the gapanese invasion is nigh!

"pinakamaganda ka nga sa buong kapuluan, pero latina na naman ang magwawagi ng korona at sash sa miss world! racism ba ito? lupasay!"

Sunday, March 18, 2007

queering the dancefloor: same-sex social dancing in malate bars

Social dancing is an activity that was once officially restricted for same-sex couples in several countries but now a staple of gay and lesbian social life. Corollary to a public display of affection, same-sex social dancing was long termed by queer theorists as a site of contention, behavior deemed shocking even in supposedly tolerant places that it was illegal. In the local front, it is in Malate, that district of the City of Manila long considered a gay mecca which comes closest in the manifestation of this queer behavior, and is the subject of this study.
With the onslaught of Western gay ideology in urban settings amongst the Third World, it is interesting to note that a country such as the Philippines, with its own brand of gay ideology in the form of the bakla (a biological man with a woman’s heart trapped inside him), should embrace an imported ideology, as may be gleaned in the popularity of metrosexual adaptations by the local gays: generally discreet, spiked hair, fitted jeans, body-hugging shirts with top button gone loose and sleeves rolled midway up. Whereas the effeminate babaylan danced to intercede for the pre-colonial community and the spirits beyond the physical dimension, the contemporary urban gays dance in bars to celebrate the highness of their spirit.
Same-sex partner dancing is mainly a taboo in most social dance instances in the West, even as it is less stigmatizing for two women to dance together than it is for two men, provided the gestures are not romantic or overly friendly. Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders composing the LGBT community and who are into social partner dancing have established social partner dance clubs and organizations, especially in major cities in the United States, Canada and Europe. Such organizations do not exist in the Philippines, although clubs such as Bed in Malate, Manila and Government in Makati City are samples of clubs wherein social partner dancing is the name of the game.
A gay bar, to which category Bed and Government practically fall, is a drinking place catering primarily to gay and/or lesbian clients. Its name can come in various forms: gay club, gay pub, queer bar, lesbian bar, dyke bar, or boy bar. In the Philippine context, though, a gay bar describes a gay-catering establishment wherein go-go boys dance erotically to entertain clients. With the changing circumstances in Manila, however, dance bars, disco bars, blue bars, among other names, are gay bars all the same.
Gay bars come in all shapes and sizes, from the small five-seater bars in Tokyo to the imposing, multi-story super-clubs with various distinct areas and usually more than one dance floor. Big venues may be called nightclubs, clubs or bars whereas tinier ones may be referred to as bars or pubs. The only defining trait of a gay bar is the set of clients it caters to. Many gay bars target gay and lesbian communities ever since their establishment, but older and more grounded gay bars were originally not but have come to be over time.
The serving of alcoholic beverages is the main focus of most gay bars and pubs. Much like non-gay establishments, they are convergence places and community meeting points, wherein conversation and relaxation are among the purposes of the clientele.
Music either live or, more frequently, mixed by a DJ or DJs, is often a striking feature of other gay bars. Music in gay bars, as in other bars, runs in style from jazz and blues to disco, pop, drum and bass, punk, house, trance, and techno. In bars which have music and dancing as their main focus, lighting design and video projection, fog machines and raised dancing platforms may be featured, as they do in non-gay bars and clubs which also center on music and dance. Hired dancers (called go-go boys or go-go girls) may also be present in decorative "cages" or on podiums, such as in one bar we visited in the Orosa-Nakpil Streets. In the 1980's and early 90's, a specific genre of music known as hi-nrg or eurobeat basked in popularity in the gay bars and clubs, and was quite distinguishable from the music being played by DJs in the mainstream or straight clubs at the same time. There are still a couple of clubs in London which further characterize themselves as gay clubs by the music they play—the Royal Vauxhall Tavern in Vauxhall would be one example, Bromptons in Earls Court would be another. Record labels which have good examples of these genres are Almighty Records (Andy "Almighty" Wetson), Loading Bay Records (the late Duncan Finlayson), Klone Records, and Ian Levine's Record Shack label. In recent times, however, gay-identified songs are an ubiquity in offshore clubs as well as those in Manila. It is not uncommon for bars along Orosa Street to blare with house music, especially at the height of Bonnie Bailey’s “Ever After,” or with disco music such as those by Madonna or Cher. Gay bars and their clientele are sometimes non-selective as to which restroom—men's or women's—they use, although this may be illegal in some areas; unisex toilets are common in gay bars, as may be seen in some Malate bars.
