Last year, after the screening of a film which I wrote, I was confronted by a number of critics and entertainment writers, accusing me of being “anti-gay” for having shown gays as “predators”, casting the bakla in a bad light. Several months before, I delivered a lecture at a poetry workshop in UP on gay poetry and the poetics of gender. I was also accused of being “anti-gay” for talking about the need to veer away from titi-centric gay poetry: poetry centered on the phallus, reeking of semen and sweat.
Muli is an attempt to clarify my position. I’m not against the depiction of gay sex, no matter how graphic, in poetry, fiction, or film. But neither do I believe that gays should always be deified in literature or in cinema: that there is only one way of depicting the bakla. Or, that gay films should always center on sex and sexual acrobatics, or that gay writers should only talk about their being gay, shoving the bakla to other people’s faces.
There was a spate of gay films in recent years, and as expected, said films tried to outdo each other by showing men’s body at the slightest provocation. I’ve been offered to write a number of gay-themed films, perhaps, because there is a market for such films. But as always, the producers always want a skin flick, in the guise of doing a drama, or worse, art film. Having wrtten skin flicks in the early years of my career as a writer, I could detect if the producer is a concerned artist who only wants to recoup his investment via a gay skin flick, or a con-artist who wants to dupe actors and film crews to rake in money by passing on the project as art.
I understand that, coming from a “marginal” position; gay writers should be cautious in crafting the image of the bakla being written on the page and projected on screen. But I believe that there should be a multi-faceted projection of that image. Because the bakla is not just a bakla, but a lawyer, a cadre, an engineer; and yes, a screaming faggot, and a predator at times.
Thus, Muli, tries to give a changing picture of the bakla for the past four decades, even within and outside the Communist Party, which is considered a bastion of the most progressive thoughts in conservative Philippine society. And since I’m a hopeless romantic, I would want to convey a positive, long-lasting gay relationship, which I think is now possible, despite the tragedy of our lives as gays.