The honorable former associate justice of the Supreme Court, the great old man who personified justice, equality and liberty just wrote another scathing condemnation of gay people. Isagani Cruz of the Inquirer has once again proven that yes, in this country, bigotry and intolerance exist even among those who are supposed to be a higher intelligence.

The wise man says:

HOMOSEXUALS before were mocked and derided, but now they are regarded with new-found respect and, in many cases, even treated as celebrities. Only recently, the more impressionable among our people wildly welcomed a group of entertainers whose main proud advertisement was that they were “queer.” It seems that the present society has developed a new sense of values that have rejected our religious people’s traditional ideas of propriety and morality on the pretext of being “modern” and “broad-minded.”

Mr. Cruz begins by asserting that the mockery and derision of gay people have ended. I don't know what kind of world he lives in; it must be some imaginary parallel universe that is completely detached and isolated from reality because last I looked, gay people are still being discriminated against and reduced to caricatures. And of course, the rest of his column negates his first sentence since he ends up mocking and deriding gay people anyway.

He insults all those who flocked to the malls to watch the stars of the hit television show Queer Eye for The Straight Guy by calling them "impressionable." I know a lot of people who watch that TV show who are sensible, intelligent, mature people; I personally watch that show whenever I can (which admittedly is rare). I don't think we are dumb driven cattle who admire celebrities just because they are popular. But as far as the honorable former justice is concerned, people who are able to see beyond their own prejudices and bigotry are simply impressionable, easily led by the nose and cannot think for themselves. What a great wise man Mr. Cruz truly is.

He thinks that those guys only selling point is that they are queer. This man must have such a truly discerning eye because he can't see beyond the fact that they are "queer." Forget the fact that they are expert interior designers, or chefs, or fashion gurus, or that many gay men are famous engineers or lawyers or doctors. As far as this great man is concerned, gay men are simply queers, period.

He continues:

The observations I will here make against homosexuals in general do not include the members of their group who have conducted themselves decorously, with proper regard not only for their own persons but also for the gay population in general. A number of our local couturiers, to take but one example, are less than manly but they have behaved in a reserved and discreet manner unlike the vulgar members of the gay community who have degraded and scandalized it. I offer abject apologies to those blameless people I may unintentionally include in my not inclusive criticisms. They have my admiration and respect.

Mr. Cruz submits the very insightful definition of what "decorous" behavior means: being reserved and discreet. In other words, behaving according to some code of conduct that meets his personal standards. He offers an apology to members of the gay community that are "less than manly" but who behave according to his idea of how gay people should behave. What a very reasonable and charitable guy, so unlike Adolf Hitler who condemned all gay men as unworthy.

He offers yet another scholarly and erudite observation:

The change in the popular attitude toward homosexuals is not particular to the Philippines. It has become an international trend even in the so-called sophisticated regions with more liberal concepts than in our comparatively conservative society. Gay marriages have been legally recognized in a number of European countries and in some parts of the United States. Queer people -- that’s the sarcastic term for them -- have come out of the closet where before they carefully concealed their condition. The permissive belief now is that homosexuals belong to a separate third sex with equal rights as male and female persons instead of just an illicit in-between gender that is neither here nor there.

To prove his advanced state of enlightenment, he says that the term "queer" is a sarcastic term. The fact that the term has actually become an empowering battlecry for gay people - as in, "yes, you call us queer - but so what? We can turn that negative identification to something we can be proud of because no matter the derogatory slogans and epithets you throw at us these will not reduce our worth in society" is puny in his more knowledgeable slight of hand. He throws in words like "permissive," "third sex," "illicit" to boost his compassionate arguments. What do you mean many gay people do not necessarily think of themselves as the third sex but merely think of themselves as men and women with just a different sexual orientation? how dare you question the wisdom of such a learned man.

Mr. Cruz fortifies his powerful arguments by citing irrefutable arguments borne out of his all-encompassing and universally applicable experience:

When I was studying in the Legarda Elementary School in Manila during the last 1930s, the big student population had only one, just one, homosexual. His name was Jose but we all called him Josefa. He was a quiet and friendly boy whom everybody liked to josh but not offensively. In the whole district of Sampaloc where I lived, there was only one homosexual who roamed the streets peddling “kalamay” and “puto” and other treats for snacks. He provided diversion to his genial customers and did not mind their familiar amiable teasing. I think he actually enjoyed being a “binabae” [effeminate].

He says calling his childhood homosexual Jose "Josefa" was not offensive. But of course. Such a learned and compassionate man does not have a cruel, mean streak in his body. His discerning eye for detecting who is homosexual and who is not is beyond reproach.

And he continues:

The change came, I think, when an association of homos dirtied the beautiful tradition of the Santa Cruz de Mayo by parading their kind as the “sagalas” instead of the comely young maidens who should have been chosen to grace the procession. Instead of being outraged by the blasphemy, the watchers were amused and, I suppose, indirectly encouraged the fairies to project themselves. It must have been then that they realized that they were what they were, whether they liked it or not, and that the time for hiding their condition was over.