Some gay bars and clubs likewise have "backrooms," which are dimly lit or curtained rooms in which same-sex sexual activity occurs, though this feature, once rampant according to gay sources, is now growing unusual. Nonetheless, a small number of gay bars and clubs still exist which are primarily sex clubs in nature. These are establishments where sex on the premises is tolerated, and is the main attraction to the clientele. These bars and clubs may serve alcohol and have dance floors, but the main interest is in sex. From what information were gathered, there are two such bars still existing in Malate, since their predecessors—about three of them—had been raided by the police and closed shop in effect.
Gay bars and nightclubs are sometimes separated by sex. In some establishments, people who are thought to be of the "wrong" sex (for instance, a man trying to enter a women's club) may be not welcome or even barred from entry. This may be more usual in specialty bars, such as gay male leather fetish bars, or bars or clubs which have a strict dress code. It is also common in bars and clubs where sex on the premises is a primary focus of the establishment. Specialty bars are a rarity in Malate since many bars hold specialty nights for women only or for men only or for thirty-something only, to go for variety.
In the past, lesbian-only bars were comparatively seldom and tended to be concentrated in major urban areas in the West. However, of late, they are experiencing something of a surge in popularity. The only lesbian bar which used to sit in the corner of Nakpil-Orosa had closed shop since; it is now occupied by a gay bar on the ground floor and a gay shop on the second floor. Bars and clubs which cater to a predominantly male clientele are more common.
Some gay bars try to limit entry only to gays or lesbians, but in practice, this is hard to enforce. Gay bars often welcome transgender and cross-dressed people, and drag shows are a common fanfare in many gay bars unlike in straight-only bars like Aruba in Tomas Morato, Quezon City, wherein a gay impersonator created a media-covered fuss after having been denied entry for the sole reason that he was in drag. Like other clubs, gay clubs are often advertised by distributing eye-catching flyers on the street, in gay or gay-friendly shops and venues, and at other clubs and events. These flyers frequently feature provocative images. Samples of those gathered in the Malate visit included a flyer with a male torso from the hipbone up, and another with two gorgeous men about to give each other a kiss.
Stonewall Inn, found in Greenwich Village, New York City is the location of the Stonewall Riots of 1969, touted to be a highlight of the modern gay rights movement in America. Prior to then, it was illegal in New York for a place serving alcoholic beverages to allow homosexuals to gather. The place could lose its liquor license as an effect. However, gay bars would often be tolerated--with strategic bribes given to the police. It was learned that while liquors are not banned within gay bars in Malate, bribes are still rationed for the police especially for bars which became notorious for usually intoxicated clients who perform casual sex or other scandalous acts inside.
In spite of prohibitions, same-sex dancing at drag balls, in the dark backrooms of bars, and at private parties proliferated long before Stonewall and the flourishing in the 1970s of public gay and lesbian dance parties and discos. After Stonewall, however, many lesbians and gay men started to see social dancing not simply as a pastime but also as a potent means of building a consciousness of communal gay and lesbian identity. In Chicago, for instance, the gay liberation movement was launched with a series of dances for lesbians and gay men in 1970. Later that year, a radicalesbians publication cited the first all-women’s gay liberation front dances in New York City as pivotal events in the development of lesbian feminism. At the home front, annual White Parties in Nakpil-Orosa and occasional CircuitAsia-sponsored dance events gave the alternative genders a sense of community but largely Westernized gay identity.
