In a Catholic country like the Philippines, conservative values and family traditions are strictly upheld, making it a struggle for our LGBTQIA+ community to come out to their loved ones and the world. As a result, many are sticking with keeping it to themselves.
However, as the community revels more and more in the many milestones, achievements, and developments it makes through the years, many notable members of the LGBTQIA+ community here and abroad have shared their heartwarming stories on coming out, including a slew of Hollywood and local celebrities such as Rebel Wilson, Jake Zyrus, and Vice Ganda, who have been open about being part of the LGBTQIA+ community. They strongly advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights, and are now living their lives more freely after coming out.
Recently, actress Gina Pareño was added to this list.
On July 18, entertainment reporter Ogie Diaz invited the actress to a one-on-one interview on his YouTube vlog. Known as Geraldine Atchley in real life, the actress did not hesitate to admit that she is part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
“Kaya mo bang aminin na miyembro ka ng LGBTQ?” Diaz asked. (Can you admit that you are part of the LGBTQ [community]?)
“Oo, bakit, problema? Saka nagmamahal ako nang tapat,” Pareño replied with a smile on her face. (Yes, why, [is there a] problem? Besides, I loved truly.)
In the said vlog interview, she opened up about Nenita Vidal, known as “Doktora Bong” to the actress, who passed away many years ago. The actress revealed that Vidal helped her to get through with her drug addiction and even considered her a “lucky charm.” She even brought Vidal’s urn to different tapings, saying that she might be “going crazy” but that she did not mind those comments.
While watching the vlog on this segment referring to Doktora Bong, she was emotional. However, while recalling Vidal made her emotional, she was also at ease in remembering what relationship they had— those memories that remained after all these years. It was a relationship that made her the best version of herself. Pareño knew that it was sincere– it was a love that cannot be taken away.
With this love comes self-honesty. She was not afraid or even hesitant to answer Diaz’s question. Heck, if it was another celebrity in that interview, they might have shrugged it off instead, and maybe even make an issue out of it on social media. She didn’t do that– instead, she proved that no matter what, #LoveAlwaysWins.
In our society that mostly regards our LGBTQIA+ with tolerance instead of actual open acceptance, as allies, we should show more acceptance towards our brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ+ community. It is hard enough for them to live with discrimination, hate crimes, and violence so why should we make life more difficult for them?
This is also a reminder for us who have family members and friends who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community to refrain from forcing them to come out. Let them live and slay life as they should and at the right time, their unapologetic and true self will come out. And when they do come out, make sure you let them know that you are listening to them and that you acknowledge and appreciate their decision to come out. /TV
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