An Open Letter To Manny Pacquiao
Your name will always resound so many “bests” for me as a Filipino. You have been a national pride, a world champion, and a pound-for-pound fighter both on and off the ring. You will always be a name that has already etched its mark in the hearts of Filipinos giving us pride, honor, and recognition. That will never change of me as a Filipino.
But it is different now that I am a Filipino who happens to be gay. Listening to the controversial interview that you had, made me one of your opponents in the likes of Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton or Marco Antonio Barrera who fell on technical knockout with your statements. It seemed that I felt the wrath of “The Pacman” inside the ring that wreaks havoc to my soul. It hurts. It really does. But I tried to do away with the emotions that have taken me over. The words spilled a can of worms for both sides. Hateful words that reproduced from the haven of God’s holy words, the bible.
I am not a master of what the bible says. I wouldn’t claim anything as such. But I follow the Golden Rule which I want to share with you, Manny, in my open letter for you.
Manny, I am happy that you grew up as a straight man who is obviously a good father to your children, husband to your wife, brother to your siblings, and son to your parents. I am happy that you do not need to live in a world that you still need to fight for what you truly are unlike us gays. I am happy that you do not need to combat discrimination in any form whether in school or in the workplace. And that the only thing that you needed to battle with is the poverty that you grew up with. Whereas, we, the LGBT community, are here fighting for the right that seems to be as elusive yet feasible like the rights fought by women and black people during the bygones.
Manny, I am happy that in every punch that you throw to your opponents, you succeed and give pride to our country. I am not saying that what you are doing is violent. As it is indeed that we consider two men wrangling and fighting with each other as a “sport” compared to two men holding hands in love as a taboo. Whereas, we, the LGBT community, are here peacefully, colorfully, and intelligently fighting for our freedom to love without judgment and prejudice. Every act of love that we do is a punch that we need to take from the scrutiny and whim of the society. And no matter how we do it, it will always be considered as immoral and animal-like.
Manny, I am happy that the belts you won became nascent symbolisms of your courage and strength as a man. With all your years of hard work, pieces of training, and physical and emotional pain, you are able to win the praises, respect, and hearts of the people. Whereas, we, the LGBT community, are here doubling what our straight counterparts have achieved in life. And yet are still looked down upon as not as productive and notable as you are. More so, we also have the same years of hard work, and much more physical and emotional pain just to win the approval of the people surrounding us to show our courage that will always be coated as weaknesses.
Manny, I am happy that the closest physical and emotional pains that you may have experienced were the punches thrown at you or the derogatory remarks and jokes about your accent or even insults to your mother. I apologize if I laugh at these jokes and even acknowledge that most people who do it are gay comedians who may not think of it as offensive but are taken as an offense by you. I am sorry. But here we are continuously attacked both physically and emotionally in a battle that we subject ourselves to because of being gay. Whereas, we, the LGBT community, have succumbed to the pressure of society for us to change and rewire ourselves to be “normal” people just like straight beings like you. While some fought back and dream of a pot of gold at the rainbow’s end, some surrendered and committed suicide for that is the only escape that they can think of from the endless storm because of who we truly are.
Manny, I am happy that you are not given with the hard decision of choosing between being a straight man or a gay man. Because there was no choice, indeed, that we are left here to choose from. I am happy that you do not have the burden of fighting with the “other self” that is usually kept in the closet that longs for its release… even for its parole. There was never a choice, Manny. We did not choose to be gay. We did not choose to be persecuted and discriminated. Would you?
Manny, I am happy that you do not need to experience what we, the LGBT community, have to experience as a second-class citizen in this country and even to the rest of the world. That you do not need to ask for a right that is notably a human right, in the first place. I am happy that you are living a life that, despite obvious reason and rebuttal, is still considered normal while we live a life that disgusts many.
If God will give me another life to live, I would want to live a life of a straight man and enjoy every day of it praising Him for not making me gay. And yet stay silent and humane with what might these gay people feel not being like me. But if I am to continue my life as a gay man, I will still strive for the full realizations of the noble causes that I am fighting for right now and still pray and thank God that I am made to endure all of these to learn kindness over so much unkindness. Manny, I am always proud of you as a Filipino. And I will pray, even though some religious people might bar me and tell me that a sinful being like me will only be given with God’s deaf ear, for you to even nourish your spiritual life with Him as we also do to ours. I know that one day, homophobia can no longer distort the spiritual message of God’s love for all people whether they may be straight or gay.
Manny, I am gay and I am human.
An Open Letter To Manny Pacquiao
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