This Gay-Straight Thing
I was working the whole of Sunday but in the afternoon, as I was spending a few precious moments away from the glare of the computer monitor, I caught the segment of “The Buzz” on the recent break-up of gay celebrity Vice Ganda from his unidentified boyfriend. The identity of said boyfriend has been the subject of speculation for a long time and the end of the relationship only seemed to fuel the speculation further. I think this is also largely due to Vice Ganda himself, for tweeting cyptic messages that, based on one’s interpretation, obviously alluded to a particular man, who is also known to be one of Vice Ganda’s friends.
Terrence Romeo, the man allegedly alluded to, who recently transitioned from varsity to professional basketball player, allowed himself to be interviewed and, again depending on one’s interpretation, got manipulated into issuing a denial of his alleged relationship with Vice Ganda. Adding un-necessary fuel to the fire is his father, who stated that his son couldn’t possibly be involved in a relationship with a gay man because he “raised his children properly”.
Boy Abunda, the gay host of the show and self-declared LGBT advocate, latched on to the father’s statement and started to go into a lecture of sexual diversity until one of his female co-hosts interjected–probably at the behest of the producers of the show. “The Buzz’, after all, is an entertainment talk show and probably not the best venue for disseminating sexual and gender diversity information.
I’m not surprised that while certain people acknowledge that LGBTs have gained a lot socially in the past years, many of the old prejudices remain. It’s true that gay representations in media have increased a lot and improved a bit. But I believe that at its core, many families still find it okay to have a gay son or daughter, as long as it’s not their own family. And God forbid that their son or daughter gets seduced by gays and lesbians.
The advocates’ work is far from over. Sexual diversity can be conceptually complicated, especially when taken alongside our existing cultural and religious biases. But it’s fairly simple on a practical level, especially if one views it behind the lens of respect to others. The process might be long and circuitous but I believe that gender-blindness is attainable.
Because in that ideal world, the identity of Vice Ganda’s lover should only be an issue because he’s a public figure and not because he’s gay. Terrence Romeo, regardless of his relationship with Vice, shouldn’t feel the need to clarify anything for fear of negatively affecting his masculine image and budding basketball career. And we the public shouldn’t have to care about a gay-straight relationship, no matter how much we are teased to do so.