What a truly admirable man! He uses words like "dirtied" (you homosexuals represent the grime, the muck, the dregs of society), "blasphemy" (see, only heterosexual men and women regardless of their character have the right to participate in religious traditions; Mr. Cruz is such an omnipresent person, he can fathom what is in every man's heart), "condition" (it's a condition! It is a sickness. It can be cleansed!)

But let us not go on to appreciate the wonderful and truly enlightening observations of this broadminded and learned man:

Now homosexuals are everywhere, coming at first in timorous and eventually alarming and audacious number. Beauty salons now are served mostly by gay attendants including effeminate bearded hairdressers to whom male barbers have lost many of their macho customers. Local shows have their share of “siyoke” [gay men], including actors like the one rejected by a beautiful wife in favor of a more masculine if less handsome partner. And, of course, there are lady-like directors who are probably the reason why every movie and TV drama must have the off-color “bading” [gay] or two to cheapen the proceedings.

And the schools are now fertile ground for the gay invasion. Walking along the University belt one day, I passed by a group of boys chattering among themselves, with one of them exclaiming seriously, “Aalis na ako. Magpapasuso pa ako!” [“I’m leaving. I still have to breastfeed!”] That pansy would have been mauled in the school where my five sons (all machos) studied during the ’70s when all the students were certifiably masculine. Now many of its pupils are gay, and I don’t mean happy. I suppose they have been influenced by such shows as “Brokeback Mountain,” our own “Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros” (both of which won awards), “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” and that talk program of Ellen Degeneres, an admitted lesbian.

What the heck, let's stop this sarcasm and attempts at irony and just call a spade by its real name - a dirty shovel. Mr. Cruz is ignorant, stupid, bigoted, and yes, cruel. I am surprised that he has not laid the blame for the cheating in the last elections, the death of Ninoy Aquino, the mass killings of journalists, the economic crisis, and the war at Lebanon on gay people. As far as this senile old man is concerned, all gay men are weak sissies. Like the stereotypical macho father who beats gay children for being born that way, he is proud of his sons because they are all macho. Huh! I am sure a lot of gay men can beat his sons senseless anytime. If I were his son (and boy, am I glad I am not) I would take it as an affront that the only seeming measure of their worth as far as their old man is concerned is their being masculine.

Is our population getting to be predominantly pansy? Must we allow homosexuality to march unobstructed until we are converted into a nation of sexless persons without the virility of males and the grace of females but only an insipid mix of these diluted virtues? Let us be warned against the gay population, which is per se a compromise between the strong and the weak and therefore only somewhat and not the absolute of either of the two qualities. Be alert lest the Philippine flag be made of delicate lace and adorned with embroidered frills.

Let's cut through this crap and just read his statements for what they really mean: he thinks gay people are the scourge of this world, that gay people have no right to exist because they dilute the purity of the race. He thinks the Philippines is better off without gay people.

I can only say, Heil Hitler! Shame!


vic said…
I read that piece by Isagani Cruz, and I asked myself; is it still an issue over there? We have tackled this issue long time ago and now even our court just keep returning decisions telling the Parliament that the law of marriage between a man and a woman only is no longer constittutional under the EQUALITY RIGHTS PROVISION of our charter of Rights and Freedom. That decision simply legalize same-sex marriages with all the benefits and privileges of traditional "marriage" and effectively eliminate discriminations against homosexual under the penalty of all applicable laws.

I believe what we have here, even the writer here, as you mentioned a Suppreme Court Justice(retired) has not matured yet as to appreciate the meaning of Equality.

You mix prejudice, bigotry and racism, you have the worst form of Discrimination.
Anonymous said…
Mr. Cruz‘s hateful screed about gay people (“Don We Now Our Gay Apparel,” August 12, 2006) reminds me of the things my own father would say when I was a teenager. Cruz seems to long for the good old days when he writes “[t]hat pansy would have been mauled in the school where my five sons (all machos) studied during the ’70s .” My father would also speak approvingly of violence against gays assuming that, because I was “macho,” I couldn’t be gay. He was wrong. And there‘s nothing quite like being a kid and feeling such hatred from your own flesh and blood. Sure, all five of Cruz’s sons may in fact be straight, but certainly there is some closeted gay person in Cruz’s life or family who is incredibly hurt by his hatefulness. When I took care of my father as he died, he had long since accepted my gayness and I had long since forgiven him. Perhaps Cruz should take comfort in knowing that gay people are quite forgiving - we have to be - we’ve all got people like him in the family.

