The Philippines is an irony. We prioritize family over our own selfishness yet when the time has come to split the inheritance, those that remain fight over it with such ferocity as if they’ve been waiting for it their whole lives. Our economy is in a huge upswing yet the number of the poor hasn’t budged a bit. But the most significant of all might be our tolerance of the LGBT community. You might not be surprised as much if I didn’t tell you over 80% of the population is completely, utterly, go-to-mass-every-Sunday Roman Catholic. Well, maybe not all of them go to mass regularly or pray before every meal, but most of us were raised and taught to live by these teachings and to this day we practice them.
No country is immune to discrimination especially to something as controversial as the LGBT community. Yet despite the safety social media brings to bullies and the loopholes of freedom of speech, nothing could stop the biggest male celebrity from embracing his sexuality as much as the Philippines’ own Vice Ganda. He’s flamboyant to a fault, unafraid to wear his heart on his sleeve, with a compelling and quite literal rags-to-riches story. But even with humble beginnings ripe for gaining the public’s affection, nothing can guarantee a mightily gay man to surpass an international celebrity, universally loved and praised for his work and ethics. Vice Ganda it seems, has millions of likes more than Manny Pacquiao, a sort of modern national hero of our country.
So the next time you feel like condemning the Roman Catholic church for closing its doors on gays and lesbians, or stare in shock at your computer screen at a headline that resembles, “Transsexual Commits Suicide After Being Bullied By Classmates”, keep a calm demeanor and remember that tiny speck of land at the other side of the world where, despite contradicting the teachings of their beloved faith, people whether straight or bisexual or anything in this colorful spectrum of sexual identities coexist with respect and understanding of each other.