Philippine Memories of a Gay Adventist

Last summer I met some lesbian, gay and bisexual at the Kinship 7th Day Adventist gathering in Orlando, Fl. I felt so moved by their stories.

My Aunt Rolla is from the Philippines and we have discussed LGBT issues in that country. Yesterday I read the following and felt struck but the vulnerability and honesty in it.

Bakla, Bading, Bayot, Binabae–those were the names I was called when I was growing up in Manila. I wish the Filipino language had an affirmative label equivalent to “gay.” Instead, I was teased with the hurtful words–faggot, sissy. Even before I entered elementary school, I remember my aunt telling me not to walk like a girl. I was always teased in Sabbath School because my buttocks would sway even when I was running, and my wrist was limp.


I have been attracted to the same gender for almost twenty-five years now. I am not sexually addicted to the same sex. All I want is to be treated normally, like the straight people are treated. I cannot help not having feelings for women. I always fall in love with men. Do I have this feeling because I was labeled “bakla”?


I spent the whole summer reading books on homosexuality and men studies. I studied about ex-gay ministries, what the Bible says about homosexuality, and about verbal harassment. I cried to God, “Why have you made me suffer all these years?” I don’t deserve to be discriminated against. I am happy and at peace with myself when I am with a man.

I’ve learned that in Hebrew, there are different terms for homosexuality and that the term in the Bible is for someone–a straight man–who lusts for sex, for doing “it” with another man just to fulfill his libido. I am not that way.
-Pag Mamahal

Read more of Philippine Memories. Other stories of LGBT Adventists can be found here.
Also, check out the amazing queer Filipino performance artist, Rich Kiamco who in his show, Unaccesorized, explores growing up gay and Filipino in the USA.

Leave a Comment