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Friday, December 2, 2011

The Piolo-KC Breakup As An Inkblot

By now, everyone who has a TV set, internet connection or otherwise "wired" must have known/seen/read about "actress" KC Concepcion's tearful tell-all (can we label it that?) of her break-up with local heartthrob Piolo Pascual. (I use the term actress in quotes to denote "one who acts onscreen". I cannot use it in the same way I would describe Meryl Streep as an actress. And before anyone hisses, I have seen at least two of her "films", time I cannot take back.)

After her revelation, online activity was rather singular in its assumption and conclusion: Despite the lack of anything substantive actually spoken, what KC didn't say led most everyone to advise her to "move on, girl, he's not into girls!"

(Photo courtesy of

A sticking point in Piolo's long career, he has always been speculated as gay, and of the closet variety, which makes for more interesting "scoops". I remember how he tearfully appeared on TV denouncing a sex video that had gone viral (the video implying he was a party to a sexual encounter that involved another man). There was also that picture of him holding hands with Sam Milby, another "actor" who is also the subject of many get-togethers and gossip sessions as "questionable" in the sexuality department, which was later found out to be edited and photoshopped. And when he came forward to introduce his son with a non-showbiz woman, it was summarily judged as a "beard" action, something used to stop people from casting any further doubts into his sexual orientation.

What people fail to realize is that how they reacted revealed more about how they really thought and felt, vis a vis attitudes towards sexuality, homosexuality and gender roles. Hence, the inkblot analogy. (For more on Rorschach and the inkblot test, see as a springboard for further links.)

One, despite pushing by some sectors to be more "politically correct", we still are largely homophobic as a nation, and as a culture.

Notice how when someone is thought of to be "gay", you will hear - without missing a beat - the screeching "Aaaaaaay!" by certain females in radius. Or, the also equally ubiquitous "sayang" ("what a waste") under someone's breath.

Why is it a "waste"? That's your libido talking.

The screech would be an ode to "screaming" queens, one where the terms effiminacy and homosexuality are considered synonymous. How I pity the men, who by dint of choice or circumstance, are by their nature soft spoken, have a non threatening voice, updated on things related to skin care, actually have the talent to do pirouettes or play Chopin, who also happen to be heterosexual. They are reduced to hiding what they really want to do, to act totally out of their characters just so not to be mistaken as "bakla" (adopting a deeper voice, acting brusko).

Two, it is also an ode to how stifling, rigid and unyielding our gender roles are, and coupled with our national obsession as being seen as some sort of pious, religious nucleus in Asia (you can't hear me, but I'm laughing), anyone who challenges the predetermined order is seen as "abnormal" and must be derisively dealt with posthaste. We've all heard of fathers beating up their sons who were found to be playing with dolls, as if somehow it was a form of "evil spirit" that could be "exorcised". Nothing more embarrassing than to be thought of as having an "abnormal" child, better beat the living daylights out of you before you "manifest".

Yet, strangely, we give mixed messages when it comes to adults.

How can anyone not note the hypocrisy? Below is a sampling of why I find this attempt to be gender-specific laughable.

Boys don't play the piano! (But those considered "masters" in it are predominantly men.)

The kitchen is a woman's place! (Yet most "star chefs" are male.)

Designing clothes? Hello! (Do I need to state the obvious?)

Apparently, it is considered "acceptable" for a man to be in a field traditionally viewed as "feminine", if the man is seen as a "captain" or "the best" in that industry. (Feminists, feel free to rant now.)

One message that is made resoundingly clear by "authorities", though, is that "men should be paired with women". But even though Piolo has already, repeatedly and categorically, stated that he is straight, and is dating women left and right, he will always be seen as "faking". No one will cut him any slack. Assuming that he is gay - he will be doing what has been expected of all males in this country and will still be thought of as a liar. In a continent halfway around the world, we have people like US Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann telling gay men they can get married, "to women". Add to that our religious neuroses to submit to the will of Catholic prelates and doctrine - regardless of actual chosen religion - and gay men are in the proverbial no-win situation.

The only "moral" recourse - as per the Catholic handbook - is for gay men to be celibate.

Considering the source, you'll excuse me if I guffaw like there's no tomorrow.

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