In her introduction to the anthology, “Tingle: Anthology of Pinoy Lesbian Writing,” editor Jhoanna Lynn B. Cruz said that a book compiling the literary works of Filipino lesbians is so belated that “some of our lesbian writers have either stopped writing or stopped being a lesbian.”
Why is that the case? When, as she also notes in the same introduction, there have been many anthologies of queer writing published, most remarkably J. Neil Garcia and Danton Remoto’s “Ladlad: An Anthology of Philippine Gay Writing,” which has already three volumes plus a “Best of” since it came out it 1994. Perhaps it has something to do with being a woman and a lesbian in a patriarchal country.
“Being a woman and a lesbian makes us more vulnerable to attack so maybe the lesbian writers have been less bold than the male gay writers in expressing who they were or are and writing their stories and putting it out there,” she says through a video call with CNN Philippines Life.
“Tingle,” named for the homonym of the Tagalog word for “clitoris,” was conceptualized in 2015 and will finally be published this month, just in time for Pride.
In the video below, she talks about the politics of the term “lesbian,” motivating writers from the community, and eschewing the “literary” standards of writing in favor of “providing opportunities for individual voices to be encouraged.”
Interview and video by SAMANTHA LEE