You cannot kill us. Even if our bodies are scattered in a dark and silenced club after a coward opened fire at our happy and proud selves, you will never kill all of us.
We're not "just gays." We're not just two men kissing. We're not just two women in love. We're not just trans men or trans women who were brave enough to fight for who we are. We're not just bayots. We are not animals or mindless beasts, no matter what sexual acts you've reduced our existence to so you can focus on your disgust for us.
Like it or not, we are your loved ones. We are your brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. We are your coworkers, bosses, subordinates, and friends. We are your doctors, nurses, teachers, engineers, waitresses, psychologists, and truck drivers. To snuff us from this world does not kill those you call faggots, dykes and trannies, but only eliminates the ones who care for you and the ones you love. We are you, whether or not you know it or admit it. Who we love or how we act cannot change the fact that we are part of your lives.
A lifetime of threats
How can we be stopped when we've lived our entire lives with this threat? "I'd rather have a dead son than a gay son," our own parents said. We've been banished from our homes. We've lost our jobs and our friends, yet we still flourished - not because we "insisted" on being gay, but because there is no other way to live than to be ourselves.
We've sat through your lectures and "well-meaning" advice. That being gay will lead to lonely and meaningless lives. That we will be hated, scorned, beaten and killed, and then burn in hell afterwards. Nobody will love us, no one will marry us, and we can never have children, so therefore it's better if we just die, right?
We've sat through your "harmless" comments calling those who lack courage bakla, how you equate femininity with weakness without regard for the women in your lives. We didn't flinch when you said, "Magpakalalake ka (Be a man)," even if it was accompanied by a slap. We tried to rein in our swagger when you yelled, "Magpakababae ka nga! Ipa-rape kaya kita? (Be a woman! Want me to have you raped?)"
We turned our heads when you agreed with a senator who claimed gays are worse than animals. Never mind that this kind of hateful language legitimizes our murders and condones the endangerment our lives. Never mind that you'd rather change us than change the horrors that want us gone. Never mind that the religion whose select rules you follow make you think it's okay to abandon your own daughters and sons.
See, you will never kill us, precisely because you keep making us. How easily we forget that gay people are created by straight people and we were born with all that you despise. We came into this world with traits and spirits that trigger in you a hate that makes you hurt your own children or want to eliminate someone else's.
We are born who we are, loving who we do, fabulous and beautiful the way we were meant to. We mind our own business yet it becomes our problem when our nature stirs in you a desire to see us die.
This hate makes you cheer when an angry lunatic decides to spray a hundred of us with bullets from his machine gun. Worse, it makes you turn a blind eye, shrug your shoulders, and claim we had it coming because gays are annoying and the shooter didn't like to see boys in love. Remove the word "gay" from that club. Pretend your children were there or in a party with the sole intention of having fun. No matter what they are doing or whom they are loving, does anyone deserve to die?
The problem is that gay clubs aren't just for parties. They are safe spaces where people like us believe we can be ourselves when elsewhere the world may disagree. It doesn't occur to many outside our community that our daily lives are always tainted with fear. I cannot just hold my spouse's hand in public even if our marriage is recognized by law.
You don't know this because you don't see. You don't listen to how we've had to exist in a world that hates us. You claim we're accepted because some of us make you laugh on TV and we haven't been killed in front of your eyes. But you do nothing when a gay or transgender man is tortured, killed, wrapped in packing tape, and thrown into the street with a sign that says "tulisan."
You say nothing
You say nothing when powerful people say we are worse than animals, that we deserve death, or that we don't deserve the rights that you all have. You don't correct your son for bullying an effeminate boy in school or for forcing himself on a young lesbian. You let your husband spew homophobic slurs at the dinner table while you tell your own kids that he's just following God. You pray at night that hopefully your son remains "a real man." You let your children laugh at the transgender woman passing by.
In your actions and inaction you allow violence against your LGBTQ friends and relatives when you tolerate hateful language about us.
This is not news to us. We are used to this as the reality of our lives. If you took a second and spent it in our shoes then you might have noticed the permanence of our disappointment and the scars of your judgment in our eyes.
But don't you worry. Just go on living your godly, moral, and sinless normal lives. You can beat us, banish us, and you can kill us, but trust that our beautiful lives and the special ways we love will never ever die. – Rappler.com