LGBT group in the Philippine and comparison with China
After dinner, Rebecca hastily cleans up the table and rush out of the home. Curiously, Katrina, and I followed her and then found her went to the next door. All of Rebecca family members sat in front of the television. “We are watching Philippine Idol.” Rebecca smiled bashfully.
It was the final of a singing competition called Philippine Idol. Surprisingly, according to Rebecca’s introduction, one of the finalists Lucas Garcia is gay.
“All of the audience know he’s gay?” I blurted out the question.
“Yes, he admitted publicly.”
“Is this show popular among Filipinos?”
“Yes!” They answered in chorus.
Then the camera turns to the Judge table. Suddenly, Rebecca points out a judge: “Vice Ganda is a gay, too!”
I sat back to my seat in surprise. In China, it’s almost impossible for a singer who admits his LGBT identity to the public to reach the finals in a competition that attracts such high attention. Of course, there are a few famous people publicly declaring their sexual orientation or gender. For example, two debaters in a popular online show called “QIPA Says,” which literally means “the words of weirdoes” admitted they are gay and still became a hit. Besides, there is a famous, transgender dancer in China also often being invited as a judge for dancing competitions. However, she always emphasizes she accepted the surgery because only a female body can display the morbidezza of dance. Instead of genuinely expecting to be a woman, she seemed to emphasize it’s a sacrifice to arts.
These two examples cannot show the open attitude to LGBT group in China. On the contrary, they reflect universal intolerance. These public figures either needs to call themselves weirdoes or defend that they sacrificed for their dream. Otherwise, they probably will be ostracized as outsiders of Chinese society’s mainstream.
The situation of the LGBT group is much better in Philippine. Although homosexual marriage is still illegal in Philippine, in 2018, Mandaluyong has passed an anti-discrimination law to guard LGBT group’s rights in employment, access to public services, and admission to educational institutions. (Conde, 2018) This ordinance stipulates it’s illegal to express verbal or written insults and establish groups which stir up discrimination to LGBT groups. (Conde, 2018)
Before this trip to Philippine, I was convinced that the level of acceptance to LGBT group in an area is highly related to the level of affluence and popularization of religion in this area. Countries, which legalize homosexual marriage and show high acceptance to the LGBT culture, such as Denmark, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States, usually have high GDP as well. In common sense, people who have religious belief often consider being LGBT is a sin and show discrimination towards such a group. This theory sounds logical because LGBT groups in the rich country tend to be rich so they can invest more money in studying and publicizing why LGBT is a normal phenomenon. Therefore, in the past, I thought we could only wait for the universal acceptance to LGBT group in China increases naturally as the economy grows, and LGBT people become wealthier.
However, Philippine, a country has relatively low GDP and the only Christian nation in Asia, becomes the gay-friendliest country in Asia. This counterexample shows me the possibility that instead of waiting for the acceptance naturally increases as China becomes wealthy, we can speed up the progress through methods learned from Philippine.
While I lived in Philippine for three weeks, I observed that compared to LGBT group in China, Philippine’s LGBT group are more willing to speak and to attend TV shows. Acceptance usually begins with familiarity. Hence, encouraging LGBT group to attend activities that receive much attention of ordinary citizens may be a right way. Besides, the frequent emergence of homosexual stories in Traditional Philippine mythology may also play an important role. (LGBT culture in Philippine, 2019) Although we go back to ancient times to create mythologies for Chinese people, the popularity of online novels offers an opportunity for young people to touch LGBT themed novel and thus get familiar with this group.
Besides these two methods, in my opinion, there must be more ways we can explore in the future by studying the LGBT culture in Philippine.
1. LGBT culture in the Philippines. (2019, August 11). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_culture_in_the_Philippines
2. Philippine City Passes Law Against LGBT Discrimination. (2018, June 05). Retrieved from https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/06/05/philippine-city-passes-law-against-lgbt-discrimination