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Friday, November 25, 2011

"Is He?"

That question was posed to me by someone who saw that short clip of Atty. Midas Marquez that has been circulating in Facebook recently, and if memory serves me right, there were (as of last count) more than 20 people who have shared that video as well on their own Walls.

(Photo courtesy of

The completion of that question, of course, is "Is He Gay?"

I wouldn't know. I don't know him. And it's none of my business.

What I find odd is how quickly this video shifted the public's focus on him as a spokesperson of the Supreme Court into the alleged poster boy for the "atengs". (Approximated by the slang "sistahs".)

Here is the video that sparked the wagging tongues (courtesy of

Suddenly, everyone has to know if he's gay.

Which brings me to the point that has always struck me as illogical and unscientific, but in the minds of most people (not just Filipinos), serves as "definite proof" that a man is gay.

One's actions/mannerisms are supposed to "betray" your true sexual orientation. "Common knowledge" dictates that if you qualify for any of the items below, you must "be one."

He eats his salad with a knife and fork. Gay.

Uses an umbrella walking to work. No doubt there.

Listens to jazz, and specifically female jazz singers. Gayville.

Talks softly, and places hands on hips. Gay as Lady Di.

All the while, we are conveniently forgetting one salient - obviously not to the majority - fact: actions and mannerisms are culturally determined and subsequently labeled as "masculine" and "feminine". (This is such a throwback to the social science courses I had in college.) And the underlying truth that everyone just denies outright is that, from a scientific perspective, there is no truth whatsoever for one's mannerisms serving to determine one's sexual orientation.

The ONLY thing that matters, where this topic is concerned, is "to which sex are you sexually attracted to?" And for all intents and purposes, Atty. Marquez has publicly shown himself to be married - to a woman - and having children, which, in the same cultural context in which he is thought of now as being gay, would make him as straight as a ruler.

My friend persisted, "But what if he really is?"

If he is gay, he shouldn't be forced to come out. I am not a fan of forcible outings, the reasons for which are varied. No one should ever be forced to do things they aren't ready for, certainly not one which has the potential for untold and horrible repercussions, something that straight people will never have to ponder because no such fate await those who are indubitably heterosexual.

I told my friend that it is a moot discussion, as only Marquez himself knows himself to answer that question. Everyone one else is ridiculing him for something that we all, at turns, have done in our own lives: acted contrary to what we have been expected to. It is this weight of cultural expectation that I find utterly fascinating because even at the expense of personal freedom, most of us would rather succumb to "what they want" rather than to celebrate our individuality.

No wonder the word "sheep" has always been thrown around in this context.

Oh, and speaking of science, here's an article you may find very interesting:

Even though the title is self-explanatory, here's the Cliff Notes version: If you're homophobic, chances are, you're gay yourself. Well, the one part of you that is aroused says that, even if you verbally lie.

Uh oh.

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