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Lex Bonife Lectures at La Salle

imagesThis writer has been invited by De La Salle University’s Mr. Ronald Gue of the Literature department to speak to their students regarding my written works for the gay community. It will be my first time to speak in front of students outside of my school UP Diliman, and I am honestly quite nervous.

It is an honor for me to be invited, hence, I have agreed to do my talk on February 19 in front of students from about four different Literature classes. What I have chosen to discuss is How Narratives Empower A Minority Group.

Having done this blog for almost a year and having written a few gay stories for film, I have received bulks of emails on how these “narratives” have made a difference in the lives of many gay men out there.

And it just illustrates that suffering among individuals coming from a minority group (in this case, the gay men) is relieved whenever their stories are re-told onscreen. The film narrative serves as an affirmation, that these gay men are not alone in their struggles with their personality and sexuality and that their most kept and “shameful” secrets are in fact shared by many other gay men.

Having witnessed this phenomenon first hand, I am just thankful that I am able to touch the lives of other gay men through the stories I wanted to share.

To you Mr. Gue, thank you for this invitation. I hope I could give justice as I represent the issues of “gay men” in front of presumably a majority of “straight” students at DLSU.

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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.