Kevin Cronin
San Francisco, California
Anonymous said…
Hi Bong!
Saw that column, too, One of those I'd kinda ignore because I don't want to be cruel to an old man, just like I wouldn't be to anyone much older. Respeto kung baga, kaya lang yun ang wala sa kanya, ang respeto sa iba. He was derogatory and yes, very cruel. One would think that when you are at the sunset of your life, you would tend to just find pleasantness in your surroundings and be tolerant of others, because, after all, we are all the same in the eyes of Somebody up there, and that when finally we go, we are at peace with everyone. Hahaha I'm naive ba? Anyway, this honorable judge must be spending the rest of his life picking a fight with anyone when he should just be sitting there amused at the world. And maybe donating 10B pesos to (private?) education.
Let's just call it a humongous generation divide and hope no one takes him seriously. For his sake though, he should limit his forays outside his house, daming "syoke" dyan, hala!
Seriously though. Bong, I agree with you. He's a bigot. Tsk tsk tsk.
snglguy said…
Shame on him. And to think I've always admired the man for his integrity...
Anonymous said…
i thought that you advocate freedom o0f speech? the side that you've taken proves you really don't.
doronoon said…
the right to free speech pertains to statements that you agree with as well as those you don't agree with. why would you call isagani cruz a bigot? i remember the article you wrote that made you famous. you defended your freedom of speech to high heavens at that time. yet now you call someone exercising the same privilege a bigot? you are operating on a double standard of morality mr. austero.
Anonymous said…
A man named Vinny dies and goes to hell.

The Devil says to him "Hey Vinny we've been waitin for ya!".

Vinny smiles and walks with the Devil and the Devil says "I gotta ask you a couple questions, do you like to smoke?" Vinny answers "Ya, I love to smoke." The Devil says "Good you'll like Mondays we smoke everything cigarettes, cigars, weed everything."

"Now do you like to drink?" Then Vinny says "Of course I love to drink." The Devil replies "Vodka, rum, lambanog... we drink everything on Tuesdays you will fit in great."

"Do you like to have sex?" Vinny says "Hell ya sex is the best." The Devil smiles and replies "Wednesdays is great -- we have sex with every type of woman you could think of on Wednesdays."

And the Devil finally says "Now, are you gay?" Vinny frowns and answers "NO WAY, MAN!! I'm not gay!" And the Devil looks down and finishes "Uh, oh... You gonna hate Thursdays... and Fridays... and Saturdays..."
Anonymous said…
A potential political career bites the dust before it even sees light or day as the Isagani Cruz "Don We Now" piece has resulted in the outing of Q3.
BongA said…



One of my best friends who happens to be gay grew up in an environment where most of his family members made fun of his gender - even prophesized that he would be up to no good. Today, he provides for the whole family. This is actually a common story in the Philippines.

Mommy Jo,
I am actually looking forward to his reaction to the furor he has created. It would be interesting to find out what kind of twisted justification he would come up with.

I used to like him too. When I was in College I actually admired him for a specific decision he penned where he chided lawyers for writing in gobbledygook.

Anonymous and doronoon,
Cruz and I both exercised our freedom of speech - his right to display his hatred of gay people and my right to put him to task for it. I called him a bigot because he is one! He is welcome to call me anything. And if you noticed, I allow people, including you, to bash me in my own blog. If I were indulging in double standard as you allege, your comments will not see print here at all.

so gay men go to hell? hmmm...

I don't agree that MLQ's admission of his sexual orientation necessarily lessens the quality of his opinions, or the value of his ideas, or of his worth as a person.

Bong Austero
BongA said…
August 21, 2006

I just came from a three-day sojourn to the South where I made it a point not to read newspapers or blogs. I just did so and realized that Justice Isagani Cruz has responded to MLQ's column and that MLQ has already, consequently, responded to the response (I know, this is awful sentence construction, but cut me some slack, am still on vacation mode).

My comments on both rejoinders on Wednesday.

Bong A
Anonymous said…
your comment to mommy jo was:

"am actually looking forward to his reaction to the furor he has created. It would be interesting to find out what kind of twisted justification he would come up with."

twisted justification? twisted? are you trying to be punny mr. austero?
almabien said…
Justice Cruz's bigotry is a big blot on his judicial career. Now, if I was counsel for someone gay whose conviction was upheld by the Supreme Court I would be surely interested in finding out if the esteemed ex-Justice was party to any affirmative vote. I could use his bigotry against him and bring action for a reversal.
Anonymous said…
i remember when that "infamous" article of yours got circulated in the internet, many people, yourself included, defended it by saying that you are only exercising the right to express your opinion.

now, you even wrote an article and had it published condemning a man for expressing his own opinion. actually, you even attack the man as a person.

i call you out, mr. austero. it is you and others who are the bigot. you may or may not choose to have my comment show in your blog. either way, i still call you a bigot.
Anonymous said…
cmon mr. "anonymous" aka DOOFUS! Still can't get the distinction, can you? With all the violence directed against gays simply because they're gay, the "esteemed" Mr. Isagani Cruz's "opinion" can actually get a gay person killed!

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