, his article has limited scope, as it is declared in his opening statement that he “categorized them according to their attitudes.” The last one was a very entertaining write-up on classifying gays. It was a cut (actually a closing paragraph) on an article written by John Lapus posted in the internet by a fan. He equated different facets of gayness with rainbow colors. This was in relation to a common Tagalog joke about bakla (Tagalog term for gay/s). It related a story about a sermon delivered by a priest saying that gays have no room in heaven, so one gay replied, “No matter. We’d rather settle and slide in the rainbow.” This may also be a joke but Sweet (a.k.a. John Lapus) has aptly and colorfully described each class in relation to various behaviors, projections, appearances, preferences and activities of gays.

My article, on the other hand, reclassifies gays into five, the (1) QUEENS, (2) QUEERS, (3) CLOSET QUEENS, (4) PROUD MAMAS, and (5) BISEXUALS. This intends to simplify the varied classifications and appropriately describe each including a collation of the abovementioned authored notions plus some of my own observations. This is hereby offered to every curious ones wanting to know the evolving image of gays.

Class 1 – The Queens

Queen is a term used to refer to flamboyant or effeminate gay men. This is stereotyped image of a gay for most Filipinos. These are gays endowed with distinct femininity; he looked girly except the voice, very graceful and got the absolute right to maintain long polished nails and long beautiful hair. Most of them are visible transvestites or crossdressers, others are transsexuals and some are drag queens. Although the recent research indicates that only around 8% of crossdressers are practicing gays. A transsexual on the other hand is very different in that he doesn't identify with his body at all and he believes that nature made a mistake. He claims the cliché that he's a woman trapped in a man's body. He often hates his penis and wants to get rid of it at all costs, subject himself to sex change, and longs for enlarged breasts.

Three rainbow colors fall in this category as John Lapus described. RED according to him stands for mga baklang pa-girl, operada at mukhang babae. They are the kinds that can blend in women’s crowd except that you can isolate them through exaggerated effeminacy, through some traces of muscles around the body, through his elongated necks, and the obvious manly voice. ORANGE for mga batang bakla. Perhaps due to wider public acceptance and increasing tolerance by the society, kids with manifestations of gayness project confidence of their sexual orientation even at early age. INDIGO for mga baklang Diva at Mama. This encompasses the prominent gay personalities that set records for gayness. They comprise the successful older gays in their respective fields that flaunts themselves in general public with both honor and grace.

Bioman called them as SISTER L, sila yung mga nagdadamit ng pambabae, nagme-make-up, at yung iba, nagpapa-sex change.” He named some as MALDITAS and SPICE GAYS as those elite, socialites, flamboyant, trendsetters, and can always be seen in gimmick spree.

Brotha’s Journey defined gays in this class as THE OBNOXIOUS QUEEN, the loudest you will ever meet, flirts with anything that breathes and is a club addict. Other descriptions he featured are the so-called THE HALF AND HALF, THE TRENDSETTER, who starts the latest trends in fashion, know the latest songs and the dance steps, and THE PRETTY BOI, the guy that looks better than 50% of the girls on campus. He wears designer clothes, has a body to die for, hair you wish you had, has the accessories of a typical pretty boi (contacts, earrings, and the like).

These are gays who prance around with absolute confidence, with traces of definite gayness, embracing their peculiarity with grace and femininity.

Class 2 – The Queers

The large number of present day gayness is the so-called Queers. Queer has traditionally meant odd or unusual. Its usage is considered controversial and underwent substantial changes over the course of the 20th Century with gay people re-claiming the term as a means of self-empowerment.

In contemporary usage, some use queer as an inclusive, unifying sociopolitical umbrella term for people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, transsexual, intersexual, genderqueer, or of any other non-heterosexual sexuality, sexual anatomy, or gender identity. Because of the context in which it was reclaimed, queer has sociopolitical connotations, and is often preferred by those who are activists, by those who strongly reject traditional gender identities, by those who reject distinct sexual identities such as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and straight, and by those who see themselves as oppressed by the heteronormativity of the larger culture.

I chose to call this class as such for it retains the historical connotation of "outside the bounds of normal society" and can be construed as "breaking the rules for sex and gender." It can be preferred because of its ambiguity, which allows "queer"-identifying people to avoid the sometimes strict boundaries that surround other labels. In this context, "queer" is not a synonym for LGBT as it creates a space for "queer" heterosexuals as well as "non-queer" ("straight-acting") homosexuals.

Queers have full acceptance of their being, have fully understood their sexual orientation, and have embraced their uniqueness. He is never in denial neither brazenly portray his gayness. They are just the boys next door who know exactly who they are.

GREEN is the descriptive color John Lapus used for this class, mga paminta, mukhang lalaki, members ng (defunct) Berde is the Tagalog term for green and it has been centuries now that Filipinos described gays as having berdeng dugo (green blood).

Bioman called them MACHO-CHOPA referring to mga baklang hindi mo aakalain dahil mas guwapo at macho pa sa tunay na lalaki. Ito yung mga baklang maskulado, nagdyi-gym madalas upang magpalaki ng katawan. Pero pag kumilos e halata mo ring charing dahil mahilig magpa-cute sa mga guwapo.

Brotha’s Journey tagged them as THE AVERAGE GAY GUY. He is professional, a great friend, an honor student… he has the steadfastness in managing to keep his personal life out of the spotlight. The author lauded this type of gays and said “This is what most gay people should aspire to be like.”

Class 3 – The Closet Queens

Closeted or "the closet" are phrases generally referring to undisclosed sexual identity, behavior, orientation and gender identity.

