Suspension of Disbelief

Archive for July 2011

On the hatred that is Zombadings…

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Outrage Magazine‘s statement on Zombadings 1: Patayin Sa Shokot si Remington premiere in CINEMALAYA 2011.

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Zombadings as a study of why, and how to promote gay killings

When gay men (or gay “friendly” people) discriminate – and promote their discrimination – of gay men

An open letter to the people behind Zombadings 1: Patayin Sa Shokot si Remington

By Michael David C. Tan
Outrage Magazine

When Auraeus Solito gave life to Michiko Yamamoto’s Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros, it was well lauded for its affectionate portrayal of a young gay guy named Maxi (played by Nathan Lopez), who may have been ridiculed by society at large, but is accepted by his father and two brothers.  With shots said to bring back to the mind Carol Reed’s 1949 noir film The Third Man, and even the grit of Lino Brocka’s obras, Maximo was able to come up with a character who – while it can be argued, was still playing at stereotyped ways of seeing gay men – was, in the end, empowered.

Raymond Lee was credited for helping bring Maximo to life.

Seven years later, when you’d think the world would be a somewhat better place particularly for gay men (and LGBTs, as a whole), then a film like Zombadings 1: Patayin Sa Shokot si Remington comes along.

This time directed by Jade Castro, the screenplay was done by Raymond Lee (Anak, Tanging Yaman, Milan), Jade Castro, and, again, Michiko Yamamoto.  This was again produced by Raymond Lee.

The premise of the film is simple enough: a young heterosexual boy, Remington (Martin Escudero), who likes ridiculing gay men was cursed to become gay when he grows older. Fifteen years on, that comes true – just in time when gay killings were happening, so that the rush to find a “cure” becomes necessary (also because Remington fell in love with the daughter of a deceased man he used to also ridicule for being gay).  For supposed spice, add the stories of: the gay man who cursed Remington; Remington’s best friend, who became his other crush when he started liking men; the closeted homophobic godfather; and, as the title of the movie suggests, gay zombies back not to avenge their deaths, but simply be pestilent.

In a line, the film provides mainly heterosexual people a chance to make fun of – or even ridicule – gay men.

Here is a point-to-point discussion of what makes this film abhorrent.

* Being gay is not a sumpa.  The entire movie was actually based on the premise of Remington being cursed to become gay for ridiculing gay people, so that it highlighted what is believed to be the worst thing that can happen to any person: to turn gay. In doing this, the film – even if arguably not intentionally – promoted that homosexuality can be “cured”.  The American Psychiatric Association states that any efforts at “curing” homosexuality is premised on the assumption that “homosexuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori assumption that a patient should change his/her sexual homosexual orientation”.  The American Psychiatric Association, with the American Psychological Association, of course, does not consider homosexuality as a mental disease – what this film debunked in over an hour through its contention that, if one really wants, one can find ways to be un-gayed. Remington, with his would-be girlfriend and desired best friend, even went to a witch doctor to seek help – a scene that everyone involved in the film would not have found funny if they knew (or even just read from the Web) of gay men in Africa, among other countries, where literal dragging of LGBTs happen to bring them to witch doctors who are expected to drive away the “evil spirit of homosexuality” believed to possess them. That this film believes homosexuality is curable is ignorant.  And, as the cliché goes, ignorance is never an excuse.

* This film focuses on the supposed predatory nature of gays – e.g. Remington unable to work with men when they started taking their shirts off because all he wanted was to idolize their male bodies; and Roderick Paulate’s character groping young Remington.  By highlighting this, the filmmakers chose to ignore the fact that nearly two-thirds of convicted sex offenders (and of children at that) are heterosexual-identifying (go check the US Department of Justice’s records).  Note how even the sex maniac character of Bayani Agbayani was saved, so that while bad acts from heterosexual men are just accepted, gay men’s acts (even if proven to be non-existent) are well noted.By highlighting this, the filmmakers chose to ignore the fact that nearly two-thirds of convicted sex offenders (and of children at that) are heterosexual-identifying (go check the US Department of Justice’s records).Gregory M. Herek, Ph.D. earlier noted that “members of disliked minority groups are often stereotyped as representing a danger to the majority’s most vulnerable members. For example, Jews in the Middle Ages were accused of murdering Christian babies in ritual sacrifices. Black men in the US were often lynched after being falsely accused of raping White women.”  Similarly, gay men are portrayed as sexually predatory in nature. This is the very portrayal that Zombadings had of gay men – that we cannot be trusted (particularly when around men), since we always have intent to have sex with them.

