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Charice’s Coming Out: Acknowledging the Difficulties of Being LGBT and Filipino

On Sunday I YouTubed Charice's performance of "Maghintay Ka Lamang," which means "you only have to wait," and coincidentally, unbeknownst to me, the international Filipina pop superstar whom I was clinging to through her music that day was coming out of the closet as a lesbian on national television in the Philippines.\n

Avatar of Alessia Valenza

7th June 2013 14:35

Alessia Valenza | ILGA Asia

You see, Charice has been a household name in my family ever since she first appeared on American television on Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah’s daytime talk shows a few years back, belting hits by Whitney Houston, Jennifer Holliday and Céline Dion. If there’s anything Filipinos love, it’s ballad-singing divas, and Charice was making waves in the U.S., rubbing shoulders with music-industry elite like Andrea Bocelli and David Foster (Charice’s godfather), appearing on Glee as Sunshine Corazon and becoming the first Asian solo singer in history to get into the top 10 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, which is even more reason for Filipinos to rejoice and take pride in their homegrown talent.

And that’s the thing: Filipinos are very prideful people. There’s a joke that even if you’re part Filipino, Filipinos will claim you entirely as their own. (Examples: Enrique Iglesias, Nicole Scherzinger, Vanessa Hudgens, Darren Criss, Bruno Mars, etc.) No ifs, ands or buts about it, right?

Yet for LGBT Filipinos, who often come from large, conservative Catholic and Christian families, that Filipino national pride can be suffocating and intimidating. You can’t possibly face that insurmountable and unwavering pride. You’ll be a disappointment. And that’s in a group that fully adopts and accepts people who are even just a sliver Filipino.

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