My blog today is really a reaction to a topic in one of the yahoogroups I belong to. It started when a contribution of one of the members were censored and the author was disappointed with what happened. The article was a harsh reaction to what Boyet Fajardo did while shopping in Duty Free. Below is my reaction (slightly edited since I am publishing it as my opinion rather than as a reaction to the author's original message because both the author and the moderator may not be appreciative that I posted their discussion on my blog) and just to give you a disclaimer - this is just my opinion. I know it seems to veer away from how my previous blog entries have been but I believe it is about time to talk about something less superficial.
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Let me set up the scenario. The moderator had changed the title of the article from "Bakla Wag Tularan" to "Designer Rants at Duty Free, Union Urges to Boycott his Products." The contents of the article were deleted and was was only retained was the video. The writer reacted because he felt slighted and hurt because the moderator was not allowing him to air his opinion and thereby disassociates himself from the group as a whole. Another member of the group reacted stating that we should not be picking on Mr. Fajardo just because he is homosexual. Now, that is where I came in with my opinion.
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I don't think he is being picked on because he is homosexual. He is being picked on because of the way he handled himself. Supposedly he is famous (Supposedly because I ONLY heard of him when this incident happened.) NO PERSON, gay or otherwise, should treat others the way he treated those working in Duty Free. No one gave him that right and no one should. The way he handled the situation was and is despicable. Even the most famous individual doesn't have the right or priviledge to do the same to his or her fellow man. If that is the way he treats people he meets then he should not be allowed out of his house. He should not be allowed to interact with anyone.
The public's first impression matters when they recall certain events. We do the same on our own conversations. ("Yung kulot," "Si mataba," "Yung kamukha ni Zoraida," "Si Amoy Old Spice," "Yung naka pink na micromini," "Si blondie") We tend to focus on that characteristic that made the lasting impression whether good or bad. But most of the time, bad. Since this person was not famous (well, only in his twisted mind), what everyone first notices is that he was gay. Bakla. Gender insensitivity? I don't think so. It doesn't mean anything derogatory by itself.
The article (daw) gave a negative feedback on homosexuality as a whole. I don't think so. It was Mr. Boyet Fajardo who reflects a negative association to Filipino homosexuality as a whole. The more you are recognized (even if it is just your impression of yourself), the more you should be a better example, a better image for all other gay men especially in the Philippines. Why? We have been struggling acceptance, tolerance in our society. What he did, how he acted in public is a step back for the rest of us. What we should be doing instead is not flip-flopping whether the article had nice, flowery words to say so that homosexuals will not be looked upon with contempt because of a crass individual let loose in the Duty Free shop, but instead, we should be united in condemning how a human being, regardless of sexual preference, treats his fellow man. We can show the nation / the world that we are not making excuses for him by showing we do not tolerate his actions. I, for one, do not find it offensive how the title was phrased. Negative content, we wouldn't really know if it was really negative because it was censored. It is objective. One would think it is while another, it does not. Censoring deprives the reader how to think for themselves. Now, if there was an established agreement what can and cannot be used in an article submitted in the website that is a different story. Maybe that needs to be established and agreed upon.
There are ways to get the reader's attention to what you have to say or what you want your readers to feel. I believe the writer wanted to incite the anger, the disbelief to his readers. He wanted them to be riled up to make an action. To stand up and say this should not be tolerated. This is not how a person should be treating his fellow man. Probably he used the words he used not just to catch attention to read the article but to motivate them into action. It was mentioned that the reason it was "edited" was he wanted to lighten the post and not show anger and hostility. I believe that by doing so shows tolerance of unacceptable behaviour. We want society to respect us but we treat this incident lightly. Instead of telling society that Mr. Fajardo does not represent the rest of the Filipino gays and that we treat others as an equal and as a human being, we show society that we should just let it pass and the issue will just die down in time. If we want others to respect us as gay people in society, we should show them that we are respectable and that, we, like the rest of society, know how to treat others the way they should and we condemn those that abuse.
If I was the one censored I believe I would react the same as the writer. If, as an editor, you have issues with what I wrote and would suggest a different approach, it should be done prior to posting the article in its edited form. My humble opinion is the editor should have conferred with the writer and they should get into an agreement prior to publishing the article. From what I understood is that the title was totally changed and the rest of the article taken out, so the only thing that remains of the article is a video. That is not editing. In fact none of what the writer remained.
I would commend the moderator though since he was able to apologize to the writer. I salute you for your humility. I feel that you are sincere and concerned with the group and with gay rights.
To the writer, if you are still reading the comments, stand your ground. Don't act like a child and leave just because of an incident. Talk. Find a common ground. How can you affect change if you leave? The moderator did not do what he did out of spite or vendetta. Talking it out, you may have found a compromise.
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In the end, the article was taken down. All that is left is a discussion of what transpired.
If you subscribe to our yahoogroup, please note that I made slight edit that has no impact on the message of the article.