(Author’s Note: I have gazillions of published articles and have kept about half of them. I thought this old article was interesting enough to be recopied in this blog, in the light of my recent post on ‘Brokeback Mountain’ and the subject of sexuality. FYI, this appeared under my byline in the Nov 13, 1999 (!!!) issue of Women’s Journal. It’s old, all right, but the revelations are ageless. Read for yourself and tell me what you think. Who knows girls, you may never look at your boyfriend/husband in the same way again)
The stereotype gay is the kind often depicted in local movies: screaming parlor fags; brooding, artistic types; and sexually adventurous ones who pick up young hustlers in Cubao or frequent seedy bars.
Another type of homosexual male chooses to stay in the closet for obvious reasons: being born male, his family and friends expect him to behave like one. He must appear dignified, manly, get married and raise a family at the right age.
A study entitled “Exploring the Homosexuality of Filipino Men in Heterosexual Unions” undertaken by Dr. Romeo Lee of the De La Salle University’s Behavioral Sciences Department showed that closet homosexuals were in love – surprisingly – with the woman they choose to marry at that time.
One respondent revealed: “She was the ideal woman. The first time I saw her, I don’t know.. I heard wedding bells. I fell in love with her instantly.”
The other reasons cited by the respondents for getting married were the pregnancy of their girlfriend, the desire to have a child of their own, and pressure from family and friends. Others believed that marriage would “cure ” their homosexuality, plus provide the bonus of having a regular companion for life. One philosophized that male-to-male relationships are primarily unstable.
“A (gay relationship) is not for life. The rule is that a woman should be with a woman,” one opined.
Those surveyed in the Lee study, with ages between 30 and 50 years old, noted that they did not see themselves as homosexuals before their heterosexual union for the reason that “they were more strongly attracted to women than to men.”
On the other hand, Lee stressed, “there were those who appeared quick and open in admitting that they had already recognized themselves as homosexuals before their union.” Then, there were also bisexuals who confessed to a sexual attraction to, and relationship, with both sexes.
The respondents were then asked: “What is in their homosexual experience that is not found in a heterosexual relationship?” Some of the answers were enlightening:
“With a man, you don’t have any fear. Nobody will get pregnant. With a woman, especially if you’re not married yet, you’re afraid of responsibilities.”
“It is different when a man performs oral sex on you than it is when a woman does it.”
“I am somewhat a narcissist, an exhibitionist. I like looking at myself in the mirror. Thus, if there is a man who is muscular, I can see myself in him and therefore, I will like him. I cannot see myself in a woman, di ba?”
“With men, both of you work to satisfy each other. With women, it can be one-sided.”
“One thing that a man does not experience with a woman is the so-called male-bonding.There is the buddy-buddy system. You are both lovers and friends.”
Did the wives or the live-in partners know that they were gay before or at the time of their union? Of the 15 respondents in the Lee study, “four had indicated that their spouses already had prior knowledge of their sexual identity and preferences because of their effeminate nature.”
It was revealed that “it was not only their partners who were aware of their homosexuality, but also their children, their own or their partner’s parents, and relatives.”
In comparison, seven other respondents said that their partners had an awareness of their homosexuality only after they lived together. The female partners found out about this indirectly due to persistent rumors, lack of sexual interest, physical mannerisms, the respondent’s open admiration of other men while their partners were around, and other men visiting at home.”
One respondent narrated: “My wife allows me because she can handle my having sexual relations with a man than with another woman. She allows me to go out, but of course, there are limits. Like the family comes first before anything else.”
Another respondent revealed: “Even if you’re gay or anything, as long as you earn, then you can do your role well as a husband and as a father.”
However, a couple’s relationship is perceived to suffer greatly as a result of the man’s sexual preference. One interviewee revealed that it was difficult for him to sustain his sexual attraction to his wife so that at times, he had to imagine himself having sex with a man.
On the average, respondents would have between one and five different male partners every month with whom they perform a variety of sexual acts.
As one respondent bared: ” On some occasions, I go home late because of my homosexual affair. I tell my family that I have to work overtime in the office. On Sundays, instead of spending time with my family, I go out and cruise for sexual partners. I feel that I cannot control myself and I am afraid that once my wife finds out, she would be unable to forgive me.”
“The fact that many men would exert considerable efforts in concealing their homsexual identity is understandable. One reason is that men are not likely to leave their fine home and the warm and loving atmosphere they have created for their wife and their children, especially in a setting where their homsexuality does not clash with their roles as economic and emotional providers, particularly to their children,” Dr. Lee said.
“Most probably, because of their need to preserve the status quo, some men pursued regular sexual relations with their wives to establish some semblance of things being all right and normal. Some experts call the set-up a double standard union,” he added.
“While it is not discounted that some men in this union are able to fulfill and derive satisfaction from their double-standard roles, there is some doubt about whether others will be able to keep and sustain a physically and psychologically healthy balance between the demands of their heterosexual and homsexual relations. How far can these men go on with their double-standard life is one key question for substantive research,” Dr. Lee concluded.