The fact that disco originated in black gay clubs did not deter white entrepreneurs from implementing racist door policies at many gay clubs. Music historian Tony Cummings marks 1972 as the first year black and white gay men mixed on the dance floor, but even during that time, integrated dance clubs stayed that exception. As a result, many African-American and Latinos patronized alternative discos like Paradise Garage in New York City and the Warehouse in Chicago. The Warehouse opened in Chicago in 1977 as an after-hours dance club gathering as many as 5,000 mostly black gay and lesbian patrons between midnight Saturday and the following Sunday afternoon. Soon after its opening, DJ Frankie Knuckles invented “house” music by mixing records to stress complex percussive cross-rhythms and accelerating the mix to at least 120 beats per minute. From Chicago, house spread to other clubs, gay and straight, in Europe as well as in the U.S., evolving the Detroit into “techno-house” and inspiring massive dance gatherings in London that came to be called “raves.” The popularity of these new forms of dance music had the added effect of making DJs like Knuckles, Junior Vasquez, and Susan Morabito—all openly gay or lesbian—stars in their own right, with international followings among both queer and straight clubgoers. Popular house music of today, many of which still reign the gay bar airwaves, include mixes by DJ Tiesto and songs by Chicane.
Discotheque originated in Western Europe in the early 1960s as a reference for small dance club that featured recorded music in lieu of a dance band, but disco as a musical genre was an African-American creation refined and popularized by disc jockeys (DJs) at underground clubs for black gay men in the late 1960s. Disco began to move over to predominantly white male clubs as early as 1969, when Ted Drach and Tiger Curtis transformed the Cherry Grove Sea Shack into the mold of the 1970s disco: a DJ booth, lighting coordinated to the music, and speakers blasting nonstop, wall-to-wall sound. The format had become usual enough by 1973 for Billboard magazine to note it as a fresh trend in dance music. Soon, it was so dominant in the gay male subculture that The Advocate proclaimed 1975 “The Year of Disco.” Dance clubs became the social and cultural centers of gay male life, and dancing the cement that held the gay male community together. In The Joy of Gay Sex (1977), Edmund White and Dr. Charles Silverstein praised “big, spacious, luxurious disco as proof…of the emergence from their closets.” The biggest problem facing gay discos. they said, was “how to keep straights from moving in and elbowing out the original gay clientele.”
AIDS signaled the end of disco as the most evident symbol of gay male community. As thousands of men fell ill and died, club attendance decreased, and many discos closed their doors. Simultaneously, some clubs started making their facilities available for special AIDS benefits patterned after the theme parties that had become popular at discos in the late 1970s and early 1980s. From these special events, characteristic of which was the New York City “Black Party” held yearly the weekend before the spring solstice, grew the presently global “Circuit”. Since the late1980s, the Circuit has widened to encompass several dozen major parties lasting as long as 18 hours and attracting enough participants to transform a whole city into “an instant gay ghetto full of hot men who are behaving as queer as they care to be.” Although the Circuit now includes parties in Canada, Europe, Australia, Asia as well as throughout the U.S., it is everywhere a distinctly homogeneous, mostly male, overwhelmingly white phenomenon. Since its enfranchisement in 2005, CircuitAsia has had successful parties beginning with the Aaahh…Manila! White Party up to the recent Salvation Gold Disco in October last year.
Most gay and lesbian historian perceive women’s music festivals as the lesbian equivalent in the 1970s of the male-dominated Disco Era. But in the 1990s, lesbians increasingly emerged as the trendsetters in gay and lesbian social dancing, thanks to the popularity of “grrrl” bands as much as to the flourishing of innovative, fast-changing clubs like San Francisco’s G-Spot and Muffdive, Houston’s The Ranch, and New York City’s Clit Club and Menow Mix, all offering attractions (apart from dancing) as provocatively varied as the club patrons themselves. Apart from exclusive women’s night out being held occasionally in select bars, no Malate bar at present caters solely to lesbians.
