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article imageOp-Ed: An Open Letter to Anthony Taberna

By Ron de Vera     Sep 22, 2011 in World
Dear Mr. Taberna,
Last Thursday, on your show "Umagang Kay Ganda," you made the following comments on the death of two minors involved in a shooting in Pampanga City:
"May mga nagsasabi din sa atin...kung bakit ang bata ay humahantong sa ganito kaagang gulang ay nabibilad na po sa pakikipagkaibigan o umiibig sa kapwa lalaki lalo't ito'y bading pala, o nabubuo na yung ganong pagkatao niya. Eh meron pong nagsabi na mga taga telebisyon din ang may kasalanan niyan eh. Ang media daw ang may kasalanan dahil pagbukas mo pa lang ng telebisyon eh puro kami na nakikita niyo. Ibig sabihin, puro -pasensya na po sa termino- puro kabaklaan na raw po nakikita. Pag bukas mo ng telebisyon, pagbukas mo ng online - ng social networking, pinapahintulutan at tinatanggap na ng publiko...so siguro puede rin na...wake up call din po ito. Hindi po para siilin ang karapatan ng mga nasa third sex na magagaling naman talaga pagdating sa mga performance at iba pa. Pero mukhang na-e-engangyo po ang marami na maaga pa ay i-flaunt na yung kanila pong kabaklaan."
("I have been told that the reason that (male) children this young are already exposed to making friends with or being in love with other (male) children is...it is also the fault of TV. They say it is also the fault of media because the moment you turn on the TV, -sorry for the term- all you see are gay things. When you turn on the TV, when you log on to online - social networking, it (homosexuality) is allowed and accepted by the public. So perhaps this is a wake up call. I don't mean to take away the rights of the third sex, who are also good when it comes to performances and other things. But it seems a lot are encouraged to flaunt their gayness at a very early age.")
http://www.pinoypride.net/video/136293/Umagang-Kay-Ganda-Sep-22-P3
I would like to dissect your commentary and tell you first hand, as a self-identifying gay man, why your commentary reflects a perspective that needs much re-education on "gay things." Let me begin by saying that the shooting incident had very little to do with the gender of the two victims. Meaning to say, it could have happened to any other straight couple. That is why I am still wondering where your comment is coming from seeing that the focus of the segment was the lack of security of the mall and the lack of guidance from the side of the victims' parents. In fact, the gender of the victims only became the topic when you deliberately inserted this angle.
"May mga nagsasabi din sa atin...kung bakit ang bata ay humahantong sa ganito kaagang gulang ay nabibilad na po sa pakikipagkaibigan o umiibig sa kapwa lalaki lalo't ito'y bading pala, o nabubuo na yung ganong pagkatao niya. Eh meron pong nagsabi na mga taga telebisyon din ang may kasalanan niyan eh. Ang media daw ang may kasalanan dahil pagbukas mo pa lang ng telebisyon eh puro kami na nakikita niyo. Ibig sabihin, puro -pasensya na po sa termino- puro kabaklaan na raw po nakikita.
("I have been told that the reason that (male) children this young are already exposed to making friends with or being in love with other (male) children is...it is also the fault of TV. They say it is also the fault of media because the moment you turn on the TV, -sorry for the term- all you see are gay things.")
First of all, I wonder why you find issue in how early children discover their sexual orientation and gender identity. Are you implying that there is a prescribed age for us (you and I included) to express ourselves? If so, how early is too early and when is the right time? Second of all, if TV shows gay things, why is that a bad thing? It is only bad if the portrayal is based on negative stereotypes. But if mass media are able to show the diversity of gender in all its forms, that is definitely a good thing. And third, even if the media stopped showing heterosexual things, it cannot make all viewers gay. Being gay does not come from a rectangular contraption. It is more complicated than that.
"Pag bukas mo ng telebisyon, pagbukas mo ng online - ng social networking, pinapahintulutan at tinatanggap na ng publiko"
("When you turn on the TV, when you log on to online - social networking, it (homosexuality) is allowed and accepted by the public").
So are you implying that the public should not allow and accept homosexuality? I was actually glad that most major media outfits did not focus on the gender of the two victims. The question of their sexuality was only secondary to the real questions at hand - how they got through the security guards and how they got hold of a gun. I actually thought we'd made a lot of headway with the media as far as LGBT activism was concerned, until you made your thoughts public.
"Hindi po para siilin ang karapatan ng mga nasa third sex na magagaling naman talaga pagdating sa mga performance at iba pa."
("I don't mean to take away the rights of the third sex, who are also good when it comes to performances and other things.")
Thank you for the compliment, if it is such. But actually, by calling us "third sex" and perpetuating the stereotype that gays are good when it comes to "performances and other things," you have already discriminated against us and have already taken away our rights. Take my word for it Mr. Taberna, do not use the terminology "third sex." Also, I would advise you to open your mind and realize that we are not limited to "performances and other things." My partner, for example, is a university instructor who is currently a PhD Math candidate. Yes, we are capable of a wide variety of things aside from "performances."
"mukhang na-e-engangyo po ang marami na maaga pa ay i-flaunt na yung kanila pong kabaklaan."
("it seems a lot are encouraged to flaunt their gayness at a very early age.")
I see nothing wrong with flaunting "gayness" the same way that I don't see anything wrong with flaunting "straightness." You said so yourself that you do not mean to take away the rights of the "third sex." If you mean what you say, then you should not take away children's right to express their identity, i.e., to flaunt whatever they want to flaunt.
I hope I make it clear that I am not attacking you personally. I am merely engaging you in meaningful discussion to help you understand what we are fighting for and the important role you and the media play in LGBT activism.
Happy and gay,
Ron de Vera
(signed)
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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