Editorial: Root out homophobia

·3 min read

The most fragile thing in the world is a sense of self.

On June 28, 1969, the police raided and arrested homosexual patrons and employees at the Stonewall Inn in New York City.

According to History.com, homosexuality was equated with sodomy during the 1950s-1960s. Forty-nine of the 50 states in the U.S. criminalized homosexuality.

Homosexuals were charged with heavy fines and faced imprisonment and punishment. The police arrested crossdressers for wearing gender-inappropriate clothing since “masquerading” as a member of the opposite sex was a crime in New York City then.

Social injustice, discrimination, and hatred permeated the culture. The Mafia, which owned the Stonewall Inn, blackmailed clients by threatening to “out” and expose their homosexuality to family and employees, reported History.com.

The New York police, which was bribed by the Mafia, still raided from time to time the Stonewall Inn and other gay bars in the city for the illegal solicitation of homosexual behavior, according to History.com.

On the evening of June 28, 1969, members of the New York City lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender (LBGT) community fought back against a team of undercover police that raided the Stonewall Inn, forcing the officers to take refuge inside the bar, which was then torched by the protesters.

What followed were days of riots in New York City, later spreading to other cities where the LBGT communities resisted the discrimination and harassment by the police, business owners, and the press, whose homophobic bias ranged from outright indifference to acts of homophobia to editorial condemnation of “the forces of faggotry” attacking social conventions and order, reported History.com.

A year after the Stonewall Inn riots, New York activists mobilized and conducted the first Gay Pride march, drawing participants that covered 15 city blocks. The activism to promote the rights and welfare of all marginalized genders later caught up in other countries.

Fifty-two years after the first New York City march, Pride Month in June continues to be essential to spread awareness and awaken consciousness about inclusive recognition and respect for all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions (Sogie).

Last June 8, Janille Rose Gultiano posted on the social media Facebook that she observed how a mother scolded her son for nearly making them miss the last seat in a bus offering free rides.

Gultiano wrote that the irate mother shouted at her son, about 13 years old, “Boang jud ka! Di ka magsilbi og pinaspasay kay hinhin kaayo ka! (Your stupid effeminate ways keep you from catching up).”

The netizen said that the bus driver allowed the mother and son to squeeze in the bus, and other passengers moved to give them space.

She described the effect of the public shaming on the boy who followed his mother but gazed back at the crowd “with tearful eyes.”

Although triggered by a vicious cycle of violence and resistance, Pride Month agitates for non-judgmental acceptance and mutual co-existence, fighting the sexual and social marginalization associated with gender stereotyping.

Gultiano expresses it best in her social media post, which supports diversity and challenges traditional constructions of identity: “I pray for the child’s strength amidst rejection and discrimination. I hope he won’t grow up feeling like a stranger in his own skin. I hope his home won’t turn into an echo chamber continuously bombarding his head with masculine ideals affecting his self-worth. I pray the world will be kinder to him. I pray we are all loved regardless of who we are or who we choose to be.”

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