Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

You Call Us Immoral, We’ll Call You Illegal

The recent raid at the Queeriosity bathhouse in Pasay (read more about it in Discreet Manila’s blog here, here and from the bathhouse owner himself here) last Sept. 24 hits closer to home now because of two things: [1] Tony’s a friend and fellow Fabcaster; and [2] I just had a book on my bathhouse experiences published.

Reading the comments in those entries just made me sadder. We still have a long way to go to lift the prejudices against homosexuals, both from straight community and, ironically, even from our very own pink peeps.

It is very clear that the police used the raid as a means to extort money. I guess the police feel that it’s easier to target a sector of society that they feel they have some power over; and what’s an easier target to hit than a sector that’s already “marginalized” by society?

What’s sadder is the reaction from other gay guys who frown on such practices as going to bathhouses. Such sentiments like, “yan napapala ng mga malilibog. bakit kasi hindi na lang kayo mg hotel o sige motel na lang. buti nga sa inyo, puro kasi kalaswaan nasa isip niyo. CHE” and “ayan, malalandi kasi kayo, buti nga!” point to a deep divide within the gay community regarding the existence of bathhouses, and our different attitudes and values towards sex.

The issue here is not a moral one; no matter what your stand is on sex, the bathhouses have legitimate licenses to operate, and the sex is consensual between two adults. The issue here is legal; the raid was not lawful and the charges, non-existent. The raid is a clear case of police harassment and extortion. They who swore to uphold the law are the very ones who break the law. And for what? Don’t be fooled by their “What you’re doing is immoral” crap. They are doing it for money and power.

Certain members of the police force on Pasay and Quezon City are brazen enough to continue raiding such gay establishments because they think our community, like in past cases, will just slink back into the shadows after coughing up cash for them. That we will just shut up. That we will just bend over and take it up our collective arse.

Well. It’s time for change.


rudeboy said...

Extortion? Yes, nothing more, nothing less.

The Great Gay Divide? Oh, yes. The contemptuous condescension in those statements you quoted (curse you, anti-quoting widget ()!&(^*%@) also rankled me. How holier-than-thou some people can be. "Kalandian" knows no venue; one could be attending High Mass and still behave like a cheap slut.

Is it time for our own Stonewall, Joel? I'd say it's way, way past due.

My question is: does the local gay community have the cojones for it? From what I've seen among the owners of the local pink establishments, it sounds like a tall order. The bitching, backbiting, one-upmanship, and general lack of a sense of genuine "community" from a good number of the people who profit from the local gay community is disheartening, but not surprising.

We are but a microcosm of this entire damaged culture.

blagadag said...

i could imagine noynoy and his "mentally disordered" sister visit a bathhouse for a "change" to catch these corrupt policemen.

joelmcvie said...

@RUDEBOY: Well, change takes time. Even the "owners of the local pink establishments... who profit from the local gay community" do change. Whether the change is attitude or personnel, change will happen.

But more than just the owners, the clients also need to change. The victim mentality, the "we're just second-class citizens" thinking, the lack of pride, the idea that we're immoral and therefore can be "punished" by law enforcers... all that has to stop. Yes, it will take time. Yes, not all bathhouse clients are out and proud.

We have to start somewhere.

Let's stick to the legal issue. Stop illegal raids. Stop police harassment and extortion.

joelmcvie said...

@RUDEBOY: Oh, and sorry for the anti-quoting widget, hehehe. But the widget stays. =)

Quentin X said...

Since when is police extortion not immoral?

joelmcvie said...

Perhaps we can think of something we can do to help stop this practice of discrimination and extortion. If you’re a client involved in the raid in Queeriosity last Sept. 24 and are reading this, please email your name and contact number to: As for those who weren’t in the raid but are interested in helping out, please email me also. As discretion and privacy are of utmost importance, I personally assure those who email me that your information will remain confidential.

Kiks said...

now they're after our asses.

something should be done about this, i agree. i am going to manille this week and would love to take part in whatever discussions happening.

except for 7-11 october, i am good to go, mcvie.

i shall be at your beck and call.

the gay, the activist, the bathhouse lover

palma tayona said...

chances are that raids like these were began by whistle blowers from within the gay community itself. the underlying reason is usually envy.

i remember this establishment called Notary Public (back in the 90's) that was raided and shut down after leads to it were given by this gay hack of a writer from the tv channel that covered it. turns out, this whistle blower took revenge after he was denied membership into the establishment months before the raid because he was known as being too loud and crass. same thing goes with the other bathhouses that were raided - their whistle blowers were also individuals who either was turned downed by the same establishment or had an axe to grind with its owners. either way and is usually the case, that the axe-grinder comes from the same sexual orientation as the ones who patronize these places.

us pinoys have a term for that "utak talangka". it is of one's kind that a gay person should be guarding himself from. envy, jealousy, one-upmanship... the gay community has so much of this.

i remember one writer saying that the most 'morally upstanding' group of individuals are gay people. gay people follow the moral status quo to preserve balance and assure survival without the attendant malicious jabs. but sometimes, this moral upmanship can be detrimental too for the same people that share the same orientation. many of us, the morally upright gay person, like to judge the others for their decadence, promiscuity, flamboyance... when they forget that they themselves are guilty of the same thing. if they chose to do it discreetly and in the construct and rules of the straight population, then don't be too harsh with those who chose to go against what is popular and simply be their outrageous selves. 'live and let live', 'ika nga. and the world will be more at peace.

stop haranguing those who share the same orientation but have a different way of expressing things. no one is above the other if all gay people are actually shaking the same feathers.


if one thing should be learned from all these it is the lesson of tolerance.

if one wishes to have consensual sex with another inside an establishment that has private membership, no prostitution or anything outside of the law is done inside it... then so be it. it is within the confines of human law and should and must be respected, as dictated by the same laws drafted by the land and its people.

if you want to MORALLY preach against this practice... there's the pulpit. PREACH IT there and let others FREELY decide whether they want it or not. no twisting of arms, let people decide intellectually and as the dictates of their own conscience so chose.

if one decides otherwise, then let HIM/HER BE.

methinks that's what tolerance should be... live and let live. this world will be a more livable place to be if we follow that basic rule.


I hope I made sense.