After my long commute from Metro Manila to Lucena, I suddenly found myself sitting in front of the TV. It was a tiring day and the commute going home was hell. Sitting comfortably on the couch, I set the TV channel to ABS – CBN. It was a Sunday night because Gandang Gabi, Vice was the show on air. The episode consists of interviews and games with Vice Ganda and his guests: Hashtags and Girltrends.
It was a typical GGV episode filled with funny green jokes, and playful exchanges laced with sexual innuendos between the host and the guests. It was expected as half of the guests were good looking men. Of course there were some serious moments too.
During the last segment of the show, Vice shared some information to the audience regarding sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. He then explained the differences of the three terms and how men who date other men can still be considered a straight guy. The topic came up because Vice asked his guests regarding same – sex relationships. He asked the boys of Hashtags first if they are open to having relationships with gay men and if they will openly admit to having one if they did. After getting some gullible and conservative answers from the boys, he then turned to the girls. He asked the girls of Girltrends if they will date men who had past relationships with gay men. Dawn answered cheekily with “as long as the relationship’s over and done and already in the past, I would.”
I was kind of intrigued afterwards not because of how I can directly relate to the topic of same – sex relationship but because of how people often talk about my sexuality behind my back. I know I’m not the manliest person when I move or talk. Even my interests in life make my sexuality questionable. My love for Taylor Swift and her songs is an example of that.
So to clear the doubts in my head, I did some research about what Vice discussed in the said episode. Let’s define sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. These are formal definitions and not what the GGV episode gave to the audience and viewers that night.
According to The Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Clients, sexual orientation refers to the sex of those to whom one is sexually and romantically attracted. Categories of sexual orientation typically have included attraction to members of one’s own sex (gay men or lesbians), attraction to members of the other sex (heterosexuals), and attraction to members of both sexes (bisexuals).
Gender identity refers to “one’s sense of oneself as male, female, or transgender” (American Psychological Association, 2006). When one’s gender identity and biological sex are not congruent, the individual may identify as transsexual or as another transgender category (cf. Gainor, 2000).
Gender expression refers to the “way in which a person acts to communicate gender within a given culture; for example, in terms of clothing, communication patterns and interests. A person’s gender expression may or may not be consistent with socially prescribed gender roles, and may or may not reflect his or her gender identity” (American Psychological Association, 2008, p. 28).
Going back to the GGV episode, Vice said that if a straight man had a relationship with a gay man, it does not automatically turn him gay as his sexual orientation and gender identity might still differ from one another. You see, he can consider himself as gay when it comes to his sexual orientation but his gender identity can still be male. It’s the same with gender expression. A man who identifies himself as a male in his gender identity can express himself in the opposite gender norm. Example of this is wearing skirts rather than pants as what a man is expected to wear. Comparing Vice’s explanation to the formal definition of the terms, I guess he got it right.
After knowing this information, I got myself to thinking. With the recent problems I’ve encountered and my heart-to-heart with a friend, it became clearer to me. When I say “it,” I’m referring to my personal view regarding my sexuality.
You see, this friend of mine I had a heart-to-heart with is an openly gay person. Ever since high school, we are somewhat close. We hang out together, tell and keep each other’s secrets, and more. And with the woes I have experienced in the last month that I’ve posted on social media, he took notice.
He messaged me personally and asked me about what happened and what my problem is. Since I know I can trust the guy, I told him my story. I told him how someone took advantage of my innocence when it comes to hookups and whatnot. We were kind of laughing as we we’re talking about it because it was kind of stupid and silly on my part. Afterwards he gave me his personal advice based from his past experiences.
He told me that ever since coming out and embracing his sexuality, he’s in his happiest self. He is free now. He also reiterated that with the kind of friends we have, they’ll accept whatever it is that we are and do as long as it is legal. He wanted me to come out.
And I got myself to thinking again.
Is it really necessary that I come out? Am I really in the closet? My friend told me that they knew it already and I just need to confirm it to them. He said they’ll accept me and my life choices. He really is pushing for me to come out publicly. That time, I didn’t know what to say. I thought of the repercussions I will have to face if ever I decided to follow his advice. I thought of my parents and how I was raised in a conservative Roman Catholic family. I know it would be a disaster. But that’s the least of my problems. My biggest problem is that, right now, all I know is I still don’t know what my sexual orientation is. Coming out is not going to help me.
I know I identify myself as a male and my gender expression is that of a male. I have contemplated about my sexual orientation even before and did some research for enlightenment. I know that the normal categories of sexual orientation are homosexual, heterosexual, and bisexual but it does not always appear in such definable categories such as what the Kinsey scale suggests. The Kinsey scale describes a person’s sexual experience at a given time with 0, meaning exclusively heterosexual, to 6, meaning exclusively homosexual. The scale suggests that sexual orientation can be fluid and can change over time.
And that is my case. There were moments when I was exclusively attracted to men. This was evident during my early high school years. But during my junior to senior years, I became attracted to women. I even courted women during that time. Before that, during my elementary years, I was attracted to both men and women. And in the entirety of my college life, I was never exclusively attracted to men or women. My attraction shifted from men to women and vice – versa at some point during that time.
Then maybe you’re bisexual you may say. As of now, I really don’t know. It can still change I guess. And I’m not in denial. I am sure with my gender identity and gender expression. I know I am male in both the former and the latter. But when it comes to my sexual orientation, who knows? Maybe days, months, or years from now, I will find out. And maybe if needed, I will have the courage to come out of Narnia. If necessary, I’ll proudly do so. It’s not something to be ashamed of because you are not just a number on the Kinsey scale. You are a person and what you are is not just what your sexual orientation is.
- ^ “The Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Clients”. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/guidelines.aspx.