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“Hindi ako bakla, malibog lang” and other myths

February 7, 2013

I came across this, and wondered when the common notion of “gay people as sex-crazed individuals” will cease to be. I am against it because it is a most mindless way of looking at people; it’s a stereotype, something people resort to when they’re tired of thinking or do not want to think anymore. Stereotypes are good for primary classification, but here’s the bit: they aren’t meant to be rigid.

When I read this, I remember this erotic story I came across just a week ago.This guy (the object person, OP) has a brother-in-law, whom he caught watching porn and masturbating with a Fleshlight (TM). So this brother-in-law berates him: Are you gay? Of course the OP says no, I’m straight, but I’d like to watch porn with you. So they watch porn (which turns out to be straight and involves a gangbang of five women and one guy). Then the brother-in-law turns off the porn movie, starts kissing the OP, the OP says he’s not gay, the brother-in-law says, we’re just tripping, then starts touching and fellating the OP. They eventually penetrate each other, with the OP punching the brother-in-law because it hurt a lot, and they lie on the bed after this. Then their pillow talk goes along these lines:

Brother-in-law: I wouldn’t do it if you hadn’t snuck on me.

OP: Hey, I’m not gay, I’m just horny. (In Tagalog, this is Hindi ako bakla, malibog lang.)

Brother-in-law: Hell, we enjoyed it anyway.

After this, the story clarifies, they still met, but no more fellatio or penetration. They got a circle jerk and eventually convinced one of the OP’s brothers to join in. And something about the OP’s father having a large package, etc. End of story.

In Filipino culture, the words bakla, bading (Tagalog/Ilokano) and bayot (Bisaya) symbolize an effeminate guy, not necessarily a homosexual. In South Sea island societies (related to the Philippine peoples), there is also an indigenous concept of the “third sex”, neither male nor female, someone pubescent males would run to for their first sex experience in lieu of a woman. Filipinos think of the bakla in the same way, even if they do not admit it.

However, Christianity, which was first imposed and later imbibed willingly in the Spanish period, denotes homosexuality as an unnatural act. Filipinos, to this day, are caught in limbo: the Church says it’s unnatural, but we’re perfectly fine with it. The bakla  are seen as a natural part of Philippine society, but guys who are not bakla tease each other about being bakla as if it were an imperfection of the male species. The bakla are renowned for their hairdressing, beauty and fashion tips, their ‘contribution’ to society, but they’re expected by muscle-bound men (or even just the junkie-ish types) from the slums to ‘give in’ (in Tagalog: bumigay) and start sexual relationships with them (of course, with a lot of money exchanged from bakla to lover). The bakla have become a stereotype, a culture in themselves: the loud-mouthed haranguing sward-speaking beast that children pelt with insults in the streets, a modern-day village fool, and paradoxically this is why they are being held up in Philippine society. Vice Ganda, Ate Gay, and other gay comedians would not have a career without this quality of the bakla in Philippine society.

I think that this and the myth of the “gay as pedophile” stated above is a characteristic of a society that refuses to admit that homosexuality is a natural impulse of the human body. People become pedophiles mainly because they have sexual urges that they cannot express or fear to express. Suppression is defeated, however, when one encounters people with less ability to resist (such as children), and all the pent-up sexual urges are unleashed on these children. The painful thing is that certain individuals end up being scapegoats for this societal dysfunction.

The bakla are seen as the scum of the earth, and every effort is made for our boys to not be like them. The problem with this is that homosexuality encompasses far more than the narrow classifier bakla; it includes all sexual activity between two guys. Filipinos understand this concept only as much as a cockroach understands the S&P 500 stock market. Not even the bakla understand this, and so they continue to try to attract guys whom they know are straight, resulting in these straight guys freaking out and (often) the bakla getting injured or killed.

Non-bakla men are content and even happy with the bakla stereotype because it gives them a reason (pseudoreligious and ultimately self-delusive) to justify themselves. “I’m not bakla; I’m just horny” is the ultimate example of justifying a “straight” guy having sexual relations with another guy.

Filipinos understand bisexuality even less, which is why gay guys still think of bisexual guys as ‘people just looking for an excuse to fuck other guys while remaining outwardly straight’. From what I have seen and experienced, it seems that gay people would want to have bisexuals outed as ‘gay’ rather than ‘bisexual’. But that’s fodder for another story.

I’m going to reserve my predictions and further thoughts on this for another post.

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