In which a random conversation with a friend over the weekend evolved into a short and insightful philosophical discussion about gayness — and also about how we use the words and language we use

Was talking to a friend over the weekend and she casually mentioned an anecdote involving two other friends in which one of them objected to the use of the word “bading” (Filipino colloquial term for gay). This got me thinking and so I asked a gay friend about it:

Me: Do you find the word “bading” offensive?
Friend (F): A little.

F: It’s something that’s said in a derogatory way. Especially when you’re younger, and then you’re called that. Thankfully, i was never called that. but I can imagine how it might affect other gay guys who were.

Me: So, same with bakla? [bakla = another colloquial term for gay]

F: Yeah. It sounds harsher in Tagalog. Especially since we have such a macho culture. And another thing, being “bading” or “bakla”… the word has this comedic connotation in Filipino culture. It’s like, gays can never be taken seriously and will always be some source of comedy.

Me: True. It got me thinking about my usage of the terms. I don’t use bading/bakla often actually. Not because I’m necessarily more enlightened, but because it sounds so cheap, hahaha.

F: If a character is gay, he must always be represented as a cross dresser, a snappy diva, a hip-swishing parlorista never as a guy-guy, who just happens to like other guys, which is why I think those terms are kind of derogatory in a way.

Me: OK, good points.


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My name is Terrie. I write for a living and blog for pleasure. Some days, I get up in the morning and know precisely what kind of day it is. At other times, I get knocked over for a loop. People seem to like confiding in me. When I was younger, I thought I knew everything and can tell you what you need to do if you ask me. Now that I'm older, I realize I don't know anything. That's been my motivation for the blog and for writing. To figure out the unknown and unknowable.

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