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.
If you've seen Erin Brockovich, you probably remember that winning scene where Erin (played by Julia Roberts) sits down with the lawyers representing PG&E, the energy company responsible for poisoning the water supply of Hinkley, a small town in California. The guys in suits were trying to negotiate the settlement to be offered to the people in Hinkley who were suffering from various illnesses, which pushes the quick-witted, foul-mouthed Erin to throw a bitchfit during the meeting. And just as one of the lawyers was about to drink the glass of water offered to them by Erin's office, the sassy Erin shoots back at them: "By the way, we had that water brought in specially for you folks. Came from a well in Hinkley." The lawyer ends the meeting without drinking the water.
In the course of my career promoting different brands, products, and services, I think one crucial lesson that I have learned to apply before I take on a project is to always go back to that particular scene and remind myself: would I be confident enough to take a gulp of water from my company's water supply?
Big data is big right now, but are we being crushed by the information?
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.