October 19, 2007

...maximo...

last night, krish and i started watching a film called, the blossoming of maximo oliveros. it’s a film that depicts the philippines in one of the most authentic portrayals i’ve seen on film. gritty. It’s the story of a young queer boy who acts as the sole keeper of the home – he cooks, cleans, sews, irons and does all the laundry for his all-male family of four. his father and two older brothers are involved the local barangay black market, and maximo’s loyalty is put to the test when he meets (and falls in love with) a local do-gooder ass cop who is trying to clean the barangay up. krish and i didn’t finish the film – we fell asleep… hey, give us a break, we’re having a baby. we’ll finish it tonight… i’ll give you a full report on it later.



this film sparked a short dialogue between krish and i about the attitudes toward homosexuality in the philippines, and more specifically in the rural ‘hoods (barangays). when i go home, i stay in a little section of manila named, pasay city. it’s not where my family’s from, but it’s where my family calls home now. hella grimy and i love every inch of it. when i’m there, i notice that (much like in the film) young men who are openly gay aren’t stared at or physically attacked. they’re just part of the everyday hustle and bustle of the city. i’ve yet to hear of a young pilipino man being disowned for his sexual preference. i have my opinions on why that is, but i’ll leave this blog open to discussion. why is it that our young queer brothers back home aren’t attacked the way we attack homosexuality here in the united states? don’t get me wrong, they might get teased if they walk past a group of young men while switchin’ their hips, but not to the extent of ridicule and malicious teasing they would encounter in the united states – had they been doing the same in front of a bunch of drunk frat boys. hmmm… holler.

3 comments:

JonZ said...

I wonder if the social heritage of the Phillipines intersects at all with Hawaii. I know that in Hawaii there is a long-standing tradition of openness to bisexuality, and that many of the legendary warrior kings were lovers with their generals. The original safe-sex...

Greg said...

American (i.e., in the U.S., not the rest of the Americas per se) ideas of masculinity are rigid and seen as immutable==>there is only one way that a person can be a "man". stereotypical straight jocks, gay men who don't like femmes or fags, many trans men, and many butch dykes perform masculinity per the archetype. many are aware of it, some even strive for it, but the underlying tenants of such a performance are problematic when--as they often are--coupled with oppressive modes of thought such as misogyny, sexism, homophobia (which doesn't exist without or independent from sexism), and transphobia.

there is a lot more gender fluidity and wiggle room within a lot of other cultures's ideas masculinity that is not present in the American construct. men putting their arms around each other is perfectly fine in throughout Asia and Africa (less and less with the increasing influence of American culture through movies, TV, and the internet). we all just need to learn how to relax. gender should be fun and not so much work. we should be able to play with it.

Pilipino culture has a looooong tradition of bakla ("ba" from babae [womyn] and "la" from lalake [man]=the combination of the genders). how it survived hundreds of years of intense colonial suppression and persecution, i don't know...but i'm glad that Pilipino culture has in large part resisted the European and American efforts to instill homophobia and transphobia in the People. we (all people regardless of the various identities they walk with) gotta keep on resistin'!

Greg said...

p.s. when you mentioned that you've never heard of a Filipino being disowned because they are queer, it reminded of me of the Rex Navarrete joke where the Pinoy son comes out to his father, and his dad says, "I don't care if you're gay. I love you all the same! But you're not a vegetarian, right?!" *haha*