A few days ago, boxing icon and Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao has expressed his stand on same-sex marriage through a video interview. At one point, he said animals are smart enough to have the primary instinct to mate with only the opposite sex, making same-sex couples and their sexual acts worse than that of the animals’. Since then, the LGBT community and its supporters, celebrities, and influencers alike have called out the People’s Champ and even urged the voters to boycott Pacquiao in the coming senatorial elections.
A day after the video interview was released, Pacquiao issued a public apology to those who have been hurt by his statement and clarified that he was only condoning the acts and not the people. In this case of Manny Pacquiao versus the LGBT community of the Philippines, an apology might have been delivered but his initial statement had probably scratched and reopened old wounds the said community has been trying to patch on a regular basis.
Now, because we think this issue isn’t going to die anytime soon, and in fact this has already turned to a conversation starter, here are five things people can pick up from this mountain of an issue:
1. It’s always in the delivery. No matter how polar opposite your ideals and morals are with the majority or even with any single person for that matter, there are always ways to express yourself that is not condescending and offensive. Unfortunately and real talk, this is something that is not innate to everyone, and something many people learn over time. Some people, without recognizing it, may not even learn it at all. So if we must simplify, delivery is key: Your tone, facial expression, body movement, and…
2. Your choice of words matter. “Think before you speak” may be easier said than done when we know it’s a lot easier to open one’s mouth than to process everything in your head. But like any other pursuit, you need to practice it to be good at it. With better choice of words, you get better chances to be heard.
3. Respect begets respect is convenient, but not always true. One disappointing thing that commonly happens is when someone depends their actions based on other people. Being hurt, in general, entitles you to your own feelings and opinion. What being hurt doesn’t entitle you to though, is to hurt back, no matter how logical that seems. Kindly refer to point number one and two.
4. Being understood is more important than being loved. You don’t have to be Catholic or believe in God to agree with Mother Teresa when she once said, “If you judge people, you don’t have time to love them.” But often, the people you meet won’t really ask to be loved, but that you take the time to understand their plights. Because in most cases, that has always been enough.
5. Breed love, not hate. Since we’re at it, how do we say “love wins” when we exchange anger with more anger? At a time when you feel degraded, it’s one thing to take a stand and defend it with all your might and pride; and another, to do it with love, gentleness, and understanding. Because isn’t that what we all want anyway? So if you must fight back, do so in a way that raises awareness to the issue not sensationalized anger that dies down even before people take action. If you must fight back, do so in a way that breeds love, not hate.
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Digital Ilustration by Jana Jimenez