Sunday, September 25, 2011

Too effeminate for comfort? by Mark Madrona

A piece by Mark Madrona from his Blog.

Too effeminate for comfort?


I had dinner in a Japanese restaurant (in a Quezon City mall) with a group of college friends and this “blue-eagled” guy (who was invited by a common friend). We chatted continuously while enjoying the meal. It’s my first time to meet that guy, and by uttering seven insulting words to me, it would most likely also be the last.

As we were preparing to go home, I saw him ask for the number of a female friend. I then approached him if I can ask for his. It has become an SOP of sorts for me in my intertwined world of graduate studies, textbook editing, and freelance writing. Much to my chagrin, he dryly replied: “I’m not comfortable giving you my number.” It hit a raw nerve for me. I concede that not giving me his number is his prerogative. However, I can’t help but wonder about his stated reason for him to do so.

What is it in me that makes him “not comfortable”? Do I look like someone who’ll be texting him every single moment possible? Maybe, he thinks I am a sexual predator and hopeless stalker rolled into one. Perhaps, he became wary of my effeminacy. I am making no effort to show or hide it, but it does not mean I am gay. If you don’t like that aspect of my personality, then it’s not my problem.

That nasty experience brought back memories of how people have been prejudiced against me in the past just because of that. I’ve been mocked and ridiculed for being perceived as a homosexual for many years already. I experienced that in school, in the neighborhood, online, and even in workplace. Come to think of it, the only time the names of these rude people will be ever published in a newspaper is when they commit suicide.

Middle of last year, the mother of my ex warned that her boyfriend should not be a “convert.” As if being an effeminate has anything to do with one’s ability to love sincerely. The family invited me for a lunch, and in the three weeks after that, the relationship just fell apart – in the guise of unsolved “personal issues” on her side. Why can’t I make people see that sexuality is not my only defining characteristic? For how long will being an effeminate smother my real worth as a person in the eyes of others?

To readers: If you think you can’t stand reading the thoughts of a reviled effeminate, leave my blog immediately. Remove this page from your bookmarks. Unsubscribe now.

To the “blue-eagled” man: Don’t allow homophobia to lessen you as a person by making you prejudiced and judgmental. An open mind is a thing of beauty.

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