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Vice Ganda Says It's Time to Drop 'Kahit' When Loving the LGBTQ

Madlang people, say love.
by Clara Rosales
Just now
Photo/s: Instagram/Praybeytbenjamin

How do you show love and respect for someone from the LGBTQIA+ community? Unconditionally, without kahit and naman that makes their sexual identity appear as a handicap, said Vice Ganda, the most influential gay entertainer of his generation.

During his turn on Summit Sandwich Sessions, Vice recounted his struggles as a gay teenager to becoming the entertainer that he is now -- unapologetic about his gender-bending style and street-smart humor.

He said parents would say they love they kid, "kahit na bakla siya (even if they are gay)".

“I think this is the perfect time to put a stop to that. Mahal ko ‘yung anak ko na bakla. Dapat tanggalin 'yung kahit. Proud ako dun sa anak ko na bakla,” he said. “Dapat walang kahit. Mahal ko ‘yung anak ko, period. Proud ako sa anak ko, period. Walang kahit dapat.”

Three in the family

Vice said he knew at a very young age that he's gay, what prevented him from coming out was that his two older brothers were gay, too.

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“Ang dami kong fears na baka hindi ako tanggapin kasi pangatlo na ako. Baka top two lang sa semis ang kailangan,” he joked with journalists in a Summit Sandwich Session.

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“I wasn’t able to tell my parents about my gender identity. Hindi ko na-verbalize. And we didn’t have the chance to talk about it,” he said.

This led Vice Ganda, known as Jose Marie Borja Viceral, to play a role at home even before he performed at comedy bars and acted in blockbuster films.

“Alam ko na sa sarili ko na bading ako. Sa school, sa mga kaibigan ko, bading ako. Pero sa bahay, hindi. Matigas ako,” he said.

“I was hiding my gender expression. I was hiding my gender identity. Everything about my sexuality, personality, tinatago ko. Bunsong lalaking anak, ‘yun ang projection ko sa bahay namin,” he added.

In a separate 2011 interview with, the veteran host said his late father passed without having known he was gay. Self-denial buried his identity, but his family had an inkling anyway.

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“When I had the talk with my Nanay and asked her kung paano niya nalaman, she told me...she knew. Even without telling her, she knew. She felt it. And there was nothing wrong with it, but we never talked about it,” Vice said.

“But when I came out and it became official, hindi naman pala big deal. Jinudge ko lang ‘yung nanay ko na ‘di niya ako tatanggapin, okay naman pala. Sa akin lang pala big deal,” he explained.

'Bakla, pero 'di baklang bakla'

Despite pandemic drawbacks, Vice enjoys success in both his showbiz career and cosmetics business. A franchise denial for home network ABS-CBN brought the cast and crew of It’s Showtime closer to the fans, and Vice Cosmetics—his make-up brand—is selling better than expected, according to Vice.

Most LGBTQIA+ entertainers are not as lucky, he said. "May mga opportunities na ma-ddeprive kaming makuha, or may mga opportunity na hindi binibigay sayo just because of your gender identity, gender expression."

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Vice recalled a time a director was discouraged from casting him for a movie: "Sinabihan siya ng management na 'wag muna si Vice, kasi madami nang bakla,' or 'wag na munang baklang character' kasi madami nang baklang character," he said, pointing out the lack of a cap for straight male and female characters.

When It's Showtime was just starting, Vice said he was told to always wear pants -- anything that veered towards the feminine side was a no-no. "I wasn't allowed to cross dress, I wasn't allowed to wear heavy make-up."

Vice's first outfit consisted of a Michael Jackson-inspired jacket and jeans, a deviation from his spaghetti straps and false eyelashes at comedy bars. "Bakla, pero di baklang-bakla," he said.

"I conformed in the beginning just to take that one step forward. Pero I knew within me na hindi ito pang matagalan," he clarified, stressing his conviction that people had to accept him or he would go.

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"Inunti-unti ko sila, hanggang wala na silang magawa kundi tanggapin ako,"  he said.


How Vice Ganda Adapted to the Pandemic, ABS-CBN Franchise Loss

Acceptance starts at home

Vice called on parents to act in ways that let their kids know they are loved and accepted, especially if they haven’t formally come out or brought up their sexuality.

“Since hindi naman sila lahat ganun ka-open na pag-usapan ito, kahit hindi i-verbalize, make your family members feel that you love and accept them fully. So walang mabubuong fears doon sa tao na, ay, baka hindi nila ako mahalin, baka hindi nila ako tanggapin,” he said.

“Kasi kung malinaw sa kanila ‘yun, hindi mabubuo sa kanila ‘yung thought na ‘baka hindi ako tanggap.’ So, whether or not hindi mapag-uusapan, kung napaparamdam naman na tanggap na tanggap, at mahal na mahal, hindi siya magiging issue,” he said.

Vice also backed the teaching of sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression in schools to help people better understand themselves and others.

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"It's very hard to support a person you don't really understand. It's very hard to say that you support a community that you do not understand. You have to understand the community for you to be able to fully support them, accept them and love them," he said.

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