January 25, 2018 (2:29 PM)

3 min read


Montajes discusses the history of LGBT during the event last January 24. Photo by Jay Nasser.

Living up to one of their core missions of advocating for the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community, Ateneo Libulan Circle (ALC) hosted a talk entitled “Bakla, bakla, paano ka ginawa?”—a historic account of the LGBTQIA+ in the Philippines through a local cultural lens, last January 24 at the 8th floor, Xavier Hall, Media Room of the Community Center.

The talk’s main speaker, Mr. Jesus Montajes, Ateneo Sidlak Performing Arts Collective [ASPAC]’s founding director, deliberately discussed of the homosexuality culture in the Philippines through the lenses of J. Niel C. Garcia and Michael Tan’s works—both of whom were from the University of the Philippines, the birthplace of the very first LGBTQIA+ organization, Babaylan, which dated back to 1992.

Montajes started the talk by discussing the Filipino gay branding, emphasizing the very unfeeling and degrading way they are seen by other cultures, using off based observations to generalize the entirety of the Philippine LGBTQIA+ community. Even going as far as to fit them into a mold they created themselves.

“In the Philippines, it’s quite off when visitors coming from other countries would brag our gay culture as happy, make-up na effort kaayo—pang parlorista […] so murag, that’s the kind of trend that they project with the Filipino gay culture,” Montajes said, noting how often he’ve heard Filipino gays be referred to as damak and dugyot.

Montajes laid out his objectives to the audience before diving right into his lecture. Two of which were to correct misconceptions on how one equates Philippine society’s tolerance for public display of transvestism and to trace the historical account of male homosexuality in the Philippines.

One of his main focuses during the talk was to debunk the automatic relation between cross dressing and homosexuality.

With a very small space for such broad and very appealing topic, Montajes unintentionally created an intimate gathering of the LGBTQIA+ community—causing them to actively engage with the discussion and share their ideas to the room.

“If you look at the Western culture and how they portray the LGBT—this—this is a different variant. You cannot, in the West, simply judge a person by how he dresses, and you can literally tell them that, ‘Hey, this is part of the LGBT,’ no, not necessarily. […] Sexuality in the West is that they view it as something really fluid, so the experience is something very vague and individualist. And your image, how you portray yourself, doesn’t show exactly who you are and what your sexuality is,” someone from the audience shared.

Montajes then concluded his talk by commending this millennium’s active participation in advocating for the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community; Noting how many times the older generation have tried and failed, simultaneously, due to the lack of participation and engagement from the community.

End the silence of the gagged!

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