How Do You Say GAY? [Pride Month Musings 2009 Part Two]
Good Manners is best defined by making people around you comfortable with who and what you are. Making an effort to at least show that you are capable of practicing certain social graces and civilities says much about a person. Now, some of you may think that’s already encroaching on free expression, laissez faire, and whatever it is that you feel entitled to as an individual against the drones of etiquette and norm, hindi masamang ipamukha sa kanila na ikaw ay Bading Na May Urbanidad.
I understand that this may raise a few eyebrows, but I have always believed that Manners Matter. For the most part, the social abrasion that Gay people experience is brought about their disregard for the social environment they are currently at. There’s always a time and place for everything. And what some of our brothers under the rainbow flag fail to realize is that this world will never be fair to all of us. There will always be a bigot at the other table, sniggering ill-mannered Neanderthals whispering at a corner, Visigoths heckling at you on your choice of wardrobe, and an establishment run by Ostrogoths that won’t let you in. But I am not here to lecture you on that. There are things that I myself think are beyond me.
However, I do have a few things that could help you out when some people turn a little abrasive about your sexuality.
These days, being Gay seems to be more controversial than it has been when I was around eighteen. At the time, my friend Ara Fernando said, “Walanghiya kayong mga bakla! Konti na lang nga ang mga lalaki sa mundo, inaagaw niyo pa!” [ Shame on you, gays! There are so few guys in the world and we have to compete with you! ] The context to which that was said at the time was more a commentary on how the Gays are on the prowl for unsuspecting straight men.
Sidebar: Pining over the straight man you can’t have is soooo 1990s! Hahahahahaha!!!
In a span of ten years, the definition of gay has become more technical than the usual clichés we ourselves have placed on each other. Now we’re dealing with terms such as Gay, Bi-sexual, Queen, Queer, Transgender, Bi-curious, Effems, Straight-Acting, Fag-Stags, Metro, Downe Guys, and whatever category seems convenient for the oddly placed in the population. There’s always room for more, some say… and that does add to the heterosexual population’s confusion.
But primarily, in certain situations, some of us -even one who can be a bit flamboyant- can still seem ambiguous or enigmatic to the naïve. My point being, some Gay people do give off that impression of mystery about them or maybe some people just cant keep their noses off other people’s business. Especially if you’re discreet about yourself.
So, what does one do when one is confronted about one’s sexuality?
In the Filipino social dynamic, these are the usual questions you are asked:
“Bakla ka ba?” [ “Are you Gay?” ] “Are you one of them?” [ “Ganoon ka rin ba?” ] “Berde ba ang dugo mo?” [ “Is the blood in your veins green?” *this is actually quite unique in Filipino Gayspeak that refers to Gays having green blood* intended with humor] “Sister?” [ that pretty much sums it up…]
The initial reaction to this questioning actually varies for it depends on the tone of the question. Some people just ask without consideration while some exert quite an effort not to offend you. But even the most cautious efforts can not put aside one’s initial reaction which is nothing short of “offended”. [this applies to most of us]
Now, the next time you do find yourself in this situation, here are a few answers that might be helpful.
How to say you’re Gay in the most educated fashion: “I have other inclinations.”
How to say you’re Bi-sexual or Bi-curious: “I am persuaded rather differently.”
How to say it doesn’t really matter if they learn about your Sexuality: “Well, truth is so prosaic.”
How to suggest that it’s not their place to ask: “Does it change anything if I answer your question?”
How to change the topic: “I’m sure you have other things to be more concerned about.”
And if these don’t work, there’s always some good old fashioned gay quip you can pull out of the hat that will answer their question and take them aback a bit: “Yes, unfortunately, I need to bring home a good looking guy to introduce to my parents as the man I want to spend the rest of my life with. Do you know someone?” -or any variation thereof said in an acerbic formulation.
Because there’s always a limit as to how far you can stretch your Pink Patience. And if that doesn’t work, then I’ll be the first one to encourage you to take the Rainbow Gloves off.