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article imageOp-Ed: The Gayness of Midas Marquez and the Men of Ethiopia

By Ron de Vera     Nov 23, 2011 in World
Manila - The sexuality of Filipino Supreme Court Spokesperson Midas Marquez has become the topic of debates when a video of him addressing the press went viral yesterday.
In the video, Marquez is seen reacting to a microphone falling off the podium. In less than 24 hours, the video has been shared more than 11,000 times on Facebook and has had more than 12,000 views and more than 100 comments on YouTube.
The end of the video clip shows a microphone falling to the ground and Marquez reacting with a gesture often associated with homosexual men.
Here is an overview of how YouTube users have reacted to the video as of writing:
1. Yes, he is definitely gay - 28% (38/136)
2. I don't care, this is funny - 27% (37/136)
3. Flagged as spam/removed - 18% (24/136)
4. No, this does not make him gay - 7% (9/136)
5. It doesn't matter, he's doing his job well - 5% (7/136)
6. Please think about the welfare of his children - 4% (6/136)
7. Yes, he is gay, and that is a pity because he is handsome - 4% (5/136)
8. Yes, he is gay, but it's okay, he's doing his job well - 4% (5/136)
9. I don't care, he's hot - 3% (4/136)
10. So what if he's gay? - 1% (1/136)
(Data based on a total of 136 comments. Unrelated comments were not included)
What is worth mentioning is that some of the homophobic comments (both on YouTube and Facebook) were actually made by some people who self-identify as LGBT activists. Granted that LGBT activism in the Philippines has come a long way, such homophobic remarks are indicative of the level of maturity of this movement.
PEP proves that photo of Piolo Pascual holding hands with Sam  Milby is fake
PEP proves that photo of Piolo Pascual holding hands with Sam Milby is fake
Philippine Entertainment Portal
Marquez is not the first personality subjected to this debate. Not so recently, actors Piolo Pascual and Sam Milby were rumored to be a gay couple. Photos of them holding hands circulated on the Internet. Interestingly, arguments mostly revolved around whether the photos were authentic or manipulated and not whether holding hands with another man was evidence of homosexuality. The general theme of the discussions were that if the photos were authentic, then it was validation that Pascual and Milby were indeed in a homosexual relationship. Yet again, some LGBT activists participated in these fundamentally flawed discussions. It was proven later on that the photos were digitally enhanced.
Despite the lack of scientific evidence, we (laypeople and activists alike) seem to stubbornly hold on to this convenient belief that we can determine a person's sexual orientation (whether the person is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or straight) just by observing the person's gender expression (whether the person acts feminine or masculine based on socially accepted norms). It is not uncommon for people to claim that they have a functional "gaydar," albeit they are not always able to explain their criteria.
It is acceptable for two men to hold hands in Ethiopia as it is part of their culture.
It is acceptable for two men to hold hands in Ethiopia as it is part of their culture.
Dandelion Express Blog
Fortunately, this behavior is not innate. Humans are not born with the prejudice that men holding hands with other men are gay. For example, in Ethiopian culture, it is socially acceptable for men to hold hands with other men in public. This is not because Ethiopian culture is accepting of homosexuality, in fact, homosexuality is illegal in that country. Holding hands is acceptable because Ethiopians were not taught by their culture that this type of male-to-male gender expression is evidence of gay sexual orientation. Showing them photos of Pascual and Milby holding hands would mean absolutely nothing except that the two men are obviously friends.
At the end of the day, the question should not even be about sexual orientation or gender expression. We should strive for a society that has reached a level of acceptance that sexuality does not even figure in the discussions. Call me strange but I think there are lessons to be learned from the perceived gayness of Midas Marquez and the men of Ethiopia.
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
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