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A Letter to Filipinos From a Member of the LGBTQ+ Community

Our country is fighting a war on drugs. We should also start fighting a war against bigotry.
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Welcome to 2017! Welcome to the generation where same sex marriage has been legalized and widely accepted on nearly half of the countries around the globe. Where homosexuality has been disregarded as a mental disorder for more than three decades. Where loving a person of the same sex is considered natural rather than something to be ashamed of.

I know that reading this may all seem cringe-worthy for some of you. I couldn't blame you. Being raised in a predominantly Roman Catholic country, I know how homosexuality has been ingrained as a sin in our minds even before we have made our first steps in this world.

I am fully aware of how our parents have clearly taught us that we are either a girl or a boy—nothing in between. I wouldn't even try to argue with you on how our local media have continuously radicalized our society on not taking the gay community seriously by simply using us, the LGBTQ community, as a form of ridicule rather than individuals who deserve respect.

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Reading headlines about celebrities who recently came out or transitioned makes me proud about how our country is finally tackling this topic that was once considered taboo. However, reading the comments underneath breaks my heart; it reminds me that our country, despite being the most Westernised country in Asia, is still somewhat stuck in the Dark Ages. People's comments about how they find the LGBTQ people to be "ridiculous," "disgusting," "sinful," and "immoral" makes me want to go into a fit of rage.

I know that this is a free country; we have freedom of speech. It just breaks my heart on how narrow-minded some people can be. Our country is fighting a war on drugs. We should also start fighting a war against bigotry.

Our country is fighting a war on drugs. We should also start fighting a war against bigotry.

I am not here to preach. I am not here to change your opinion or belief. Most of all, I am not in any position to talk about religion. But please, do me a favor and reflect on what I am about to say.

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Before you make any indecent comment about another person's sexuality, can you imagine saying that to a member of your family? What if, while you're making fun of that person for being a tomboy, your daughter or sister or mother is by your side, contemplating on ending her life due to the fear of being rejected and ashamed? Can you ever imagine holding hands with the person you love, being scrutinized and ridiculed while walking along the street? Do you see yourself hiding the person you love from your friends and family, possibly for the rest of your life, simply because they're too religious to accept your relationship? Can you ever fathom the idea of not being able to marry the person you love because the whole society thinks it is immoral and against God's will?

Lastly, can you ever imagine yourself giving up your own happiness so other people will be happy to see you settling down with a person of the opposite sex, whom you don't even love?

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The next time you comment on other people's sexuality, please put yourself in their shoes and imagine how you'll feel if you get treated differently.

Sincerely,
Binibiningclara, the 21st Century Maria Clara that is searching for her Sisa—not Ibarra.

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