A version of this essay first appeared in Adobo Magazine's first-ever Gender issue.
Any gay guy will tell you: it’s not unusual to hear a straight cisgender person ask, “Sino sa inyo ang lalake o babae? (Who's the guy and who's the girl?)"
It’s the straight cisgender gaze at work.
Whereas women have the so-called male gaze to blame for how they are objectified and stereotyped by society (#patriarchy), we gay men have to deal with the powerful outsider's gaze—that is, the framing of our identities and experiences according to how straight cisgender people experience the world.
An edited version of this appeared in TEAM Magazine.
When English journalist, novelist, and racist (he did write "White Man’s Burden", after all) Rudyard Kipling wrote, “For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack”, I bet that a movie about douchebaggery starring Bradley Cooper wasn’t how he envisioned his idea to permeate pop culture.
Then again, it does make you think of the power of stupid people in groups. A stupid individual acting alone will probably do little harm--but give him an army (or a gang to do #squadgoals with), and you have a Hitler or Kim Kardashian ready to tear a country or a pop star to pieces.
A disclaimer though: I am not calling everyone to shun society and go all hikikomori on life. What I would admit though is that my fear of echo chambers coupled with general anxiety made me wary of being part of anything involving barkadas--specifically, gay barkadas.
I love traveling.
I guess that comes to no surprise to anyone who knows me well.
I've seen a lot of the Philippines ever since I was a kid, thanks to my parents' insatiable wanderlust. (Yes, excuse me for using that word: I know it sounds so corny, how it's thrown so easily nowadays.) I have fond memories of sitting at the back of our pickup truck on our way to Ilocos, bringing back to Manila sacks of onions from our relatives up north.
I've experienced riding a non-airconditioned bus all the way to Sorsogon, taking in all the soot and grime during the nine (or was it twelve hours?)-hour trip. I remember my Nokia 3210 taking a dive in the chilly waters at the pier while waiting for our boat to Uson, Masbate (my mother's hometown) one early morning. Our family picture at Mines View Park is displayed somewhere in our house in Las Piñas, to remind us of a happier childhood.
I don't mean to paint a rosy picture of my family, of course. We've had our ups and downs, and I would be lying if I say I've resolved all my issues with my parents. Still, those times we've been traveling seemed to be a metaphor to what my mom has been saying to me all along: whatever it is you're going through, just go through it. It will pass.
HELLO, MY NAME IS EVAN TAN.
I'm a writer and communications professional based in Manila, Philippines. Outside of my regular job, I like to travel, work out, volunteer, watch movies and plays, go to art galleries/ fairs and museums, read books, and eat vegetarian food.
More about me here.