Bars are centers of gay and lesbian social life in much of the entire world. Some of lesbian and gay guide books approximate that there may be as many as 10,000 gay and lesbian bars the world over. Bars range widely from multilevel complexes in Chicago to intimate nightspots in Tokyo that seat fewer than five customers.
Even though a few activities maligned the gay and lesbian bar scene as early as the founding of the Daughters of Bilitis in the mid-1950s, bars have in many places been the only signs of a community. Currently, especially in rural area and smaller towns, bars continue to serve this purpose often attracting customers from a wide coverage. In larger cities, gay and lesbian bars tend to be fairly specialized according to age, race, taste in music, and sexual interests, so communities that develop there are more focused.
Even as documentation survives of taverns visited by “sodomites” in Italy in the Middle Ages, probably the first modern gay bars were the ‘molly houses” of 18th-century England. They were also among the first sites of resistance against law implementation. By the commencement of the 20th century, most big cities had at least one bar or café known for its gay and increasingly in places like Paris and Berlin, lesbian clients.
Gay and lesbian bars resurfaced in the United States after Prohibition but were increasingly picked during police raids which combined with Laws in many states that forbade the serving of liquor to “sexual deviants” led to most bars being operated under the sponsorship to organized crime. Perhaps the most famous example of such a bar is the Stonewall Inn.
The 1970s marked the height of gay male bars in the United States. After AIDS, both drinking and attendance fell off, and today large American cities largely have fewer bars catering to gay men than in the past. Lesbian bars and nightclubs, on the other side, after a period of dwindling popularity – bar owner and activist commented in 1991. “By and large, women are no longer going to bars that represent lesbians. They’re just going where they want to go” – made a return in the 1990s and became chic even for straight-identified clients.
To consummate this ethnographic fieldwork, three methods of collecting data were used: participation observation, interview and survey. The human condition may be studied using the three ethnological tools in order to bring about the cultural diversity of urban gay social dancers from the rest of the society. The three methods can provide records of everyday behavior of the specimen population with their direct answers as well as the implication of the same. Their personal background may also provide a glimpse of who the gays are as an ethnological subculture.
Participation observation will be carried out in the most discreet manner possible, since the very subjects are discreet people too, meaning they are not loud and faggoty in terms of their action. The researchers will act like they have been accustomed to going in Malate so once the next method, interview, is conducted, the subjects will not act up.
The interview will be done in a matter-of-factly mode. Each interview with the respondent will be quick, just so the paper will get the core insight of gays about their lifestyle. The use of memory is all that may be relied on, for the noise of the bar music and the dimness of the area will deter the researchers from audio- or video-recording the interview or write down the reply to the interview questions.
Finally, the survey will be done in an fast-track mode so that the present state of mind of the gays will be able to communicate the initial insights that will descend on them once the options are given.
One weekend night early this year, the researchers braved parental curfews and on the pretext of attending a classmate’s birthday party, surveyed the same-sex social dancing bars in the heart of Malate. The intersection of Maria Orosa St. and Julio Nakpil St. is the center of gay Manila. The entire street is open with several gay establishments. From that X spot, it will take a five-minute walk going to Adriatico St., where The Library and Fab are. Metro Manila is littered with gay establishments, but are sparsely located. In Malate however, bars are within a stone’s throw from each other.
Manila's gay community that began to bloom in the late 1980s found a welcoming niche in the Malate district with bars such as the Blue Room, Mister Piggy's and Zoo. Gay impersonators, entertainers, dancers and icons of the fashion industry swayed their hips at the CopaCabana along Adriatico street and for those wanting to see sexy male dancers, one could go to Adam's Apple. Then came The Library, Bargo, Mint and Bassilica—all gay establishments. Dance bars where same-sex social dancing are a penny’s worth, pun intended, in present-day Malate, with a riotous mushrooming of gay clubs in the area.
