May 7, 2013

Would you vote for Ang Ladlad? (2013 edition)


Back in 2010, I asked you guys, “Would you vote for Ang Ladlad?” I then answered my own question: “I’m voting for Ang Ladlad and so should you.” After I voted for Ang Ladlad, I checked out the results from my precinct and was really surprised and glad that 17 other people voted for the LGBT party-list, which meant that Ang Ladlad won 3.42% of the votes in my precinct. If that result were reflected in the national results, then Ang Ladlad would have gotten 2 seats in the House of Representatives. Unfortunately, Ang Ladlad only got a little more than 100,000 votes from the whole country, around 50,000 votes short of the total that is guaranteed to get one seat.

This year, I am voting for Ang Ladlad again. Among the hundreds of party-lists on the ballot, I feel that only Ang Ladlad represents my interests more. While I am not expecting that same-sex marriage would be on the agenda anytime soon (I don’t feel our country is ready for that), the first step is the Anti-Discrimination Bill. Ang Ladlad has made passing this bill the cornerstone of their congressional agenda and I am all for that.

So if you’re still undecided on your party-list choice, please do consider Ang Ladlad. It is infinitely more deserving of a seat than those pretentious pet party-lists of politicians (Mikey Arroyo’s Ang Galing Pinoy anyone?).

May 1, 2013

“I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay.”


I didn’t set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I’m happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, “I’m different.” If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.

When I was younger I dated women. I even got engaged. I thought I had to live a certain way. I thought I needed to marry a woman and raise kids with her. I kept telling myself the sky was red, but I always knew it was blue.

I thought April 2013 could not get any better for gay rights and acceptance when Uruguay, New Zealand, and France all passed legislation allowing same-sex marriage in their countries within 2 weeks of each other, becoming the 12th, 13th, and 14th countries to do so. The last time a country reached that milestone was Denmark back in June 2012.

But as the month was ending, Sports Illustrated broke the story on Jason Collins, a 12-year NBA veteran player, coming out as a gay man, the first athlete from any of the four American major league sports (NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL) to do so while not yet retiring. It was a watershed moment and what’s best is that the reaction was ovewhelmingly positive, from Collins’ teammates and coaches in basketball, to former president Clinton, and current President Obama.

Collins’ first-person essay, which you should really read, is a well-written account of his struggles being a professional NBA player hiding in the closet. His interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos is also a good read, providing more background the the path that led to where Jason Collins is now.

I hope that this brave step taken by Jason Collins will pave the way for other players to come out or at least make the sports field an even more tolerable place for athletes who have differing sexual orientations. (All four major league sports have started to enact programs to combat homophobia in their sports.) And I also hope that Collins, who becomes a free agent later this year when his contract with the Washington Wizards ends, will get another season playing the sport that he loves as a proud and out gay man.