Netizens divided over Ricky Reyes’ views on LGBTQ+ rights

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
totalITemsFound:
maxPaginationLinks: 10
maxPossiblePages:
startIndex:
endIndex:

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 10) — Netizens are heaping both criticism and praise on popular hairstylist Ricky Reyes, considered by some to be an icon of the Filipino gay community, for his views on a proposed legislation which aims to ensure equal rights for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning (LGBTQ+) sector.

Reyes started trending on Twitter Tuesday afternoon because of an interview where he said gays should learn to “stay in their place.”

Ang affair ng mga bakla dapat sa atin lang ‘yan. ‘Wag nating pangalandakan. Bakit pa kailangan sabihin sa madlang people na ‘Huy, intindihin mo nga ako. Bakla ako,’” Reyes was shown saying in a video uploaded Sunday on YouTube by Timmy Basil.

[Translation: The affairs of gay men should be kept among ourselves. Let’s not proclaim these to everyone. Why should we need to tell people: “Hey, understand me. I’m gay.”]

Asked about the bill seeking to protect LGBT people from discrimination which is now pending in Congress, Reyes said, “Kung ikaw ay may nota, sa lalaki ka. ‘Pag may kipay ka, sa babae ka. Nirerespeto kita bilang tao, nirerespeto kita bilang bading, pero lumugar tayo sa tamang lugar.

[Translation: If you have a penis, you are a man. If you have a vagina, you are a woman. I respect you as a person, I respect you as a gay man, but let’s stay in our place.]

Kung nagpa-opera ka, ang bakla, miski may kipay na, may boobs na, bakla pa rin ang utak niyan,” he said. “Gilingin mo man 'yan, ang labas niyan baklang hamburger.”

[Translation: Even if you’ve undergone surgery, a gay man, even if he has a vagina, or boobs, he still thinks like a gay man … Even if you grind them, they will come out as gay hamburgers.]

According to the American Psychological Association, transgender and gender non-conforming people are those who have a gender identity which does not match their sex at birth. Being transgender is different from being gay, as the latter only refers to same-sex attraction and not gender identity.

Reyes said he does not understand why LGBT people “force” themselves on establishments that turn them away, when there are establishments that cater specifically to them.

He also said he is not in favor of same-sex marriage, despite being in a same-sex relationship for more than 40 years.

Ang kasal ay para lamang sa lalaki at babae. Mayroong kasabihan sa Catholicism na sacrilege — pambabastos sa relihiyon. ‘Wag na. Ang pagpapakasal bigay natin sa babae’t sa lalaki ‘yan, ‘di ba. Kung gusto niyong mag-union, eh ‘di mag-union kayo,” Reyes said.

[Translation: Marriage is reserved for men and women. In Catholicism, there’s such a thing as sacrilege — disrespecting religion. Let’s not do it. Let’s leave marriage to women and men, right? If you want to have a union, then go have a union.]

His views did not sit well with some netizens.

“Ricky Reyes, your views are obsolete. Just like your hairstyles. Please go away,” said Twitter user Jeb Tizon.

Twitter user @_mamser pointed out that Reyes is coming from a “position of privilege”

Others pointed out that Reyes is a “traitor” to the LGBT sector, as he once fired an employee for being HIV positive. The country’s labor and management mediation court found Reyes and his business associate guilty of discrimination.

Other Twitter users, meanwhile, praised the hairstylist for his views.

“Ricky Reyes is successful … Ricky Reyes did it without this SOGIE bill,” user @garettinshadow said.

Twitter use @catpy backed Reyes for thinking of her daughter’s safety in restrooms.

Meanwhile, Twitter user @azon64 said that Reyes is older and wiser and “knows what’s best for the LGBTQ.”

Another Twitter user shielded Reyes from criticism from the LGBTQ+ sector.

“Y'all hate Ricky Reyes because you can't lure him into your culture of victimhood & imaginary oppression. Well, people who accept themselves, know their rights & limits DO NOT NEED to be validated by a make-believe, unconstitutional bill by [Senator Risa] Hontiveros,” user @gaaaaaaaaabbbb said.

The anti-discrimination bill, popularly known as the SOGIE Equality Bill, is currently at the committee level in both the House and the Senate. It aims to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

The measure cleared the House in the 17th Congress, but was effectively blocked by conservative Christian and Catholic senators who debated on the bill until the legislature adjourned, sending it to the archives.

The House-approved version of the bill seeks to penalize those who commit discriminatory acts against LGBTQ+ Filipinos, with fines of not less than ₱100,000 but not more than ₱500,000, or imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years or both, depending on the court's decision.

There was a renewed push for the passage of the SOGIE Equality Bill after 28-year-old trans woman Gretchen Diez was barred from using the women’s restroom in Quezon City mall Farmer’s Plaza, and was eventually arrested for documenting the ordeal through Facebook Live.

Despite this, lawmakers raised questions about the measure, asking why there is a need for special legislation for the LGBTQ+ sector.

“I’ve been discriminated because of my color,” Senator Nancy Binay said during the last Senate hearing on the SOGIE Equality Bill. “Does that mean I need to file a bill to protect people like me?”

“Sana ‘yung discussion natin [I hope that our discussion] when it comes to discrimination should be more universal, should be more encompassing,” Binay said.

In the Senate, a bill filed by Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara aims to ban discrimination based on SOGIE, age, ethnicity and religious belief, among others.

But advocates point out that the LGBTQ+ sector has special needs that should be addressed by a special law.

A 2017 Human Rights Watch report found that only 15 percent of Filipinos reside in areas protected by ordinances against discrimination based on SOGIE.

The same report also said that Filipino LGBTQ+ students “continue to experience bullying and harassment in school” from their peers and teachers.

A joint 2014 study by the United States Agency for International Development and the United Nations Development Program found evidence of discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in schools, at work and in their communities.