They think I’m gay











By Chad Dorego

What does it takes to be a man? Should you have a Machete-like physique, tattoos all over your body, play basketball, know how to drink and smoke, or perhaps have sex? If these are qualities that are considered “manly” by modern society, then I fall short of them. Please don’t get me wrong and think that I’m gay. However, if you still think of that way about me then I don’t blame you. You wouldn’t be the first person to think of me that way. I don’t possess any of those “manly” characteristics: I don’t have abs that could get women drooling all over me, or tattoos that would make me look ready for a street fight. I don’t play basketball because I don’t like the sport, and I don’t smoke and drink as I find it unproductive. Most of all, you could gauge the importance I give to sex from the fact that I am a virgin.

People usually assume that I’m gay. Those who see me for the first time, already get the impression that I’m gay. Even those who know me think that I’m homosexual, as I have what others would consider feminine traits: I talk too much and I can’t spend a day without sweets. I even want to learn to bake cupcakes and other pastries. I prefer watching chick flick movies to action movies. When I was in grade school, I loved to play “Chinese garter.” I want my picture taken with every celebrity that I see and I love the songs of Celine Dion. I don’t feel comfortable changing in front of other guys, or taking baths when there are other guys in the locker room. I also feel closer to women than men. As girly as these all sound, this is me and these are the things I like doing.

There are a lot of things that I do that men usually don’t do. However, would these be bases enough to judge someone’s sexuality? I have to admit that I am different….different in a sense that I can be mistaken for a homosexual, since I don’t have conventional, “manly” traits in me. It is ironic to think that given how modernization has changed our social values and our way of life, our standards for manliness have not changed much since the olden times. It hurts not to be accepted for who I am, and to be judged based on what people can see on the outside. For many people, what’s on the inside (thoughts, attitudes and values) doesn’t matter as much as what you show on the outside. To them, it’s what they see on the outside that determines who you are.

I remember when I was in the 6th grade, my father forcefully enrolled me in basketball camp. I felt fear instead of excitement. I dreaded the start of basketball camp. I barely played basketball and prior to the camp, I only played the sport as part of our P.E. requirement. Before the camp started, I asked my parents why they enrolled me. They said that it was for me to lose weight, but I know that they made me join it for more than just the running and sweating. Even now, I think the real reason was that they wanted me to play a real man’s sport. Also, being part of the camp would enable me to have more guy friends.

I tried to hide from my parents during the first day of the camp. I had hoped that if they didn’t see me, they wouldn’t remember that basketball camp was starting that day. Unfortunately my father had a good memory, or maybe he was just really excited to see his boy playing his favorite sport. However, even my father’s eagerness couldn’t coax me out of the car. Yes that’s right – at the venue of the camp, I didn’t go out of the car. Not even when my father’s soothing voice became tinged with anger. At that moment, obedience simply didn’t exist for me. I was scared to join the group for they might laugh at me, since I didn’t know anything about the sport, considering that I was the tallest and oldest in the group.

It was such a regrettable experience since this resulted in a fight with my parents. My parents and I hardly spoke to each other after the incident, and there was dead silence in the house for days. I felt so alone and abandoned. Looking back, it was quite an experience for me to tell my parents that I don’t like basketball and that I would rather stay home, study all day than try to learn the sport and make friends from it.

If I was gay, I could have joined the camp, learned the basics and pretended that I loved the sport to gain male friends. I could have escaped the difficult moments I had with my parents, but what could I do? I wanted to be true to myself and I knew that deep inside me, I didn’t like basketball and that it has never been on my favorite sports list. It is true that basketball may be the most popular male sport, but I don’t feel left out every time my friends would play or talk about it. I wouldn’t even know if Duncan committed technical foul against Lebron or if the quarter has ended already. However, I am a very athletic person. It’s just that, I’m not into basketball. However, is this basis enough to judge someone’s sexuality?

My very witty and intelligent Philosophy professor, Mr. Angelo Lobrin, once said: “Every man has a feminine side; it is our femininity that makes us different”. These words inspired me to remain true to who I am, even when people misjudge me. No matter how good I become, I can never please everybody. There will always be people who will be critical. The only difference is this time, I am ready – ready to face criticisms and learn to accept them. For I have also learned that it is not their voice that will tell who I am and what I will become.

Who cares if I have my stuffed toys at home, or if I know every “tagalog” movie there is. Who cares if I am different because in the end, what matters is that I know myself. So, what do you think? Am I Gay?