The first time I heard rumors about Charice being a homosexual—a lesbian—was more than a year ago. ABS-CBN organized this press conference for X Factor and she was there along with her co-judges Pilita Corales, Martin Nievera, Gary Valenciano and the show’s beautiful host, KC Conception. Just before the presscon ended, they encouraged us, media people, to ask questions to the guests. They said we could ask ANYTHING, to make it a little bit more spontaneous and fun. Upon announcement of this “challenge”, one girl in jeans and a pique shirt panicked. She began to go around and whisper something to the media people. When she went by my table, she said, “bawal mag ask about sa sexuality ni Charice ha.”
Fast forward now, Charice Pempengco finally came out. You go girl! I know it must have suffocated you a little when you had to hide who you truly are. And you know, if people find it too hard to accept you, that’s their problem.
What I find really annoying is a wave of hypocrisy, bigotry and backward thinking that is still apparent in our culture. What’s even more annoying is mainstream media glorifying it. Here are a few of the things that just makes me blow off my steam:
1. “Nang Nalihis ang Landas ni Charice”
I have read many news and video features with the same theme/ title. Basically, the title assumes that Charice has gone astray and they just think this is a phase for her. The premise of these features is also the fact that homosexuality = not the right way to go. It even polarized her past and her present. They assumed that she was “better off” and “doing so well” when she had that pa-cute girly image than today, when she dresses up in androgynous outfits and donning a boyish hairdo. CBCP even says that she is just disturbed and needs guidance. This makes me chuckle. Dear CBCP, what have you done to forward gender equality again? Isn’t this a facet of “love your neighbor”?
2. Mama Saying “You can will to change your feelings…if you really want to.”
Reports noted that Charice’s mom “used to be a lesbian”. In fact, she said that it wasn’t true that she had butch lesbian suitors, instead, she was the butch in a femme-butch relationship. (Femme refers to “feminine” lesbians or lipstick lesbians, and butch refers to those who act like most men. Sorry, this is the easiest way I could put it.) She said that she became straight because she knew she was hurting her mom and implies that Charice should do the same. That she felt like “itinakwil sila ni Charice”. “That she, as a mother, was entitled to cause her daughter discomfort, embarrassment and hurt as well, and publicly pressures her to CHANGE HER FEELINGS as a form of respect to her. Seriously?! To “change feelings”? God, I wish it was that easy. Then I wouldn’t have to cry during weddings or when my dad died.
3. Charice Apologizing to People Like Her Survival Depended on It
It totally understand why Charice feels like she disheartened people. That is only because society makes her feel like she fell short from their expectations. I just wish that she didn’t do it profusely, because that only exemplifies the fact that being a homosexual (or finally telling the people about your true self, which is not hurting them, by the way) is something deplorable that you’d have to apologize for it.
4. Charice Thanking People Who Accepted Her…Massively
Then there were people who accepted Charice for who she is, cheered her on and provided her support when she came out. There are those who told off every media person who spoke rash about her and those who often say she’s “sayang” just because she finally admits she’s a tomboy. I still find it disturbing that Charice feels she owes these people so much. Let’s just accept homosexuals for who we are, and no, that doesn’t count for utang na loob, okay?
5. People Saying Let’s Just Accept Her Because She’s an International Pride
Again, this assumes that acceptance is only relative to your achievement or maybe even to your physical appearance. I know so many people who say that it’s okay when they see girly lesbians because they’re “cute” and they look “clean”. Or lesbians who are pretty because they are still pleasing to the eye. However, they hate it when they see butch lesbians because they seem to be “pretending” to be male. Some of them also look “dirty” with all their tattoos. First off, tattoos are art and they are forms of expression. No matter who wears them. Going back to the issue, there are people who were initially appalled but eventually shrugged it off because Charice gave our country honor by representing it in the international scene anyway. So what happens to the streetside labandera, tricycle driver or the call center agent who is just as gay but is afraid to come out? Aren’t they entitled to our acceptance?
6. “Okay lang maging lesbian, wag lang magmukhang lalake.”
Double standards strike again. First off, how one dresses is a manifestation of their personality. Also, let me remind you that a person does not automatically lose their masculinity or femininity even if they start wearing clothes or wearing hairdos intended for the other gender. Why should it even be limited to only “male and female”? What if she just dresses for comfort? So what if she likes her hair that way or likes to wear neckties and accessories that are usually worn by men? Why should this be of concern to you? Why are you against it? Does it disturb your sleep at night?
If you’re a homosexual, you just can’t help it, right? If you are straight and you see this guy and you like him but you can’t quite explain how or why, that’s not your fault. We won’t take it against you. Why should it be different for homosexuals? Homosexuality is not just present for human beings. It’s present in other animal species too. It’s not like you can choose to be gay. Society, let’s not waste our literacy and be decent human beings for once. Let Charice be. If we just accept her for who she is, she can have peace of mind and become better. Must choke her every night to think there’s a whole community out there who waits for her to just “leave this phase”. Charice, let me also remind you that there’s also a whole community out there who’s waiting for you to make more awesome music. And no, we don’t care who you love or go to sleep with. 🙂