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Feb 27, 2009

OSS # 146: Pepper



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Warring Voices

There's a war, still young, but who knows whether it will take casualties of a holocaust proportion. It's a war within a war, ignoring the concept of divide and conquer. Divide and define yourselves. Choose a side. I'd been told that this was only in the Philippines.

"Where I grew up, sa Australia, walang ganyan. Ngayon ko lang nga narinig yung term na paminta. May buo, may durog pa." - Junji

The rainbow community is seemingly divided into black and white groups of effeminate and masculine gay men. Although one extreme is different from the other, there are many that fall uncomfortably in the middle. Lyka Bergen had a comic description in his blog about this division. (This stereotyping was of course done in the spirit of humor.) He found it hard to associate himself with either side.

"Hindi daw sya effem pero parang iniipit ang bayag kung magsalita. He doesn't like effem daw pero hindi naman pantay ang foundation!" - Rico

People have varying criteria for judging a man as effeminate. Some people see the near obsessive-compulsive behavior toward personal grooming as effeminate. Some are judged by the sound of their voices. Most are judged by the way they carry themselves, not only in public. No matter the criteria, the acceptance for them is low.

"Sorry, I don't like to meet up with gays and effems." - from a G4M profile

A man with feminine qualities is viewed differently, even in the heterosexual arena. In a TV ad of Colt 45, a gigantic bottle of beer was shown crushing the man exhibiting a hint of femininity. The message: if you're not very masculine, you get crushed. It was funny but it’s a sad reality.

The same treatment is being applied to effeminate gay guys. Gays have been usually stereotyped as the lowly parlorista, showbiz reporter or comedian. Philippine gay cinema has told countless stories about the sorry plight of various Filipino gay guys.

To each is his own reason for their subtle acts of aggression against effems. One can always argue that it's just a personal preference, like you cannot get a hard-on if you do it with someone who seems feminine. It's a valid reason for choosing a mate. Some say they refuse befriending "out and loud" gay guys to protect their closeted identity.

"...ang kakainis lang kasi minsan sa mga pa-hide-hide, may-i-deny to death pa sila na parang pinandidirian pa nilang nasasabi silang baditch...ipokrita. hatest ko yun." - Ate Sienna

There is freedom in being out. In the movie Milk, Harvey tried to give a familiar face to a gay guy different from the stereotypes - a son, a brother, a friend, a valuable employee. This meant that discriminating against gay guys could mean discriminating against an important person. To give a gay guy a new face meant coming out to friends, family and colleagues.

"My name is Harvey Milk and I'm here to recruit you! " - Harvey Milk

But not everybody is like Harvey Milk. Not everyone politely and convincingly requests a person to come out. Some people see it as a game, practicing their gaydar. Some do it as retaliation for the discrimination against effems, a means to force the masculine guys off their high horses. Male artistas are often the targets. A new label is invented - the paminta, which means a closeted gay. Paminta is rooted from "pa-men" which literally means acting like men or trying to project a manly effect, like being gay stops one from being a man. People find entertainment in seeing this kind of pepper crushed.

"I have heard many times from openly gay men, that being out is the only way and it's the best choice. They would even add "magpakatotoo ka" (be true to yourself). I believe they do not understand what they're saying. The truth is that there are other men who are not like them." - Optimus

Some find no reason to reveal. What's the point in other people knowing? Some people sense a violation of privacy. Fear is also a strong reason why a man finds it hard to reveal delicate information. Society is harsh and the truth can hurt.

And the truth is we have been a part of this war whether we like it or not, either as the aggressor, the victim or both. We build exclusive societies for effems and masculine gay guys. Some have discriminated against the other, or at least find entertainment in it. No matter how subtle, discrimination is discrimination. Even some straight-acting gays experience discrimination from the more masculine kind. The masculine takes pride for being so.

"mga gago pala kayo away kayo ng away wala namanng kwenta ang pinag-aawayan nyo.....GAGO!!!!!!!! kumain na lng kayo ng tae......" - Chitae

And the war rages on.

13 comments:

the geek said...

saludo ako sayo, niel..this is a very well put entry...(applause)

no matter what preferences us people have, one thing is certain:

we must respect them...there is no need for war...

Anonymous said...

i agree. but people have reasons in making their decisions.

it's a matter of perspective. gay is not even a category.. i do believe that people could not be categorized and limited to three genders.

we are very much unique that being male, female, gay, or whatever doesnt work anymore, especially today.

Anonymous said...

just to add a little more...

don't you think hollywood movies have a metaphorical meaning behind their film titles?

brokeback - go figure what; if you watch porn, u'd know

milk - guess what

diba? but milk was a true to life story. harvey milk was for real.

Niel Camhalla said...

*bow* :)
@the geek, salamat. but not everybody share our sentiments.

@anonymous,
"i do believe that people could not be categorized and limited to three genders."

does that mean we need more classification/categories?

"don't you think hollywood movies have a metaphorical meaning behind their film titles?

Yes. I think word-play (on titles) allows people to think of other meanings, which is good.

Maxwell5587 said...

i saw that colt 45 ad, yeah, very one sided.

i'm cool when it comes to the "parlorista" types, as long as they don't bug me and show respect. because respect begets respect.

and yes, there is no need for war. just let things be. wala na lang pakialamanan, hahaha.

MkSurf8 said...

nice post niel!

i'm cool to whatever leaning though i have my own preference.

Mugen said...

Neil, the war is over. There's a certain accommodation happening between the two parties involved. When you were there during the first IRc Generation, that was the warring times between these two factions.

To each his own na ang trip ng karamihan ngayon. :)

Victor Gregor said...

it is interesting to note two things:

1. that divisions between the gay community have bred animosity and harsh criticisms among gay men; and

2. that these divisions were mainly created by gay men themselves.

i always believed gay men can be the harshest to other gay men. a very sad fact.

pie said...

i second d motion, what victor said in his post.

Anonymous said...

does that mean we need more classification/categories? - no. people aqcuire certain archetypes today that you cant even distinguish one from the other.

so as a result, it's hard to find your equal nowadays. people are so much different today as compared before. it's a challenge, really.

as for me, it doesnt matter. i envision a much exciting life given this fact.

@victor: i always believed gay men can be the harshest to other gay men - true, but not all the time. don't let criticisms define who you are. yes this is a sad reality, but it's just a matter of perspective. people who arent affected by this "division" deserve much applause and credibility.

stronger personality = high marketability.

wala lang.papansin lang.

Mr. Scheez said...

Maybe because the gay community in the Philippines is still in its infancy stage in terms of full acceptance kaya ganito?

Niel Camhalla said...

@Maxwell5587, yes respect.

@MkSurf8, thanks! :)

@Joms, maybe in certain smaller circles the was is over, but in general, I still sense some animosity.

@Victor Gregor, true.

@pie, i third :)

@anonymous,
people who arent affected by this "division" deserve much applause and credibility.

I think they are the people that decided to face the war and resolve it in themselves.

@Mr. Scheez, I don't know if it's in the infancy but yes there are lot of chances to grow.

katcarneo said...

Oh, how true, and this post is very well-written. I have observed such groupings between the people I know, the masculines ones chiding the effem group for being "scandalous" and the latter retorting by calling the former pretentious. I have friends of both types but I won't pretend I uderstand everything there is to homosexuality. I just prefer to view others as individuals and not try to stereotype, although that can be hard.

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