Dec 7, 2008

Pride and the closet

So yesterday was the Manila Pride March 2008 in Malate, Manila. I’ve gone to a June White Party once years ago, but never been to the December March. And I don’t think I’ll ever go to one in the near future. I guess being discreet and partly closeted means that one would naturally shy away from attending such “out, loud, and proud” affairs. But it’s not for lack of appreciation; I fully support equality and gay rights, like when I lamented the passage of Proposition 8 in California and condemned the raids on gay establishments. However, looking at the whole thing, the right question to ask regarding the Pride March is, “Are you proud to be PLU?”

My answer is no: I’m not proud to be PLU. But, I’m neither ashamed to be one. While I’m a proud Filipino and a proud alumni of my University, I don’t feel the need to have pride in my sexual orientation. I’ve gone through the phase where I could not accept that I was attracted to guys and I’ve eventually learned to accept myself for who I am, but I don’t think that it’s important to flaunt it.

I will admit that the reason why I am still mostly in the closet and why I try to be discreet is I don’t like to be discriminated against. I also don’t like people gossiping about me behind my back and to have their impressions of me clouded by their perceived stereotypes. I know it would be better in the long run if I come out and then educate the people around me about People Like Us and shatter their stereotypes, but my life is complicated as it is right now and I don’t want the added drama.

That said, is it possible to be proud while still being in the closet? I cannot answer that question personally, but one thing’s for sure: learning to accept and love oneself is the first step, and I certainly got that.

Photo from the Kurt Löwenstein Educational Center at Flickr.

8 comments:

Mugen wrote on December 8, 2008 at 3:52 PM:

If ever I'd go to a pride march, it is not to join the ranks but to blog the event as an fence-sitter. The issue of being out or not is already beyond my PLU policies. If I tell someone I'm not straight, I'd never make a big deal out of it.

We masculines have a simple rule when it comes to engaging with straights: blend in without a trace, or at least act like them without putting so much effort. Blending is easy for I've been with straight men long before I started hanging out with PLUs. The PLUs I hang out nowadays are mostly the discreet types as well so things aren't as difficult as it is supposed to be.

The Pride is there to remind us that there are others who are still fighting for their rights being gays. I admire their resolve to stand for us and it sometimes shames me for not doing what is expected of me. But their way is not my way. I'm not really comfortable being fab and loud and lately, I reserve my ability to speak in Lingo to a few people only.

Am I Proud? Yes. The reason is because more and more people comes out of the closet and begins to accept who they are and what they have become because of us who already laid the path for them.

 
Anonymous wrote on December 9, 2008 at 9:20 PM:

Why care so much about what people will say about you? You know you will never be able to apease everyone.

Why be so concerned about discrimination? This is an ironic concern coz as it is, you're discriminating yourself

Why use excuses like "my life is complicated"? Life is and will always be complicated out or not. All that matters is how we deal with life's complexities.

You can't be in the closet and be proud. You can be discreet but out. Coming out does not mean being loud. At least admit that you like cock.

Love yourself.

Don't deprive yourself with the freedom of being who you are.

 
Vince wrote on December 10, 2008 at 7:29 AM:

Mugen, I also admire activities like the Pride March. Even if I chose not to be there physically, my absence does not mean that I disapprove of it.

I certainly appreciate the path laid for all of us by people who have chosen to take the plunge to fight.

 
Vince wrote on December 10, 2008 at 7:43 AM:

Anon, as I said in the blog post, I'm not proud but neither am I ashamed of myself.

I also don't buy the argument that because I'm not completely out then I'm already depriving/hating myself.

Not everyone choses to be out: it's not a requirement for being a LGBT. If I need to disclose my sexual preference to certain people, I will when the time comes but not before. I didn't choose to be gay, but choosing to be out or remain closeted is a choice that should be respected.

I'm a natural introvert so staying mostly in the closet and being discreet is quite natural for me. There is no one way to be a PLU.

 
big wrote on December 10, 2008 at 8:28 PM:

"a gay guy's look at the discreet manila scene"

you latest blog lives true to your blog tag line!

take care always

 
Vince wrote on December 14, 2008 at 12:51 AM:

big, thanks! :-)

 
JOsh wrote on February 28, 2009 at 8:43 PM:

Finally, a blog that explains exactly how I feel. I am happy as a discreet gay guy. If people talk behind my back, with questions like "Why is he still single? Is he gay? Etc", this doesn't bother me. Buti nga people talk about me, that means I am an interesting person. Hehe

I just hate it when openly gay people think they are so much better than discreet guys. Some feel that they are doing you a favor by deliberately outing you without your consent. These gay guys are the first to bash straight acting gays and labeling them as fake. Openly gay guys should respect that their openly gay life is not applicable to all gay people.

Escuse me if I am being discriminatory, but in my work and situation in life, I cannot imagine my self shouting out my sexual orientation in a march. Being dressed flamboyantly as an aging mermaid and shouting "respect us!" is not my idea of gaining pride for myself. I want people to respect me as to what I have accomplished in life or how I treat other people, whether I'm straight man, a woman, a bisexual or a happy and proud homosexual.

 
Vince wrote on March 5, 2009 at 12:14 AM:

Josh, hear, hear! :-)