* Stereotypes promote hatred – e.g. pilantik of fingers, catfights between gay people because they are too weak to fight, transitioning into transsexualism as soon as gender-identification happens. In their attempt to simplify their storytelling, the filmmakers lumped all gay men as all “wanting to be women”, yet again an ignorant assumption that promotes the heterosexist belief in the existence only of dualistic tendencies (i.e. male and female/man and woman).  Your characters did not have to dress like women or put on make-up like women or sashayed while walking like women – acts deemed that only women should be doing – just so they can be identified as gays.  Knowing your errors of assumption is as simple as Googling to know how the likes of boxer Marc Leduc, rugby player Ian Roberts, footballer Olivier Rouyer, and wrestler Orlando Jordan highlight how diversified gay men can be, and actually are.  In the Philippines, just read Michael L. Tan and J. Neil Garcia to best understand gender notions. It is actually the existence of the stereotypes that is why gays are being targeted in hate crimes, e.g. we straddle the dualistic gender divide, so we don’t deserve to exist; and since we’re too weak to fight back, anyway, it becomes easy to prey on us.  Heck, even Imee Marcos wanted for gays to be trained in combat to protect themselves!  We are stereotyped by the heterosexual community, as it is, we don’t need gay people (or supposed gay “friendly” people) to further the heterosexist narratives.

* Homophobia may be because of homosexuality itself, this is true – a theme not only scientifically considered (for example, American Psychological Association), but repeatedly used as storylines by such popular shows Glee and MTV’s The Hard Times of RJ Berger, among others. What is reprehensible in Zombadings’ case is the filmmakers’ belief that there is no salvation for those who are self-hating, and they deserve nothing less than death. In a way, the filmmakers showed their own internal homophobia – kill the pa-mhin who kill the pa-ghirl.  There is a neglect in understanding why the phobia exists to start with, sans the closer scrutiny of heterosocial expectations.  Without this, the film simply kept homosexuality and the continuing hate of it as only “our” issue that the heterosexuals do not have anything to do with, even if, largely, our existence is premised on their dictates.

* LGBT advocates do not exist because we want to be tolerated – we actually already are.  We exist to push for acceptance.  This is a lesson Zombadings missed – e.g. Remington’s father saying that gays are also okay at times; and a drunkard saying gays are okay because, the uncle who sent him to school being one, they can be useful too. When gay people and gay “friendly” people involved in sending out “lessons” that films like Zombadings actually believe we only deserve to be tolerated, there is a need to re-learn lessons of self-acceptance.  LGBTs deserve no less than the treatment heterosexuals get – LGBTs, themselves, should realize this; and when the same is not given, should demand for it. Acceptance, not tolerance, is the goal.

People may like Zombadings, claiming the movie is funny. But laughing at other people’s misfortunes is in no way funny.  In case you haven’t read in the news, or maybe even heard through second-, third- or fourth sources of information, gay men actually get killed simply because they are gay (or in some cases, even heterosexual men because they “look” gay).  You are not laughing with us but at us when you mock, or even ridicule us – even sadder when those who do so are actually also gays, or consider themselves as gay “friendly”.

This film – through its title – preempts the possibility of a sequel, meaning we have to brace ourselves for more hatred to be spewed by gays and/or the gay ‘friendly” to gay people.

When both Herbert Bautista’s Jill and Sharon Cuneta’s Jack turned straight after “realizing” hetero-identifying is what they “really are”, it was actually not forgivable, as it stressed how we can just change who we are. But Jack & Jill was a product of its time, when ridicule of LGBTs was what was more accepted due to lack of education and awareness of LGBT rights even by LGBTs themselves.  These are supposed to be better times, arguably supposedly represented by the likes of Maximo seven years ago.

Zombadings proved Maximo to be a fluke, and it just showed the times are still as bad, or even worse.

If this is the kind of film you will be producing after Maximo, please stop making films already.  You shame your lessons of acceptance by promoting ridicule, and even hatred this time around.

Pinoy pop culture plays a part in the difficulties that gay men (and the entire LGBT community) continue to face. “Multong bakla” and “‘Di ako bakla” became, for Filipinos, ways to put down gay men through disassociation with them – both phrases actually derived from pop songs that did exactly this: put down gay men.

