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23 June 2015

First They Came for the Transgender... (or What's All the Fuss about Not Allowing a "Bakla," "Lesbiyana" and Transgender to Enter a Club, a Mall or a Restaurant?)

One club in Taguig allegedly did not allow a transgender person to enter. As expected, internet trolls gave their unsolicited opinions in the many comments sections of different news sites, Facebook, Twitter and so on. You may also include my commentary as part of those unsolicited opinions. I am no different. Insert irony here.

One commenter said that the transgender person’s protest followed by all the hullabaloos from netizens and media were simply unnecessary. One must just respect the rules of a commercial establishment. If an establishment does not allow certain individuals to patronize their business, then one must simply leave. This is just a choice. No one is forcing anyone to enter. 

However, before you agree, let us look at an old photograph taken in the United States during the early twentieth century. This sign was posted somewhere in the United States but it did concern a minority, namely Filipino immigrants.

Photo taken from 
Photo courtesy of MelOorpilla

Now, imagine if we follow the same logic that people must simply respect the rules of a business establishment even if the rule borders on racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination. I guess it is all right if we see a “Positively No Men Allowed” sign on the door of a toilet for women. That is self-explanatory. Nevertheless, what if a business establishment in one of our “upscale areas” posted any of the following signs on their entrances:

  • “Positively No Chinese Filipinos Allowed”
  • “Positively No Catholics Allowed”
  • “Positively No Disabled Persons Allowed”
  • "Positively No Person Earning Less than 20,000 a Month Allowed"
  • "Positively No Person with Heterochromia Iridum Allowed"
Would you still say, “Hey, it’s their rule. We should just respect it.”

This whole incident reminds me of a poem by Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller, Protestant pastor and social activist.

first, they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.

Going back to the issue, eventually, the transgender individual was allegedly allowed to enter the club after she explained that she was on the guest list and then she showed the bouncer her California ID. Imagine if another transgender individual showed only a Tagbilaran ID. Would they let her in? Questions, questions, questions...

On  a final note, if you stay quiet now, who do you think will speak out if “they” come for you? 

Do not come on me. I am a hypocrite trying to change. Still, one has to wonder if all our protests really make a difference. After the noise has died down, we netizens are on to the next trendy protest. Bottom line, money will have his final say and money can silence everything, even a legitimate uproar. A few months ago, there was another hoopla about a exclusive resort's infamous "yaya meal." Whatever happened to that? Yaya is still yaya with or without a "yaya meal." 

Perhaps we are all hypocrites? Insert irony here or philosopher Slavoj Žižek's joke on "dusting the balls" and so on and so on...

For details about Slavoj Žižek's retelling of the "dust on balls" joke, click this LINK.This photo is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

DISCLAIMER: The sources of the photographs do not necessarily endorse Brun Philippines and the opinions of the writer

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