bakla isn't gay
October 11, 2013
It is generally known that reclaiming slurs (or in this case, maybe more of a derogatory term) usually is something that can only be done (and on an individual basis) by the people the term has been used against.
Yes? This is the basics of the politics of reclamation.
I had the misfortune to see this project being advertised and I can”t even begin to fathom how the two (from all appearances) cis lesbians decided that this was okay. Even more annoying is seeing that this is their third production.
The Bakla Show was created in 2006 to begin a new movement to reclaim the term ‘BAKLA’ and to be inclusive of gay, lesbian, bisexual transgender and queer F/Pilipin@ identities.
The Bakla (Tagalog for gay male – mostly stereotyped and ridiculed as the campy effeminate cross-dresser or hairdresser) Show was created in November of 2006 by two queer Filipina American artist, Shannon Pacaoan and Kat Evasco as a start of a new movement to reclaim the term ‘BAKLA’. The origin of The Bakla Show began with exploring roots; navigating through the history of the Philippines to find a sense of our culture before the influence and impositions of other countries, ideals, and religions. And it was found in the language, BAKLA broken down to is roots: BA; KA; LA. BAbae, in Tagalog, translates to woman. LAlaki is man. KA, in this word, represents the union of woman and man. Deconstructing the term bakla detaches it from present derogatory applications and fosters a stronger connection to the Filipino culture by way of our sexuality.
THis is… NO.
Look. Bakla is not some kind of pan-pilipin@ queer identity. Even that (spurious) etymological breakdown demonstrates that. To go from marking how it describes a gender to say “our sexuality” is just… buying into so many colonial impositions into how my identity is that i just can”t fucking deal with this.
This is transmisogyny. You cannot reclaim terms that are not your own. You should never erase people through the generalizatin of a term that has historically been used to dehumanize us.
Morever, the ridiculousness of trying to position ‘bakla” as a pan-pilipin@ identity is also gross from the perspective that it is a Tagalog word. Tagalogs already have a disproportionate amount of influence over stuff (given that ‘Filipino” as language is largely Tagalog with window dressing and that Tagalogs have been at the seat of power for a long time). This equivocation between Tagalog and Filipin@ perpetuates the colonial violence that created ‘Filipin@s” in the first place and erases the wonderful diversity of our community (like, do they really expect Bisayans to feel ‘included” in this Bakla show? why should they?)
i see this and i”m upset, disappointed, angry.
my life and identity is not something for cis pilipinas to use a performance piece