The first stopover made was in the strip called Orosa/Nakpil Courtyard, where Bed, Rainbow Project, New York Café and Komiks may be found. According to our guide who frequents Malate, getting to Bed from neighboring Makati by taxi is cheap, costing a mere P100+. It serves its bar purpose of being a place for drinking and dancing, which becomes fever-pitch during weekends. Inside the bar is a sexy and wild atmosphere with stylish interiors. It has two floors, each with its own bars and DJs spinning nonstop house and trance. The staff members here are congenial and attentive. Each entry includes one drink; all drinks are priced moderately. The crowd is an amalgam of hip professionals, expatriates, and tourists.
As we toured Bed, our guide pointed out a comparison between this bar and another gay club of prominent stature, Government in Makati Avenue, Makati City. Labeled as new, hip, and big, it rivals Bed in being the gayest place to be in Manila, with its testosterone and sexually-heated house music, fashionable interior, a richly-textured chill-out lounge and laser and lighting effects on the dance floor. Just like in Bed, Government holds special events and theme parties with guest DJs. Because of the sterling qualities of both Bed and Government, it is decided that the two bars should be the subjects of a survey on which gay club is more favored for one reason or another.
The Rainbow Project is also found in the Courtyard. It is located beside Bed. Like Bed, The Rainbow Project has two floors. At the ground floor is an outdoor, al fresco area, very much in the Courtyard proper. Small square tables are distributed all around, about 10 cramping a small space. Each table may be occupied by 4 to 5 people; a group numbering more members than that has to piece together 2 or more tables. The Rainbow Project does not have a door; so still in the ground floor, after passing the outdoor area, one may just step into the indoor area. It has mood lighting and all, with upholstered seats and fixed tables. The Rainbow Project’s second floor is the place where a DJ spins dance music; it is a large, dark area with slightly elevated platform for dancing, and a lounge area. The second floor is also the location of the establishment’s restroom.
O at the corner of Nakpil-Orosa is a single-story dance club. Getting inside, one will find the bar area to the left, while ledgers on which half-naked go-go boys dance provocatively may be found to the right and straight ahead. To the northeast is the restroom, while the rest of the interior serves as the dance floor to mostly guppie (gay urban professional) patrons. Like in Bed, the drinks are moderately priced, but unlike it, O lacks space on which gay partners may dance to the tune of catchy house music.
In the course of the stay on different gay bars, the researchers engaged on an informal interview with some of the gay patrons. Disguised as no more than ordinary partyphiles, the researchers charmed their way to the interview by virtue of tagging along good-looking gay pretenders, just to be sure.
“It is at once exciting and exhilarating, flamboyant and vivacious, diverse and accepting,” claims one magazine writer of Bed. He added that whenever writeup deadlines get finished, he would unwind in Bed, and that has been ongoing since last year.
"I just visited Manila and tried out Malate. I went to Fab and Bed. I got bored in Fab maybe because it was just a Friday night. Then I went to BED; it was overhyped, but the guys were cute. I like the aquarium-divided urinals, and could see BIG BIG fishes, hahaha. The guys were also good flirts, sexy, and good conversationalists. They also know what is NO and what is YES," said a Finnish national who has been on the country in his capacity as the Asia-Pacific correspondent of a local newspaper in Helsinki. He comes to Malate bi-weekly.
“The Rainbow Project is gay-owned and operated, I heard, by the same owners as Bed so since I want my pink peso to go to pink hands, why not in this place? Best time to dance here is from midnight to 2:00 AM — lots of cuties!” praises John, a call center guy who visits Malate on his night off, Tuesday.
“The N/O Courtyard is host to Sonata, Komiks and New York Cafe. These three have outdoor seating and caters to a mixed crowd on weekends. These are the places to sit, see and be seen. Prices are half that of the other establishments since they are restaurants as well as drinking places," informs an insider from one of the three mentioned bars. The guy gets busy after midnight, when customers start trickling in.
