When I opened my browser, I saw Google’s homepage showcasing the Philippine flag, as we are now celebrating our 114th independence from the colonial grip of Spain. But whether we are truly free is another story.
I will not be delving more into the socioeconomic and political aspects of our country’s current situation. There are various theories explaining that third world, or okay, developing countries like us are politically independent but economically dependent; therefore undermining the concept of freedom. But the question of freedom is also quite personal to most people, and I also always ask myself am I really free?
Yesterday, I received several emails from my good friend Ikle, who is currently in Zhejiang University in China, studying for his master’s degree. He is openly gay and part of what makes him in interesting is his being gay. I have known him for almost a decade already and I consider him as one of the most intelligent people I know. I’m just bothered by what he told me. Eight months has passed and still the people he is with in China still thinks he is not gay or just effeminate but really straight in real life.
Seriously? If you look at these pictures, would you think of this person as not gay?
There must be some big cultural barrier here to be dealt with. I’m not too familiar with Chinese culture and how receptive they are of effeminate behavior. But one thing’s for sure, my friend felt extremely uncomfortable that they still thought of him as straight and they even tried to dangle girls in front of him.
In a bold move to set the record straight, he sent all of his friends a text message telling them categorically that he is gay. Of all the messages he sent, he only got one good reply of acceptance and a massive influx of ‘uhmmmm’ or ‘okay’ replies. But the freedom he felt after doing that was incomparable. I guess the old adage “the truth will set you free” remains to be true. Only by being true to oneself can only bring somebody his freedom.
I then ask myself again, am I free? Honestly, I feel free on some levels, but shackled on others opinion. But looking at how those shackles hold me, I remembered that I was the one put them on me. In this case, I am my own enemy.