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Jacob: ‘Coming out is a personal process’

In the spirit of Pride in the Philippines this December, LGBT people were interviewed in the hopes of showing a broader spectrum of the community. Meet 24-year-old Jacob, who believes that “remember that coming out means you add a voice to the small pool of people who with their lives are showing us that being LGBT is definitely something to be proud of, something we shouldn’t be ashamed of.”

Jacob

Jacob

Age: 24

What he does: Writer

Hobbies/ Interests: Books, playing the piano, yoga

Goal in Life: To finally finish my MFA by 2015

I was in high school when I finally accepted I was bisexual, at the very least, because of the guy I first got romantically involved with. He was a basketball player. Hahaha!

I think in a way, I was lucky that I got exposed to the LGBT movement quite early–even with a Christian fundamentalist background, even when I didn’t identify as bisexual, I still had utmost respect for the LGBT whose very presence, their self-expression, their whole lives, were a testament to how hard it was to live a life that was out and proud (this was in the 90s, especially) but because they were courageous and wanted to lessen the stigma, continued on living proudly. I literally came out for love. And continue to keep coming out everyday–love for myself, for my lover, for my family and friends, and all the other people who are LGBT–I get my courage when I think about how one day, we won’t even have to use LGBT, it’ll just be human beings, falling in love with the person they’re in love with… 

Coming out is a personal process–you don’t have to come out because “it’s what we do.” In fact you don’t have to come out at all if you don’t want to! But what you have to remember is that coming out means you add a voice to the small pool of people who with their lives are showing us that being LGBT is definitely something to be proud of, something we shouldn’t be ashamed of.

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People keep saying ‘it’s okay to be gay’ in this country and that support is wonderful, but the fact remains that in the eyes of the law, LGBTs are still second-class citizens, which basically means if you get discriminated or mistreated based on your sexuality, there are no protections against that. We currently rely too much on social policing (where we hope other people will notice and speak up for us as we speak up for ourselves) to keep LGBT rights noticed…but what about the places where there aren’t active communities? Where LGBTs and their allies are in the minimum that their voices get covered?

The new ordinances coming up in certain Philippine cities are very good news–hopefully the rest of the country catches up!

… give LGBTs rights against discrimination in the workplace and everywhere else so that they can live a life that is equal to people who are not LGBT. But mostly it’s our attitudes towards sexuality too–there’s no need to see something wrong with sexuality, it’s really just a thing that naturally occurs. So any stigma placed on any sexuality is just ridiculous.

The movement has always been about paving the way for better acceptance for our LGBT youth down the road. This isn’t just about this or the older generation getting equal rights, it’s making sure we don’t have any more abused kids who are beat up for being gay, it’s making sure kids don’t get bullied by classmates or teachers or institutions for their gender identity, it’s making sure we build a future where people regard each other with equal respect. Isn’t that a fight that’s a worthy cause?

That LGBTs are asking for special treatment – We aren’t! In fact, we’re making a fuss because we don’t have equal rights. Case in point: why is it still weird for people to see two guys holding hands in a public setting? But straight people–they could be snuggling on a jeepney on the way home and people would not mind at all. That alone I think is a huge indicator of how unequal Philippine society treats LGBTs. Aside from, say, the multiple beatings and homophobic hate crimes, of course.

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