"I agree that Bed is a darn good gay disco and like most discos around the world, few people arrive before midnight. It is usually crowded on Friday and Saturday nights," commented Yulo, a supervisor in a foreign airline. He is a regular in Malate during weekend nights, when he takes his time off work.
"I just like to say BED club has some of the best DJ mixed music I've heard. Just never put your drink down or it's gonna disappear in a flash," laughs Donita, a self-confessed transsexual who enjoys herself on the nights before she leaves for Japan, where she works as cultural entertainer.
“When I paid five dollars to get into BED, I was immediately struck by the club's musky heat. I never made it to the bar in the back because the club was too crowded. Sweaty men were standing so close together that no one could move their arms to dance,” noticed Soriano, a Fil-Am balikbayan who marvels at the tolerant gay scene in the mother country that’s so much better, he claims, than in the U.S.
“Government or Bed?” That was the laconic set of options the researchers asked of the gay people they came across with along Nakpil and Orosa. Nonetheless, most of the respondents were gracious enough to add the reason for their choice. Because of the fleeting time at which the ambush question was addressed, the researchers would give but brief descriptions about the persons who answered. Translations of vernacular words into English supplied.
“Bed is more strict [with] X...”—Boyet, a natural high advocate
“GOVERNMENT for the music…BED for the place,”—Andy, an admitted partyphile.
“BED...I love the go-go dancers...”—Mark, a rave goer
“BED - clean fun…”—Dennis, an anti-party pill guppie
“BED is great...[especially the] go go boys!”—Asiano, Bed addict
“I love Bed’s dance floor…”—Danny, a dance enthusiast who, right after responding, takes off his shirt, runs in the platform and gyrates a la go go boy
“Government…I like the music....[the place is small, though but if only for the little space at which to fondle and flirt with each other,] it’s okay!”—Migz, a graduating student
“I think Bed is a wackier and wilder place to get sexy,”—Roman, a law graduate
“Hahaha…[I would rather choose] Government....[because the owner] Mama Henri is super nice,”—Sam, a friend of the owner of Government
“BED [still]... [I love the owner] TATA KURON!”—Topher, a friend of the owner of Bed
“Mamu [Henri] is good.... so I choose Government!”—Candyboy, who hails from Makati where Government is located
“[It is fun in] Bed but Mamu [Henri is my big brother so] Government,”—Joni, a nursing sophomore
“Hmmm...Government...Mamu [Henri] is very kind to me...”—Angelo, a boyish-looking teacher
“I visited both places...this might surprise many but I kinda find Government friendlier and cruisier than Bed,“—Patrick, who was rushing out of Bed to catch the weekend event in Government
“I have been to Government. I did not enjoy my stay there, [I saw lots of familiar people, even the ones I have had sex with]!”—Ian, a stand-up comedian
“I have never been in Bed, [because I might see my ex-boyfriend and friends] who visit both places... BED or Government? For me it’s BED [since] it caters to a large volume of people not unlike in Government, [I thought] crowded [but it turned out to be a] small place, hehehe. In BED, there are so many bars to choose from...”—Dax, who puts emphasis on the word “friends” with a wicked grin and a wink
“Government has better acoustics and superior sound system. Makes me wanna dance all night long. And the boys I meet are hot, more masculine, better looking and friendlier,”—Andrew, an Ortigas-based copywriter
“BED .... I LIKE PARTY ... I HATE PARTEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”—Peter, who confessed into popping Ecstasy once, and didn’t enjoy the experience
“Bed....where Bluefrog is!”—Aldrin, who loves the drink Bluefrog, a specialty in Bed
“G-O-V-E-R-N-M-E-N-T!”—Matthew, a student from the State University
“Bluefrog. Sounds familiar? It’s in Bed!... Hehehe…”—Ram, marketing staff from a multinational company
“Why choose one when I can get the best of both worlds? Both the owners are my friends.... and it’s nice to know that there are places like BED and GOVERNMENT which caters to the needs of People Like Us... More choices.. Better options…”—Mikko, a gay rights advocate
