A final paper I wrote for my Sociological Theories class, Master of Arts in Sociology (2009-2010)

  1. Introduction

“We shall rewrite history, history filled and debased with your heterosexual lies and distortions. We shall portray the homosexuality of the great leaders and thinkers who have shaped the world.  We will demonstrate that homosexuality and intelligence and imagination are inextricably linked, and that homosexuality is a requirement for true mobility, true beauty in a man.”

This is an excerpt of an editorial by Michael Swift, entitled “Gay Revolutionary” for an important gay community magazine, Gay Community News last February 15-21, 1987, which after a decade, it was reprinted for The Congressional Record, and since then, was repeatedly cited, apparently verbatim, by the religious right.  The editorial stood as “revolutionary” because it carried an angry stand against the widespread discrimination of homosexuals.  It remained that way, as when one has read the editorial, because the religious right cites the text omitting, as does the Congressional Record, the vital first line, which sets the context of the piece, that is:

“This essay is an outré, madness, tragic, cruel fantasies, an eruption of inner rage, on how the oppressed desperately dream of being the oppressor.”

It is from this perspective that, no matter how widespread homosexuality is, it still carries along with it a structural stigma of deviance, and with it, an institutional discrimination, that, regardless of the context which a gay man stands, is yet to be suspended.  Michael Swift’s inner rage speaks of every homosexual’s dream – of liberation.

From that global standpoint, Exene Tejano, in his article for AssociatedContent.com (2009), entitled, “Male Homosexual Culture of the Philippines” said that “Homosexual culture is a little different in the Philippines than its western counterpart.  Homosexuals, cross-dressers, and bisexuals are all labeled under the term “gay.”  “Suprisingly,” he continues, “in a Catholic dominated country homosexuality is accepted in the Philippines compared to other cultures, even to dominant American culture (to which Michael Swift’s inner rage proves so),” but he ends with, “but there is still much discrimination towards these people.”

Come to think of it, as to the acceptance level, say, tolerance, of the Filipinos with homosexuals, comes with a little indifference, when we can say, “Bay-i da sila,”  an indifference or complacency that also comes down to a subtle discrimination.  What brings this subtle discrimination?  Exene Tejano continues with his article by categorizing homosexuals in the Philippines.

First, the “Pa-girls,” the ones associated with the beauty parlor, into cosmetics; as to choice of a lover, they would want to be with “straight” (duh?) men because being with other homosexual men will be like being with another girl which would make them lesbian.  They’d rather call the fellow gay, “Sis!” (with a pitch!)  Included to this are effeminates, one who moves or acts, though not much into sexual acts, like girls.  The later is more stereotyped by gender rather than sex, or the preference of it.

The second category is the “Pa-Mhin,” the ones who don’t dress like women or act feminine, hiding the fact that their gay for fear of being unaccepted by society.  They usually live a double life, some even married to a woman, but goes out especially at night with his fellow “Pa-Mhin” or “Pa-Girl” boyfriend. (Such a mix up of terms, right?)

And third, for me, at part with “metrosexuals,” are the Urban Gays.  They aren’t ashamed being gay and are usually more educated than the first two categories.  Their outward appearance resembles that of the “Pa-Mhin” because he doesn’t like to cross-dress or look like a girl.  They usually have a successful career and have a normal open relationship with a partner.

  1. Spencer Speaks

From  Spencer’s Evolutionary Theory, here, we can see that there has become a “differentiation and increasing complexification of an organic or super-organic “body,” his term for social system.  True indeed that the social pressures has eventually led them to evolve, to survive (from external selection).  Following through his theory, the perennial presence of homosexuals in society and its perennial discrimination, even to the point of putting them to death for being such, has caused the “fluctuation of equilibrium,” (Gay Rights Movement in the 1970’s for instance) and of course, has cause “disequilibrium.”  Since then, the cycle of evolution, especially on how homosexuals react to the external social pressures laid on them, in general; they “adjusted and adapted” in more than one way, and has now come to an internal selection, of which now, in the Philippines, we have such “Pa-Girl,” “Pa-Mhin,” and the “Urban Gays”.