John Lapus marked them with color BLUE. Those mga baklang tago at ayaw umamin fall under these category. He added beautifully: “Kahit hindi kayo umaamin, may karapatan din kayong mag-slide sa rainbow natin. Ingat lang sa pagtili at baka mabuking. Diyan kayo sa dulo para hindi mahalata ng bayan. Dont worry, we understand. Alam ko, kawawa din kayo.”

Gender discrimination is undeniably present despite the widening tolerance society has for gays. In the Philippines particularly, the stereotypical awkwardness of raising a gay in the family, or having a gay in the siblings, or even having a friend who is gay still exist. For some communities, gayness is tabooed or, if not, is ridiculed. Gay individuals are often raised in communities that are either ignorant of or openly hostile toward homosexuality. Thus most resort to closeting.

Bioman called them bluntly as the CLOSET GAYS. The author even mentioned that it is the basic. Actually he means common face of gayness, that every gay person passes through closeting. They are mga baklang ayaw umamin ng kanilang kabaklaan. Sila ay madalas na pigil at laging pinag-iisipan ang kanilang kilos. Madalas pag nasa maraming tao, kilos lalaki sila.

Brotha’s Journey has uniquely named them as SUPER NINJA. This is the type of guy who is terrified of people having the slightest clue he is gay. THE AVERAGE STR8 GUY he named also falls in this class. The author described this as the most difficult type to detect. He’s the typical straight guy, he loves sports, he adores cars, he can fix almost everything….nothing out of the ordinary macho man. He further called these men TRADES. You had no clue they were gay… The last description that fits this classification is his so-called MR DON’T ASK DON’T TELL – IF YOU AINT ASKING HE AINT TELLIN… This is the guy in class you always suspected but never had any concrete proof to nail him.

Because society has been so determined to hide the truth about homosexuality, gay people start out in the closet, not accepting their homosexuality--often not even being able to comprehend the fact that they are gay. The lucky ones come out quickly. The unlucky stay in the closet all their lives.

There is a large gray area around the closet. Some gay people either so ashamed or feared by it that they won't even acknowledge their homosexuality to themselves. Others use rationalization to hide from their homosexuality. Perhaps they don't consider themselves gay because of reasons only they can fathom. Most closeted folks acknowledge their homosexuality or bisexuality at some level, but are unable to accept or even act on it.

Class 4 – The Proud Mamas

John Lapus’ article chose YELLOW as the rainbow color that stands for gays who chose to create a heterosexual family. He defined them as mga baklang may asawa at anak. Bioman’s described them as BUD-WISER that mas pipiliin pa niyang mag-asawa ng girl.

I called them Proud Mamas. They are inactive or active gays who realized his need to build a home, who loved to procreate and nurture children of their own. The has-been active ones can be called ex-gays. Ex-gay is a term and concept used to describe persons who were once considered to be gay but who no longer assert that identity. These individuals possess a high level of conviction in reducing their ego-dystonic sexual orientation, refrain from pursuing same-sex relationships, develop heterosexual attractions, and enter into an opposite-sex relationship.

Nothing much changes that you can observe in them. Their flamboyance, the manner they walk and talk, their physical appearances remain. The only difference is that they were owned by a family they desired to live life with.

Class 5 – The Bisexuals

Bisexuality is a sexual behavior and orientation involving physical or emotional attraction to both male and female sexes. This is actually a third kind of sexuality in the heterosexual-homosexual continuum, but I opted to include it as another gay class considering that it involved men to men sexual activity.

The article of John Lapus identified VIOLET as the descriptive color for this classification. “Mga baklang bisexual, dito kayo kasi alanganing red, alanganing blue.” While Brotha’s Journey labeled them as THE HOMOPHOBE. Homophobes are usually attracted to masculine gay men as the feminine ones will blow their cover. He always has something negative to say to or about the gay guy, but in reality he just wants the attention.

Bisexuals commonly start to identify as bisexuals in their early to mid twenties. Research showed that of youths who had identified only as bisexual at earlier assessments, 60-70% continued to identify as bisexual, while approximately 30-40% assumed a gay identity over time.

Change Skin

As you can observe, we have successfully categorized gayness into five distinct facets. As I have said earlier, gayness is complex and complicated. What makes it more confusing which lead you to doubt if one is gay or not is the constant change in image, appearance, and projection.

Change as we all know is the only constant phenomenon in the universe. And change is a normal happening in every one of us, gays are not an exception. In fact most changes occurred in gays. One moment you will see one gay person a transvestite and later find him very manly looking, others even got married and built a happy family. Others started as closet ones in utmost denial and yet later in his life accept his true being and can even be seen crossdressing. This is called change skin.

One very challenging process of change skin in gay’s life is the so-called Coming Out or outing. Outing is the practice of publicly revealing the sexual orientation of a closeted person. Notable politicians, celebrities, military service people, and clergy members have been outed, with motives ranging from malice to political or moral beliefs. Outing is a change. But such is a long and winding process where a gay person asserts his identity to the heterosexual-ruled society.

Yes we do change. But change is based on free will. It is not be coaxed or a coerced decision, not even an imposed obligation. We can not force bisexual men to really choose sides. We can not direct closet gays to come out; they may have valid reasons of hiding. We could not restrict queens from crossdressing. We can not stop the growing number of young gays coming out. Change should depend on person’s volition to make change – geared towards his betterment, peacefulness, and life’s celebration.

Acceptance is equally important though and it should start from within self. Society’s acceptance of your gayness starts after you. Being true to one self is beneficial, it will result to acknowledgement of true potential, excellence in every undertaking, expression of gay’s innate innovativeness, impressive astuteness, definite wellness, and greatness and fullness of life.

Male & Female Homosexuality. Deviant behavior 4th edition by Erich Good, Prentice Hall

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