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'I'm not using Ladlad'

DIRECT LINE By Boy Abunda (The Philippine Star) Updated September 02, 2011 12:00 AM

A certain Mr. Pedroche wrote a letter to another broadsheet some months ago rebuking me on two major points. That I should not be talking on behalf, but to the LGBT Community that if one works hard he can be successful. And that my active participation in Ladlad is just in preparation for abundant politics suggesting that I am preparing for a political career using the fledgling partylist. Here is my answer to Mr. Pedroche en toto.
Dear Mr. Pedroche,
To say that where I am working (ABS-CBN) and where I went to school (Ateneo) are the very proofs that I was not discriminated is an uninformed statement. And to conclude that since I was accepted by the two institutions disqualifies me from talking on behalf of the LGBT Community is a lousy assessment.
Please indulge me on the following.
• I can do both — talk to and on behalf of Ladlad and the LGBT community because I have a voice and a life story that most of them are able to relate to.
• I wasn’t raped but I was bullied.
• I wasn’t physically harmed but I was maligned, insulted because I was gay.
• Thank you for acknowledging the hard work that brought me to this little space I stand on today. But it was hell to get to where I am.
• Early on in my life, I fought discrimination even against relatives and friends who said that I would be better off as a club dancer than a lawyer. (God, I would have been a ferocious club dancer!)
• Mr. Pedroche, I don’t take offense at your letter because admittedly your voice represents a sector of society that shares your opinion. This is an opportunity for us to beg you to look at our fight for equal rights beyond Boy Abunda because I am not the face of the LGBT Community. But does that disqualify me from taking the cudgels and speaking on its behalf?
Would anyone have cared if I did this 30 years ago when I was poor, voiceless, weak and negligible?
OK, let’s call a spade a spade. Make it a pink spade if you may.
• I am not and will not be a nominee of Ladlad partylist in 2013.
I said that if and when I would be interested to get into politics, I will do it in 2016 without using Ladlad and run perhaps for governor in Eastern Samar where I can serve my province which is the fourth poorest in the country.
But your tacit imputation that ultimately it is abundant politics that is my end goal is a political bias of your cynical mind.
But you know what Mr. Pedroche, abundant politics can mean politics of empowerment. If I can tweak it to mean a style of politics that inspires and empowers, then you would have contributed an important phrase to our fight for equal rights.
• Do I have to be stabbed 72 times? Do I have to be deprived of employment?
• Do I have to be bullied in a public transport? Do I have to be stoned to death to raise my voice in protest against violence and discrimination?
• Will I just sit back and watch LGBT people die or being abused, discriminated and violated, anyway I work for the biggest network and at some point I went to the Ateneo?
• No. Mr. Pedroche, I choose to get involved. Also because after the landmark decision of the Supreme Court to accredit Ladlad as a party list, we cannot afford to lose in 2013 otherwise we go back to zero.
• Yes, I will continue to talk to the LGBT community and share with them my story.
Mr. Pedroche, thank you for not being homophobic; your letter is valid, respectful even. I hear you out and here’s hoping that you too hear me out.
And since you say that we need love and not congressional seats, I say that we need both and for us to do this is to keep on engaging people in dialogues and debates about LGBT rights and human rights, despite the odds.
Life sometimes is funny Mr. Pedroche. You may just find it in your heart to love us and vote for Ladlad in 2013.

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