According to Spencer, in this cycle, “however, every solution to a problem caused a new set of selection pressures that threatened the society’s viability.”  This is how they followed through, since time in memorial, with the race for survival, and following the dynamics of tribal societies, to him, they have indeed, increased in population as they have evolved through all the external and internal pressures laid on them – to survive.

Question is why have they, homosexual regardless of the categories, have survived?  To Spencer, they have survived because as they “differentiate,” the society also “complixifies,” and as such, “differentiated structures” also survive and so, out of that, they assume “specialized functions.”  As Michael Swift puts it:

“We will unmask the powerful homosexuals who masquerade as heterosexuals. You will be shocked and frightened when you find that your presidents and their sons, your industrialists, your senators, your majors, your generals, your athletes, your film stars, your television personalities, your civic leaders, your priests are not the safe, familiar, bourgeois, heterosexual figures you assumed them to be.  We are everywhere; we have infiltrated your ranks.  Be careful when you speak of homosexuals because we are always among you; we may be sitting across the desk from you; we may be sleeping in the same bed with you.”

But again, the first line says the context, “of how the oppressed desperately dream of being the oppressor;” they are never liberated just yet.  Michael Swift and Exene Tejano have said it so in many ways it can be said – they are still “stigmatized,” “discriminated,” etc.

III. Merton Saves

Deviance, for Merton, “is central in explaining how internal changes can occur in systems.”  For him, deviance is necessary for society to develop, to improve; not so much of its function as “dysfunctional” when it simply mirrors to those who are “functional” their good standing, that they are working for the whole system; much so, an affirmation to those who are “functional.”  For him, along with social integration and regulation, he grounded this theory of deviance to Durkheim’s “anomie,” which for him “is a discontinuity between cultural goals (“cultural ends”) and accepted methods (“institutional means”) available for reaching them.”  Here, the response of the individual to societal expectations and the means by which the individual pursued the goals can help us understand deviance, even with homosexuality.

With the element of how individuals respond to the pressures, he gave five (5) situations facing each actor: conformity, when an individual works for cultural goals using accepted institutional means; innovation, when an individual works for cultural goals but rejects institutional means; ritualism, when an individual rejects cultural goals but accepts institutional means, as such, the simply complies devoid of meaning; retreatism, when one reject both cultural goals and institutional means; and, last is rebellion, when one simply forges new cultural goals and means, a complete social change.

And out of the categories given by Exene Tejano, we can see how homosexuals, in order not to be in the state of anomie, have responded differently, that by which they can operate functionally in the structures of their society.

Using the diagram used by Merton to show the responses of individuals to cultural goals and institutional means, as to whether they accept or reject it, taking the context of the three categories of homosexuals here in the Philippines:

 

    Institutional Means
    Accept Reject
Cultural Ends (Expectations) Accept  

 

 

 

 

 
Reject
“PA-MHIN”

 

 

 

 

“PA-GIRL”

 

  New Means
New Ends
“URBAN GAYS”

 

 

 

 

The “Pa-Mhin” in this structure ritualizes his homosexuality, in such a way that he rejects cultural ends, that he is “male,” but accepts what is acceptable to the society, thus, he acts out he is masculine.  In common terms, this is called, “Silahis” or “Bisexuals.”  The “Pa-Girl” falls to retreatism, rejecting both cultural ends as well as the means; the individual simply is indifferent to his gender expectations, such that it is socio-culturally constructed; and since “he” is indifferent to the former, “he” assumes something contrary to institutional means.  But, it is not rebellion as yet because they do not forge so much, at least, in the Philippine context, change in the way society looks at them.  They just prefer to be externally recognized among the many stereotypes, such as “efem’,” “parlorista” in such indifference.  The “Urban Gays,” on the other hand, works with a rebellion, working their way, internally.  They assume a new end, an expectation from themselves, from where or what?  From the functions they can perform in the structures of society, thus, as defined by Tejano, they are educated and are successful career-oriented professionals.  Their means, then, follows, “taking control.”

