Male chauvinists and unconcerned men beware

Last Tuesday, I gave a talk on the rules and conduct of elections for the upcoming congress of my party-list organization. This was during a pre-congress assembly.

There was a portion in my talk that put me in a very humiliating situation. I mentioned LGBT (acronym for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transsexuals), but I sounded like I did not know anything about it as I failed to give the meaning of the acronym’s last letter. Gays and gender advocates in the plenary immediately gave me embarrassing remarks. Explaining my side, I reasoned out that my ignorance of the LGBT issues was due to my lack of education about it. It just put me more to the state of humiliation. And I wonder why they did not take my word for it. (One friend of mine even remarked after my talk that my face had blushed when that gaffe transpired.)

It was not my first time to get humiliated about gender issues. About three years ago, I presented a workshop output before a gathering of agrarian reform and rural development players. During my presentation, I slipped by saying like this: “Gender projects have added burden to NGOs with their regular programs.” I received very negative reactions from the gender advocates. My God, damned was I. Like I did last Tuesday, I tried to reason out that I was just stating the fact that some NGOs really felt the gender projects have not yet sunk in their systems. But that rationalization even worsened my situation. It was like I heard hoots here and there.

I’m no Isagani Cruz, a former Chief Justice, respected for his progressive political views, who, however, used a national daily to air his chauvinistic side of the gender realities in my nation. I think he just lost the chance to be remembered in the political and judicial arena in a positive light. His “pink-national-flag” scenario earned him high-profile shaming from the LGBT sector.

As I said, I’m no Isagani Cruz. But like him, I was not discreet enough to watch my language, I mean, the tone of my language. The gender advocates and LGBT persons may forgive you for your politically incorrect pronouns but they will not take sitting down your condescending, even unconcerned, attitudes against them.

This is another lesson in my life. I have befriended many in the LGBT community and am a gender advocate myself, but it seems I have a lot of things to do to really make them convince I am no follower of Isagani Cruz.

(Note: This blog entry was originally posted on my more personal site.)

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3 comments

  1. Dong, this is an amazing experience, and it reflects the increasing lack of tolerance and understanding in our society as people try to establish beliefs they can firmly hold onto in the midst of ever increasingly confusing times. During these times rin nga sobra ang pessimism, cynicism, extreme relativism atsaka indifference. Remember also during the LinuxWorld conference, ang daming natamaan/na-offend dun sa isang remark ni Obet about NGOs and advocacies on FOSS. Although very well put naman ang pagkakasabi ni Obet dun sa punto nya na advocacy should not simply be focused on increasing FOSS usage, but should promote understanding of the philosophies that FOSS is based on (i.e. commons, sharing, ecological principles, etc.).

    I wasn’t at the event where you gave your talk, but based on your description of what happened, I think you were very courageous in admitting that you don’t know enough about LGBT and so I think that it was unfair that you received the kind of treatment you described. I suppose the people who do this are a kind of “advocate” themselves, and we all need to be careful of that thin line between advocacy and fascism.

    By the way, I blogged about the Isagani Cruz issue here
    http://www.korakora.org/wordpress/archives/101

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