I’m the fourth of five children of my parents. I have three sisters and one older brother. I grew up trying to follow my brother’s footsteps. He taught me how to play basketball, soccer and taekwondo. He was rough and this developed my toughness. As a younger brother, I really looked up to him. One undesirable trait I got from him is his phobia for gay people. He couldn’t stand being in a comfort room with any gay person. He stayed away from them and did not bother getting close to any.
As for me, I was scared too, but not as much. Ateneo high school blocks sections from second to fourth year. This means that the classmates you have in second year will be the same classmates you graduate with in fourth year. They were a nice bunch of friends and everyone was just easy to be with. In our senior year, we weren’t just classmates anymore, we have formed a family. Three years of us being glued together made us close and inseparable. Included in this family we have formed is a gay person named Hector. He was like the mother of our class and we all loved him. He taught me that being gay does not mean that they all have sexual desires for every man they see. Some are just feminine, while some, of course really like men. We cannot generalize them as just gays. They’re people too, and it’s not easy for them to fit in when they’re being judged.
Last March 3, 2012 was a whole new experience for me. I have never been to a comedy bar and I had no idea what it was like in the Philippines. All I knew was that in Hollywood movies, the stand-up comedians were usually black men making fun of people in the crowd. One of the movies I remember was Nutty Professor where Reggie Warrington, the stand up comedian, made fun of Nutty Professor for being obese. This was actually the only picture I had of what a comedy bar would look like. For our Social Anthropology class, we had to go to a place that we usually do not go to. We had to go to Punchline, a comedy bar in Timog Avenue. I was kind of scared because I did not know how the place would look like. As soon as I entered, the looks of the people were kind of intimidating also. I immediately looked for my classmates and I saw them sitting in a long table right in front of the stage. To add up to the nerves that were just whirling inside me, I saw that the stand-up comedians in the stage were gay people. As soon as I got to the table, I ordered beer right away to just calm myself down. Everything was just so unusual to me. I was uncomfortable with the fact that I was in a somewhat shady place with gay people hosting the show. We were around 20 students in front of the stage. We looked younger than the typical customers there and we all just knew that one of us would get picked on. After around just ten minutes of settling down and talking to my friends, the host called me up the stage. I felt horrible and shocked that out of all of us I had to be the one chosen to go up the stage with the gay hosts. I’ve stated earlier that I am not as scared as my brother towards gay people because of the gay people in my life that I’ve gone close to, but this was different. Just stating the obvious, I did not know these hosts and I was just going out of my mind. They asked me where I studied, why we were there and a couple of questions more. They even asked me if I would like to sing in front of everyone and I just quickly declined the offer. I was up the stage for around ten minutes and I was just going with the flow of the show after awhile. I told myself, “this is normal, they just do this every night”. Again, after settling down a bit on the stage, the host asked if he could kiss me on the cheek. I felt terrible again and I just wanted to go down. They wouldn’t let me until he got to kiss me on the cheek. It was just really one of the most awkward fifteen minutes of my life. The night ended with me just hanging out with my friends, enjoying the show and just having one of the most memorable nights.
In this field trip, I learned that going outside my comfort zone is not really a bad thing. It’s actually the best way for me to learn. It’s amazing how gay people have such great talents. They think really fast and just come up with ways to make the crowd laugh. They have amazing voices and they can even mimic girl voices when they sing. Lastly, I learned how straightforward gay people are. They came out and told the world they were gay for a reason. They knew they were going to be judged by a lot of people but they planted their feet on the ground and made this an edge for them to be successful in life.