“I go for Bed than Government. Government [is relatively small] and isolated; [it’s too far] from my place. In Bed, [there are nearby bars to choose from] and at the same time, [the people are cool]!”—Jun, a Makati resident
“Government is near my house…”—Apollo, a former seminarian
“Government! Quality entertainment, quality guys...”—Robin, a very masculine discreet gay guy
“Either of the two...but I choose GOVERNMENT simply because it’s much nearer my place,”—Russel, a European Studies major
“Bluefrog and Nightmare! Hik! Bed [of course]!”—Ephraim, a geodetic engineer
“Government [since it’s near my house]…”—Arnold, a Filipino-Chinese
“Bed [only]; I am always disappointed [whenever I visit] Government,”—Donny, a gorgeous forty-something paminta [straight-acting gay]
“It terms of proximity, Bed. Also, Bed is adjacent to other gay-friendly establishments located in Malate. In Government, [there is none you’ll see once you go outside].”—Nikki, who swishes his fingers and wrists to stress his point
“Bed. I don’t like Government [because it provides no] non-smoking [area]. [Then the] smoking area [has a feeble] exhaust. Bed is fab[ulous]! Anything goes!”—Castor, a Canada-based student on vacation
“Government is isolated, [and then it’s next to a] hotel [so I’d rather go in] Bed.”—Xeno, an admitted minor
Indeed, the hegemonic tentacles of the West is very much alive in this postcolonial country via the Western gay ideology being enjoyed by the contemporary urban gays. With the lifestyle they maintain in terms of the capacity to visit the gay bars of Malate at least once in a while, it is safe to assume that these gays are empowered enough to do what they want, without getting the sting usually attached to the gays that are their Other. How are they empowered? Most of them compose the pink economy. With pink peso that they can spend all to themselves, they are able to support the lifestyle that’s socializing in bars. Also, their discreetness is an outtake on masculinity; since they are more likely masculine than the effeminate bakla, they are saved from the denigration of the society at large. Their discreetness allows them to be tolerated in public places, bars included. Besides, their chance at finding partners are also high since the Western gay ideology is homosexual—desiring the same sex. Manliness begets manliness in dance bars where their chances may be fully explored. Only, with the proliferation of the paminta culture, there exists another divide in the Philippine gay culture: the paminta/parlorista dichotomy or the battle against the macho gay and the effeminate gay.
The disco bars in Malate are also nothing but Western importations to complement the institutionalization of Western gay ideology in the country. While drag queens and cross-dressing transsexuals abound in disco bars, the fact that these bars are dominated by discreet gays cannot be ignored. As such, the local ideology of bakla, where drag queens and cross-dressers may be categorized, is seriously being challenged by the colonial ideology. It is more difficult then to create a uniquely native identity for the paminta if and precisely because the enjoy the niche they found their sexuality in.
All the same, the contamination of another Western ideology in our postcolonial sensibilities is not all disadvantageous, for this may also be seen as contributive to the spectrum of sexualities which human persons may celebrate. This shows that the Philippine gay boasts of a cultural diversity that’s rich and full of pride. This diversity is proven by the background of those who participated in the survey dominated by the Bed lovers. The gay social dancers of Malate have varied ages, “outings,” backgrounds, class—all rolled up in one gay paradigm.
Brassart, Scott. Bar. Los Angeles: Alyson, 2000.
Cano, Louie. Brusko Pink, King Kong Barbies and Other Queer Files. Quezon City: Milflores Publishing, 2005.
Hogan, Steve and Lee Hudson. Completely Queer: The Gay and Lesbian Encyclopedia. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1999.
Pastrana Ding. CircuitAsia: Live. Give. Celebrate. Makati: The Gift Foundation, 2005.

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