With Zombadings’ expected wide release this August, “zombadings” may actually start being used to – yet again – derogatorily refer to gay men.

And for this, Zombadings’ filmmakers should be ashamed.

 

(Outrage Magazine remains the only publication for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the Philippines.)

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Stopping the misinformation, stopping the hate…

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Repost from Michael David of Outrage Magazine:

 

Noted was the existence of a blogsite putting the names and photographs of men who the blogger claims are HIV+. This is illegal under RA 8504, but to make the site legitimate-looking, a logo of PNAC was actually added, making it look like the information was provided by them. Question is, who should be informed of this (aside from the blog’s host, who was already informed) for proper actions to be taken, and for similar occurrences to be monitored and prevented from happening again? Please provide specifics (names, emails, numbers, et cetera) since something has to be done about this immediately.

 

Written by Patrick King Pascual

July 22, 2011 at 10:01 am

ANC Tamano Perspective [Promo]

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Written by Patrick King Pascual

July 16, 2011 at 4:04 am

LGBT hate crimes on the rise

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Published in Yahoo Philippines and VERA Files | 04 July 2011

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Television director Ricky Rivero thought he was having a nightmare. He woke up  morning of June 13 and Ivan Ruiz was on top of him, stabbing him continuously.

They struggled with each other, and when Rivero got the chance to grab Ruiz’s wrist, he pinned him down the bed. The rage coming from Ruiz slowly subsided.

Rivero got the chance to overpower Ruiz and drove himself to the hospital. He survived despite the 17 stab wounds he sustained.

In an interview with TV host Boy Abunda two weeks after the incident, Rivero recalled that Ruiz, an acquaintance with whom he had casual sex relations, was full of rage and his eyes were full of anger when he was stabbing him.

Asked if he considers it a “hate crime”, Rivero said he can’t be sure but considering what transpired, it seems it’s “leaning towards… yes, it’s a hate crime.”

Hate crimes generally refer to criminal acts that are seen to have been motivated by bias against persons belonging to a certain social group, usually defined by race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, class, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender, gender identity, social status or political affiliation.

Rivero is not the only one among those labelled as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) who experienced this kind of brutal crime;others were not as lucky.

Days before Rivero’s stabbing incident, the Metropolitan Community Church sponsored LGBT Flores de Mayo parade in Quezon City just ended, it was attended by members of different LGBT organizations including VJ Montefalco. It was the last time Montefalco was seen.

Last June 29, the Quezon City police found his body along EDSA, Kamuning MRT station with two stab wounds on his heart.

A study made by Marlon Lacsamana and Reighben Labilles of Philippine LGBT Hate Crime Watch showed the alarming rise of LGBT deaths from suspected hate crimes, which totalled 160 from 1996 to June 30, 2011. A total of 30 cases were recorded in the first six months of 2011 alone. Last year, there were 29 reported cases. The study was based on online data, e-mails sent to Lacsamana and Labilles by friends of the slain victims, and news reports.

Lacsamana, a Library Science graduate, began his study on LGBT-related killings after two of his close friends (Winton Lou Ynion and Vincent Jan Rubio) were brutally killed. For this study, he teamed up with Labilles, a graduate of Political Science.

Lacsamana and Labilles then started a group in Facebook called Philippine LGBT Hate Crime Watch, now with more than 350 members. The online group aims to monitor all LGBT-related crimes and post the information in the group’s wall. (Those who have any information on LGBT hate crimes may send the details to: philippinelgbthatecrimewatch@gmail.com.)

In an event sponsored by the UP Pride team last July 1, Labilles cited the following examples of hate crimes:

• A gay was suffocated using a plastic bag, strangled with an iron wire and was poked in the eye by an ice pick.

• A gay’s body was left in a cemetery, and the dogs fed on it.

• A transgender’s body was left on a bridge. Her head was smashed and her brains splattered everywhere.

• A lesbian in Davao was shot on the face as she walked out of a grocery store.

• A gay was wrapped in a packaging tape then shot several times.

• A gay was found in his condominium, burned while his hands and feet were tied in nylon cords.

• The most number of stab wounds found on a slain victim’s body was 79. “We’re not making up these stories; these were what really happened to some of the victims.”, Labilles said.

