- Twitter user shares thought-provoking conversation with Grab driver regarding his reason why he is a homophobe
- According to Gigo’s post, the driver experienced a string of sexual harassment from gay passengers, even back in his high school days
- Though homophobia is not justifiable for Gigo, he understood where the Grab driver was coming from along with the social media users who have read his post
According to past reports and surveys, the Philippines is dubbed the most “tolerant” country in Southeast Asia when it comes to homosexuality. Mainstream media suggests that the Filipinos widely accept the LGBTQ+ community and yet, homophobia remains a real issue in the country, one of which is highlighted in a different light by a viral Twitter thread posted on April 14.
A netizen named “Gigo” discussed a thought-provoking conversation he had with his Grab driver while he was on his way to a friend’s condominium for a night-out.
Their conversation started when the driver noticed Gigo was singing along to 80s-90s new wave tracks which prompted the Grab driver to ask how old he was. Their chat went to several personal topics ranging from how he got his wife pregnant when he was only 17 as they were high school-sweethearts, to how he still doesn’t talk to his in-laws, unto his experiences as a Grab driver, and how a string of bad encounters with gay men incited his hate for them.
“The moment I heard that (referring to how the driver hates gays), I was starting to fume and was ready to call him out but decided to explore why he has that disdain for gays. To be fair with kuya, he had no idea that I am gay. Before we go into details, I would like to describe kuya. He is 48, a bit buff, fair-skinned and may itsura for his age. Daddy chasers will definitely go after him,” wrote Gigo.
The original poster then described the stories of the Grab driver, narrating how he was sexually harassed by gay men while driving them to their respective destinations. The first bad encounter resulted in the driver punching the gay passenger in retaliation for touching his private part without consent. He then reported the gay passenger to the police station and had a police blotter but the harasser reported him to the management of Uber, where he was first working. With the passenger’s own version of the events, highlighting how he was punched, the driver got laid off from work.
“Then I tried to further explore yung pagiging homophobe niya. It turned out, kahit nung high school pa daw siya, lapitin na daw talaga siya ng mga bakla. He was harassed several times by his gay classmates and neighbors daw which is part of the reason why he decided to marry early. After he shared all these, I felt like I was in no position to call him out. My only regret was that I didn’t tell him that I am gay. I could have proved to him that not all gay guys are the same as those he has encountered,” recounted Gigo.
“Instead, I just told him that ‘Kuya, wala naman pong problema maging bading… yung pagiging malaswa kasi nasa tao yun.’ He just nodded and said, ‘Alam ko naman yun sir, pero mahirap kasi pag ikaw na mismo yung naka-encounter ng ganun,’” added the Twitter user.
In a report by Inquirer.net back in 2013, a survey titled “The Global Divide on Homosexuality” conducted by the US-based Pew Research Center showed that 73 percent of adult Filipinos agreed with the statement that “homosexuality should be accepted by society.”
“This high level of acceptance, which is comparable to that found in secular western Europe, is even higher than those found in Japan (54 percent), South Korea (39 percent) or the United States (60 percent), where some states allow gay marriages,” the report said.
Gigo elaborated that he understood where the Grab driver was coming from. “The LGBTs demand respect yet a lot of the people in our community are making the situation worse by doing things that taint the way the heteros perceive us gays. Most of my friends are straight guys and I am very open to them to the point that they always ask me how my lovelife or my sexlife is without mocking me for it. This is because they respect me the way I show respect to them. Before we demand respect from others, maybe we should start showing that we are worthy of their respect. To kuya and the heteros who feel that they have been harassed by gays one way or another, we apologize. Not all gays are what the society perceives us to be.”
“(I) never said kuya’s homophobia is justifiable,” clarified Gigo. “I just said I understood where he is coming from and was in no position to call him out. Just because not all gays are like the ones he has encountered, we (can’t) trivialize his encounters and disregard the fact that (it’s) really happening.”
“I’ve met this kuya. He didn’t tell me about the other passengers but definitely heard the first one. I wanted to tell him not all gays but it only reminded me of not all men. In situations that are less sensitive, it is okay to correct but for this one I think you did right,” replied one netizen to the viral thread.
I've met this kuya. He didn't tell me about the other passengers but definitely heard the first one. I wanted to tell him not all gays but it only reminded me of not all men. In situations that are less sensitive, it is okay to correct but for this one I think you did right.
— Mark Dimaisip (@dimaisipnasagot) April 15, 2019
“Kaya tayo hindi matanggap tanggap universally eh. May problema talaga sa mga ugali ng community members natin, sana man lang, good character ang maipakita natin sa (ibang) tao, hindi kahalayan kaagad 😕” commented another.
“Thanks @GigoBites for this. Part of the prob is how lgbt’s overly romanticized meeting strangers hoping it’ll work out whether sexually or romantically. It is covert and it emboldens one to do something otherwise you (can’t) get away with in broad day light,” pointed out another netizen.
The Twitter thread has since gone viral with seven thousand retweets and 15 thousand likes online.