Friday, May 29, 2009

Sexualities and Sexual Identities

In the morning, we had 35 participants for this GST training. I was assigned to discuss about sexualities and sexual identities. The group was mixed in terms of age and genders. One was openly gay. Two other young males asked about "the danger of identifying young gays as gays" because they are still 'in transition'. My curt reply was "even children are socially competent to identify themselves as 'baklitas' (that was the term they used when interviewed in a TV series)". I noted what is more dangerous is to belittle them as "gays" when they do not yet identify themselves as such.

My lecture started with a series of pictures showing different 'masculinities' and 'feminities'. I intentionally picked 'metrosexuals' (who politically do not identify themselves as 'gays). Yet the common response of the audience was that they are gays. Then I proceeded with the different perspectives on sexuality: as a an attraction, energy, continuum/spectrum and as power struggle. I was able to add the different types of masculinities and bisexualities, for instance. In this, I got a lot of insights from Hernandez' study of male sex workers. He pointed out the usefulness of the framework of 'pagkatao' and concepts such as 'labas' (outside), and 'loob (inside). For him, male sex workers were active sexual agents who are still caught in ambivalence: while serving sexually male clients, they are still forming their own family (with wife and children) which for them is the 'natural' sexuality of men. From his framework, I believe that the notion of 'lalim' (depth) must also be added because this is where the struggle of the mind and body takes place (producing ambivalence). It is where the core of one's humanity is being produced (part of which is one's sexuality). I was also able to cite historical gender resistances (UP Masaya, Lesbond, etc.) in and out of the country.

What made me laughed was the comment: "if we allow LGBTs to come out, would it result to a more chaotic world?". Definitely, answer/s to this requires a lot of contextualization: historical, biological/evolutionary. Off hand, I thought of saying, "species like the seahorse exemplifies a 'reversed' world because the male of the species reproduce". If that is so, would that result in a chaotic world among the animal kingdom?

I don't know how to arrive at a more satisfying answer to the question. Evidently, that question was framed with fears and under the pretext that we are living in a 'natural' order of things. Would being a member of the 'lesser sexualities' result in confusion? But our developmental pathways as gendered human beings also undergo the same process of gender 'dysphoria' or chaos especially when we transition from one stage to the next: from childhood to adulthood, or from being reproductive to menopausal. So, from an individual point of view, we have been in chaos all our lives because chaos result to changes, for better or for worse. Change is the only constant thing in this world. And by changing our norms (e.g. polarization of gender), it will definitely spells 'chaos' and chaos which will also lead to a better world because it intends to address our changing needs and aspirations which we hope will bring about that society/ies we dreamed of...

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