Labilles laments the absence of an anti-Hate Crime law in the cPhilippines.”Prejudice, bias, or hate towards any minority group such as LGBT Filipinos is not at all considered when investigating crimes,” he observed.

Rep. Teddy Casino of Bayan Muna, author of House Bill 1483, or the Anti-Discrimination Bill on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Providing Penalties, announced last June 26 that he would pioneer a House probe on the growing numbers of hate crimes in the country.

 

(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”)

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29 Steps for LGBT Human Rights

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Outrage Magazine Issue 20

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Written by Patrick King Pascual

July 4, 2011 at 5:33 am

At the Lion’s Road

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Published in Outrage Magazine Issue 20 | 03 November 2011

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They call it “The Mansion.”

It’s where you can meet different people;
A guy who could make you laugh but has the smallest dick in the room.
A straight acting gay who performs Sarah Brightman’s ‘La Luna’ flawlessly.
Someone who thinks he’s the best Lady Gaga impersonator.
A guy who likes you a lot but after blowing you, he’ll disappear.
Someone who will invite you in the dark room and later leave you for a bigger dick.
Someone who will ask you to bend over.
A mouth that can make you come more than once or twice.
And at times, someone who can be your friend.

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Nakarating ka na ba sa isang lugar kung saan ang mga pinapantasya mo ay maaring magkatotoo?

(Have you ever been in a place where most of your fantasies can become reality?)

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It was December of 2007, my first visit to “The Mansion”. I was with Anton, a very good friend, my partner in crime when exploring different places and/or “trips”.

I read about the place somewhere online. They reviewed it as an oldie but goodie with lots of surprises. I got curious. I downloaded the location map and messaged Anton.

We started our hunt one Tuesday evening. It was very difficult to find the place especially if you’re not familiar with the area. It took us 200 pesos, two hours, half pack of Marlboro Lights, until we finally found where Lion’s Road is.

Standing in front of us was a big red gate, housed by old bricks and wood. The aura was eerie and everything in front of us took us back to Japanese time.

Anton rang the bell. We waited.

As I lit my 12th Marlboro Lights, the big red gate opened. A middle-aged gay guy greeted us and led us in.

We were asked to sit on bench outside the main door. Anton borrowed my lighter and lit his 13th Marlboro. The guy left and went inside to call the manager.

Anton and I were whispering to each other while laughing, and quietly discussed if we’ll still go inside because we both felt scared.

“Good Morning Sir, what can I do for you?” We heard a voice coming from the door asking.

“We heard about this place and we want to be a member,” Anton answered.

He asked several questions; where did we found out about the place, do we know anyone who is already a member, and stuff. It’s not like one of those walk-in kinds of places.

After several minutes, we’re finally allowed to go inside and we became a member.

The ground floor was dark, only two lamp shades; one on the receiving area and the other on the stage area were lit. It would take time before your eyesight adjusts.

When you get inside, the stage are will greet you; they use it during big nights or whenever there’s an event, and during weeknights clients usually stay in the videoke area, it’s beside the stairs that leads to the second level and to the mini pool.

The structure of the videoke room and the stairs reminds me of the porn movie “A Body to Die For”, old and rustic. It’s like fulfilling your fantasy of having sex in an old house.

The second floor keeps the lockers and the first activity area.

From the thin cloth division of the activity room and the locker area, you can hear countless moans coming from the inside. Like a curious kid in Toy Kingdom, we went inside and explored it thoroughly.

I felt a hand touched my behind; I felt another grabbed my front. We continued walking and didn’t mind their touching.

I puffed my Marlboro Lights to give the place little illumination.

I saw three guys playing with each other on one bed, the one on top of the other, while the other is kneeling in front of the two.

I liked what I saw.

I moved to the other direction and puffed my Marlboro again. I saw two guys in a 69-position on the other bed, while the others sat around, watching, trying to join the action.    

After a quick ocular, we went out of the activity area, went down the stairs, and walked towards the pool area. We went straight to the pool bar and ordered beer and lit another Marlboro.

The bartender engaged us in a small conversation. He asked us if it was our first time in the place. Anton and I nodded.

He told us that on different days they offer different promos and themes, like; every Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays is their towel night, Tuesdays is their topless night, Thursdays is their brief night (your underwear and a hand towel), Saturdays is their event night, also a towel night, and Sundays is skin night (nothing on, just a hand towel).

