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Breakup

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It’s official. The “Supreme Court of Relationships” has issued its decision on my one year and three month relationship, I and my former partner, JDG are now separated.

 

I am again, single.

 

Many dreams and hopes have also drained away as we have both decided to split up. For more than a month, my partner has displayed all the symptoms of a relationship about to go into comatose – cancelled dates with all kinds of excuses, cold treatment and incapacity to communicate.

 

And for that whole month, I have gone through the rounds of mourning over my dying relationship – anger (I have always thought of you as a good man), bitterness (I will curse your name until last my breath), rejection (go ahead, break up with me. Several other men just can’t wait to have me in bed!), loss of self esteem (Am I not worth it?) to thankfully, humble acceptance (Okay, I get it, you want to break up with me).

 

I have learned from yoga philosophy that when something is painful and it is beyond our control – don’t hold on, just let go!

 

And that’s exactly what I’m doing right now – learning to let go while reminding myself that I am single, stronger and “fucking desirable”!

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Truth is Over Rated

 

My usual conversation with gay friends is normally punctuated by exaggeration, fantasies, hyperboles, rumours and all variations of that much feared term – lies.

 

Then one of my friends posed a very confronting question, “Bakit puro tayo ka-echosan”(Why are we so fond of silly talk?)

 

And without thinking, I just blurted out, “That’s because truth is over-rated”.

 

I wasn’t sure if the statement made sense. But contemplating on truth, here are some things that I can say about it.

 

There is so much demand for truth. But the truth is bitter. It disregards our feelings. It could even trample on the very things that we value in life.

 

So we, humans regard many ideas as true even if it’s just a variation of the real, cold truth.

 

So is truth really over rated? We think about it. Sometimes, we write about it. We demand it all the time. But in reality, we just honor it whenever it is useful in our lives. Perhaps, it really is.

Of God and Blow Jobs

I bumped into screenwriter Ramon Bayron (Abakada, Ina) and he was ecstatic to share his thoughts on our film “Ang Lihim ni Antonio” (Antonio’s Secret). He liked the existentialism of the material and all. I was surprised that Mr. Bayron liked the film despite him being very religious. And he caught me by surprise by asking a very thought-provoking question.

“Why would God be concerned with men sucking each other’s penises when there are millions of other life-threatening and earth-shaking problems in this world?”

And I paused to think about it. What’s with ejaculation that God (as supposedly represented by the church) should make a big deal about? First, it thought about it in a particular context. If such an act would create destruction of a particular family, causing pain for the wife and her children, I think God should definitely look into it. But if two responsible and educated adult men help each other into ejaculation, what does God have to do about it?

It was such an interesting perspective to probe on. But unfortunately, I can’t force myself to continue with it. I don’t believe in the Judeo-Christian God. And I have known for a fact that historically, we humans are fond of ascribing and imposing our own attributes and values to the god that we create for ourselves. Hence, such an idiosyncracy from a supposedly “god being” isn’t really a surprise.

But if you are a believer, just like my friend, it would really be interesting to think about it. “What’s really with responsible men sucking each other’s cocks that would make God (Judeo-Christian) so angry that he will condemn you to hell for all eternity?”

Exploiting Sex

The films I have written were accused by several people to be sexually exploitative.

Fortunately, I never had any issues regarding sexual exploitation. Or using sex as a selling point of a particular material.

Sex is just like food. It is a physiological need. It’s just like clothing and fashion. It is part of our identity. And aside from these, many great things can be borne out of sex — relationship, love or even another human being.

Hence, I don’t see why it is wrong for anyone to use sex for commercial purposes unless a minor or an ignorant adult has been deceived in the whole process.

On the other hand, I do understand where these critics are coming from. They come from their religious perspective on sex: Sex is only for procreation. And sex should only be practiced between married people. That’s why using sex for commercial purposes is a violation of religious moral codes per se.

But then, the big question is, what right do these people have to impose their religious beliefs and its permutations on me or to my audience?

We own our sexuality and we have the right to purchase and consume anything that makes us enjoy it as long as we do not step on the rights of anyone.

Why I Write Gay Stories

“Thank you for speaking for us. For bringing to memory the fondest and darkest moments in my life…helping me understand myself… (and realize) that it’s ok to be me…” (Jeffrey, 25 years old)

 

This is a part of a letter from a viewer after watching the film that I wrote “Ang Lihim ni Antonio” (Antonio’s Secret). And receiving such letter is a confirmation on why I have long wanted to write stories about gay men.

 

When I was young, way back in the 80’s, the images of gay men in mainstream cinema were comic and slapstick. They were best represented by Roderick Paulate’s characterization of “Petrang Kabayo” and Dolphy’s iconic “Facifica Falayfay”. These film characters were certainly far from who I was and who I want to be as a gay man.

 

It was only before the end of the century that Filipino gay men were more accurately represented in film through “Ang Lalake sa Buhay ni Selya” (by Carlitos Siguion-Reyna) and Pusong Mamon (by Joel Lamangan). And it was just in 2002, that films started to honestly represent the angst of the urban gay men through Crisaldo Pablo’s “Duda” and “Bath house”.

 

Writing the screenplay of “Ang Lalake sa Parola” (The Man in the Lighthouse) and “Ang Lihim ni Antonio” (Antonio’s Secret) represents my sincere effort to connect to other gay men out there, to share their voice and to continuously remind our society about who we really are and why we deserve acceptance and not just tolerance. And if you’ll allow me to qualify further, what I personally demand is acceptance without compromises.

 

“Coming Out”

One quiet evening by the low tide beach of La Union, a beautiful friend of mine, Mayi Fabros, shared an interesting speculation on people who have come out with their sexuality at a young age.

For her, people who are able to admit their queer sexuality publicly at an early age tend to be unafraid to make drastic decisions in their lives way into their adulthood. In her observation “Coming out” is a test of character and determines one’s capacity to make strong decisions in life.

Thinking about it, it could also work another way. Maybe only strong-willed people are able to come out. And “coming out” is probably not for everyone as a particular strength of character is necessary to be able to accomplish it given the harsh realities some people experience after they admit their sexuality.

Either way, “coming out” for me is a complex task that primarily requires two factors: self acceptance and wisdom. And a person’s strength must be founded on these to be able to come out.

Above is a photo of Mayi, which I took when we both went to La Union. Mayi is a civic worker fighting against poverty in the Philippines.