Ritzer, in explaining Merton’s stand on rebellion says, “It is true that society will attempt to control these individuals and negate changes, but as the innovation or rebellion builds momentum, society will eventually adapt or face dissolution.”  This sounds radical, indeed, if applied to how Michael Swift puts it in his editorial, but true enough as how Tejano presents the “Urban Gays” – they are educated, they are professionals, they are rich!  If society “negates the changes,” “refuse to adapt or adjust” and continues to stigmatize and discriminate the “educated,” the “professional,” the “rich” “Urban Gays,” Merton will just come smiling and sigh, “I told you, people,” when society will eventually adapt or face dissolution.

Capture

  1. Conclusion and Recommendation

As I have stated in one of my essays entitled, “Operation: HANDS ON: Operating System Infestation Alert, 3000 AD (2004),” I said there:

“The Pro-Gay social movements should resolve a more “hands on” struggle. And this struggle has no need of a “loud” way of revolting against the system.  I’d say, instead of “irritating” it, why not “infesting” it.  Just like how a virus in the computer would work into its operating system.  I would put my point into a scene in a darkness of a cave (like the KKK) and then, all the pro-gay will convene a “secret” meeting, commissioning them to all the sectors of the society, deploying them to “make good” in whatever they do, if they can, make it to the top.  Then, after a long silent revolution, the majority of the people will just realize how naïve they have been all the time “operation: hands on” was taking place.  Take this “operation: hands on” to every little unit in our society.  They will realize that it just takes time and great control of their libidos, but they have made a difference on what they were sulking for in the first place.”

“In this struggle, they don’t have to put themselves in the bitter struggle to put the great question in life to torture by the society. They just have to do it – silently but “mercilessly” – better than the majority.  After all, reality is indeed working its way into this kind of “operation: hands on.”  We see them everywhere.  Only that they should “make good” to make this work.”

I have come full circle with my article five years ago, with Spencer and Merton, this time helping me out. Reading through the words of these two sociologists, society has structures and out of these structures, functions are necessary to make the society survive.  Deviance, be it criminality or homosexuals, or whatever, has functions, too.  Even in its dysfunction, it still has function.  Without function, anything and everything, anybody and everybody, will cease to exist!  That is why, as I read through my article, I mention prevalently, “make good.”  By all means, “make good” in what? Of course, in all our functions in society, be it, as Michael Swift has enumerated it in his editorial.  True, indeed, he said, “We are everywhere; we have infiltrated your ranks.”

To end, let me quote further the words of Michael Swift:

“If you dare to cry faggot, fairy, queer, at us, we will stab you in your cowardly hearts and defile your dead, puny bodies.”

“There will be no compromises. We are not middle-class weaklings.  Highly intelligent, we are natural aristocrats of the human race, and steely-minded aristocrats never settle for less.  Those who oppose us will be exiled.  We shall raise vast armies, as Mishima did, to defeat you.  We shall conquer the world because warriors inspired by and banded together by  homosexual love and honor are invincible as were the ancient Greek soldiers.”

“We shall be victorious because we are fueled with the ferocious bitterness of the oppressed who have been forced to play seemingly bit parts in your dumb, heterosexual shows throughout the ages. We too are capable of firing guns and manning the barricades of the ultimate revolution.”

“Tremble, hetero swine, when we appear before you without our masks.”

And just as yet, we forget the first line that opens this inner rage…

“This essay is an outré, madness, tragic, cruel fantasies, an eruption of inner rage, on how the oppressed desperately dream of being the oppressor.”

References:

Swift, Michael. 1987. “Gay Revolutionary,” Gay Community News, February 15-21, 1987. (http://www1.profile.org.ph/page/homosexuality/.

Tejano, Exene. 2009. Male Homosexual Culture of the Philippines, Associated Press. (http://www.associatedcontent.com/pop_print.shtml?content_type=article&content_type_id=281878).

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deviance_(sociology)).

Ritzer, George. 2004. Sociological Theory, 6th ed. USA: McGraw Hill.

Pampliega, Joseph Sylvester. 2004. “Operation: Hands On: Operating System Infiltration Alert, 3000AD,” (Unpublished, CPU Graduate School).

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