Dark Ages

Last Sunday, a friend of mine sent me a text message urging me to write a letter to Ms Lorna Kalaw Tirol of the Inquirer. This is in response to a decidedly homophobic rant that PDI columnist Isagani Cruz wrote and which came out last Saturday, 12 August 2006.

here are some excerpts. Even the title 'Don we now our gay apparel’ irks me.

HOMOSEXUALS before were mocked and derided, but now they are regarded with new-found respect and, in many cases, even treated as celebrities. Only recently, the more impressionable among our people wildly welcomed a group of entertainers whose main proud advertisement was that they were “queer.” It seems that the present society has developed a new sense of values that have rejected our religious people’s traditional ideas of propriety and morality on the pretext of being “modern” and “broad-minded.”

Beauty salons now are served mostly by gay attendants including effeminate bearded hairdressers to whom male barbers have lost many of their macho customers. Local shows have their share of “siyoke” [gay men], including actors like the one rejected by a beautiful wife in favor of a more masculine if less handsome partner.

And the schools are now fertile ground for the gay invasion. Walking along the University belt one day, I passed by a group of boys chattering among themselves, with one of them exclaiming seriously, “Aalis na ako. Magpapasuso pa ako!” [“I’m leaving. I still have to breastfeed!”] That pansy would have been mauled in the school where my five sons (all machos) studied during the ’70s when all the students were certifiably masculine. Now many of its pupils are gay, and I don’t mean happy. I suppose they have been influenced by such shows as “Brokeback Mountain,” our own “Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros” (both of which won awards), “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” and that talk program of Ellen Degeneres, an admitted lesbian.

Arggh, are we living in the dark ages?

To think that this person is a former Associate Justice of our Supreme Court and is the author of countless law books.

To think that also last Saturday, Danton Remoto, a well-respected author and teacher was a guest at Boy Abunda's Private Conversations. He was there to discuss why a network of LGBT advocates called "Ang Ladlad" (Coming Out) is seeking recognition as a party list by the COMELEC. Danton is also the founding chair and top candidate of Ang Ladlad.

it's such a cheap shot, what cruz did. Buti man lang sana kung meron talagang dapat ipag-putak - like a study or something that shows being gay is bad for your health, kunwari. wala man lang shang argument, e. nadadamihan lang sha at nabibigla lang ang sensibilites nia. ano ba yan? Tapos he's also insinuating that violence perpetrated towards gay people is justified.

The text message ended with "this kind of hate speech is truly dangerous if allowed to go unnoticed. please pass this msg and email addy to all your gay friends and all decent human beings."

Everyone, point your cursors to this email addy: readersadvocate@inquirer.com.ph address to Ms Lorna Kalaw Tirol.


Update (8/15/06): Received an email from an officemate containing this letter written by John L.Silva. John Silva is a consultant at the National Museum of the Philippines and is a staunch heritage preservation activist.


By John L. Silva

Weekend newspaper reading should be elevating, forward thinking and inspiring. But Isagani Cruz’s gay-bashing editorial (PDI August 12,2006)today only makes you understand why old geezer columnists, if they don’t keel over, need to be put to pasture for their own good.

Cruz can actually write and when he reminisces about old Manila he’s fine.
But his nostalgia also pines for behavior and mores that just doesn’t cut it
these days. He makes a point about excluding gays “…who have conducted themselves decorously” from his bombast. He can’t stand “timorous” and “audacious gays” and is frightened by the growing numbers. He yearns for elementary school days when there was only one, (Really?) one, queer person in his entire school. Must have been about the same time he needed glasses. And, most certainly, before Gay Pride.

Recently he freaked out overhearing one queer student telling another he’s
off to get his nipple sucked. Cruz pines (wishes?) for these queers to be
beaten up if they were overheard in a school his “five macho sons” went to.
This is where Cruz goes over the line.

There are newspapers, including the Inquirer, who take on opinion writers with a bent different from the company’s own views. It makes for variety and a certain level of maturity. But when the writer gets past dissenting and starts to recklessly, and without basis, charge that there is a homosexual agenda to convert this nation into ...sexless persons…” it may seem silly and innocuous, but it is classic hatemongering. And the Inquirer with its socially committed journalism should be the first to distinguish between freedom of expression and fascist talk.

Every day, gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals, and transgenders face discrimination and oftentimes, outright violence from a society that still holds the most ignorant and baseless notions about our population. Isagani Cruz’s crude portrayal of gays coupled with homophobic nostalgia continues these notions thereby validating the oppression inflicted on us.

The Inquirer, like many other newspapers, have expanded their Lifestyle and Entertainment sections to gain more revenue. In doing so, many gay oriented, gay friendly, and gay written pieces appear in these sections. Some of it can be silly and gossipy but otherwise, they make for interesting reading and they seem to satisfy the advertisers.

Add to that the regular columnists in the Inquirer stable who are gay identified and pro-gay and take up the cudgels for gay rights. (Many gays and lesbians have honored Rina David as an Honorary Lesbian). With gay Filipinos buying the Inquirer, Cruz needs to be reminded that his salary comes partially from gay pesos.

On behalf of many outraged gays, I demand that Isagani Cruz write a public apology over this editorial. The Inquirer Editor and Publisher should go on record to censure Cruz and this sort of writing and not allow anymore hateful articles about gays to appear in its newspaper.

Why should gays and people of good will patronize a paper with a columnist that demonizes us, telling us we reject “propriety and morality” and, absurdly states that we are a “compromise between the strong and the weak?” It’s not only hogwash, it’s pretty loony stuff unbecoming of a supposed world-class newspaper.

To the pasture Isagani Cruz. Write your antiquated dribble there where you hurt no one. A word about your macho sons. Eyebrows do get raised when one boasts needlessly about macho sons. Remember, we are everywhere.

John L. Silva

I don't know though if this was already published by the Inquirer.


Anonymous elen said...

hi there. thanks for the link/info.
i don't think Lorna Kalaw Tirol is still connected with the Inquirer. she left Sunday Inquirer Magazine years ago. Perhaps, it would be better to address the letter to Letty Magsanoc, she is the PDI's editor in chief, or to Jorge Aruta as he is the paper's Opinion editor.
anyway, it's not news that Mr. Isagani Cruz thinks himself very important. he's been known to diss everyone who doesn't think and act like him.

5:33 AM  
Blogger miranila said...

Hey Elen, thanks for the heads up. I just surfed PDIs site (i don't have a print copy with me) and i unearthed a 2005 story announcing Ms Tirol's appointment as PDI's Reader's Advocate.

I really hope Cruz gets his just desserts this time. It may sound ironic but i really hate haters.

10:57 PM  
Anonymous arlan said...

Follow the ruckus up at Manolo's blog http://www.quezon.ph/?p=996

12:52 AM  
Blogger John Silva said...

Hi, I note you published my first editorial piece on Isagani Cruz. You may want to see the other pieces i've written on the subject. cheers john silva

9:59 AM  
Blogger Nicole's Mama said...

Hi, Earnest,

I just searched the Inquirer website for the email that flooded their servers in response (and retaliation) to Isagani Cruz's homophobic editorial piece. He definitely took his right of free speech way too far.

9:25 PM  

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