Chris, in his own words: “For me, being gay means being part of a wonderful and diverse community that seeks love and equality above all. It means being given a path of unique struggles that not only sharpens myself, but those that share the journey with me as well. To me, being gay means that I get to see the strength of my parents love for me in the midst of an unforgiving society. To me, being gay means that I get to look in the mirror and know, I am who I am because of what God has created and not by what society has chosen for me.
The biggest challenge was learning to accept myself. My greatest success has been overcoming it. Although I struggled with my sexuality while in the Marine Corps and my ministry in church, it all came secondary to the fact that I felt like I didn’t even know who I was as an individual.
I realized one day, as I watched advocates fighting for my right to be married at the time, that I wanted to be part of the fight. I muscled up the strength to contact my family via phone conversations and skype to tell them that I was gay. Everyone took it ok except for my dad. He didn’t speak to me for about a year afterwards. After I told my folks, I recorded a youtube video, in my military uniform, telling the rest of my friends, relatives, and ultimately the rest of the world, that I was gay. I did this because I didn’t want there to be any rumors to spread that I was gay. I wanted to control the conversation.My whole family now accepts me and even gave their blessings in my recent engagement.
I’m from the U.S. and only visiting (Manila). But from my observation, the gay community is still trying to find it’s identity as mainstream media has tried to define it for them already. Gay guys that are “out” are often dubbed as the flamboyant, comedic, and drag queen individuals of the community- even though that may not be necessarily true. And “discreet” guys are considered to be the masculine guys. There isn’t an equal representation of the diversity of the community in the public eye. There’s a lot of progress that needs to be done here in regards to lifting stereotypes and stigmas. The gay community seems to be accepted here, but only within a certain capacity. Be flamboyant and comedic and the Philippines will accept you. If you are masculine or want to get married, the Philippine society doesn’t know what to do with you and will most likely be met with resistance.
I would just tell (my younger self) what I tell myself today, just keep moving forward. I wouldn’t want to take away the struggles I went through in the past as I know I’m a stronger person today, for it.”