After a few minutes, we left the pool bar and continued exploring the place. We walked on the side of the main house to get to the back house.

As we slowly reached the dark entrance of the back house, the silhouette of the people who were standing inside caught our attention. The number of people is double compared to the ones in the first activity area. They were standing side by side with each other, waiting for someone who will engage something with them, touching each other’s bulge, kissing each other while touching someone from their behind.

It felt like we were in Sodom and Gomorrah. It would be unethical to define it as Halfway to Heaven, but it felt like it. Like all the lust in the chatroom, dark rooms of Red Banana and Bath (when they were still open), the double-movie cinema experience in Quiapo and Libertad (the years when they were still operating) were all here, jammed in this dark, spine-chilling, fantasy like place. Anton and I called it, “the dungeon”.   

No matter how hard we puffed our Marlboro’s, the darkness of the place fought the ample light of our cigarettes.

We entered the dungeon, with our hands touching the walls and our feet sliding to the unfamiliar floor – for direction inside the spacious dark place.

Anton held my hand. We walked towards the middle. We heard moans. Felt several touches from our front and our behind.

We bumped to a group of people who were engaging in an orgy-like. I pulled Anton to have a closer look to what they were doing. I puffed my Marlboro and saw the outline silhouette of five guys standing in circle and one guy was kneeling in the middle blowing their dicks one after the other.

I felt someone touched my bulge and squeezed it like he was pulling me towards him. I got distracted. I spread my arms trying to touch and find him but I couldn’t, it was too dark, all I could grasp that was in my reach was Anton.

We went outside and went to the second floor of the dungeon, the video room. Anton led the way as I lit my last Marlboro.

The television was playing a familiar porn movie.

There were 3 people in the room. When we reached the end of the stairs and walked behind the bench in front the television, their attention focused to us, they’re like waiting for a go signal from us.

There’s also an activity room in the second floor, the third and last. It’s on the other side, separated by the brick wall and the wooden wall with glory holes. I think it was strategically placed in the video area, so while watching Jeff Palmer perform his bareback scenes, you can put your dick in one of the holes and wait for someone to suck it, or vice-versa.

Anton and I decided to cruise separately, to cruise on our own, and meet each other after two hours in the pool bar.

He stayed in the video room. I went back to the dungeon.

I heard the familiar moans again; I once again felt the heat coming from the bodies having a release with each other.

I wanted to light a cigarette but I remembered I finished everything I brought. And just on my way out of the dungeon to go to the bar and buy another pack of Marlboros, I felt someone grabbed my arm; it was the familiar arm grab I felt earlier.

I don’t know if I was hallucinating, because of the lack of Marlboro smoke in my body or he was the same guy who tried to pull me earlier. My other arm grabbed his hand, and I pulled him closer to me. I wanted to kiss him. There’s something in him that draws me closer to his lips even though I haven’t seen his face yet.

He pulled me outside the dungeon for a better view of each other.

He was tall. He has a nice set of arms. His body was like of a swimmer, with a not-so flat tummy. He was wearing a baseball cap. He smiled and whispered to my ear, “Let’s go to the locker area activity room.” I nodded and followed him.

When we got inside the activity room, there were only few people; the bed near the entrance was empty. He crawled on the bed and I followed him. I turned his cap around and started kissing him.

I unbuckled his belt, and unbuttoned his cargo shorts. I pulled down his brief, and started playing with his already hard and throbbing cock.

He unbuttoned my jeans and pulled it with my underwear down to my knees. We played with each other while kissing. I turned around. We were in 69-position.

Someone tried to join us, tried to reach for my dick but he grabbed the hand and pushed it away. He continued to give me head, I deep-throated him…

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This is one of the countless stories I had in The Mansion.

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It was December of 2003 when The Mansion opened and catered to every gay’s fantasy and entertainment. A towel bar that changed the meaning of “bathhouse” to an unconventional way – a fantasy-driven place.

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The Mansion and the experiences I had inside were all euphoric. It’s addicting, there came a time that every night, after work, I’ll meet Anton somewhere in EDSA and go there.

There’s fantasy-fulfilment when you’re inside The Mansion, like an ego satisfaction. When you’re having sex with someone, and people gather around you and jerk off while watching you get off, the feeling is amazing, it’s cathartic…

 

(Outrage Magazine remains the only publication for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the Philippines.)

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