GenSan News Online Mag

I Am Gay

“I Am Gay!”

These were the words that reverberated throughout the residence of the US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry K. Thomas last night, June 14, 2011 at North Forbes Park in Makati during the reception tendered by the US Embassy in honor of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month.

I was privileged to have been there along with nine other invited bloggers.  I was the only one from outside of Metro Manila.


Under the administration of President Barack Obama, the United States of America has made significant progress in achieving equality for LGBT Americans and is continually doing measures to eliminate discrimination against them.

Last 31st of May 2011, perhaps for the first time in US history, an American President proclaimed June 2011 as Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month to “eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people.

The president has also pledged his support for the “IT GETS BETTER PROJECT“, meant  to “show young LGBT people the levels of happiness, potential, and positivity their lives will reach – if they can just get through their teen years. The It Gets Better Project wants to remind teenagers in the LGBT community that they are not alone — and it WILL get better“.

Here is the link to the video of President Obama’s message of hope and support for LGBT youth who struggling with being bullied—> President Obama’s Message to LGBT youth.

For his part, Ambassador Harry K. Thomas gave a moving speech in front of about a hundred or so guests last night, mostly well-known members of the LGBT community in Metro Manila and his staff at the US Embassy here.

US Ambassador Harry Thomas, LGBT Pride Month


Below is the transcript of the speech.  Please read it carefully in its entirety.

Magandang gabi sa inyong ang lahat!

I am gay.

I am gay.

I am gay.

Three little words.

Six letters.

Three syllables.

It is not a phrase that trips the tongue. It is not a phrase that should take lifetimes to utter.

But my friends, these are some of the hardest words in the English language—in any language—for many of our friends, colleagues, and family members.

And this should not stand.

Our loved ones, our friends and our colleagues fear expressing their sexuality, condemned instead to a lifetime of anxiety and repression.

This should not be.

They are our brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers. Aunts and uncles.



These are not nameless, faceless members of a foreign or forgotten race. They are our families and our friends. And they are scared to be who they are.

They fear expressing their sexuality. They cannot tell their own loved ones who they really are. And I regret that there are those even in our Embassy community who fear coming out and expressing their true selves.

Why? Because instead of expressing our love for all human beings, we choose instead to ostracize and exclude.

This will not continue.

Tonight, coming here together in this house for the first time, we are breaking new ground. It should give us pause to reflect how LGBT persons across the world, in every country, from every culture, are breaking new ground every day, and breaking courageously through the barriers that hold them back. As Saint Teresa of Avila once said, “To have courage for whatever comes in life — everything lies in that.”

Yet even with courage, many of us still struggle to overcome prejudices driven by factors no human can control: the color of our skin, the expression of our gender, and the nature of our sexuality. While these prejudices are very real to us, many in the world can never understand.

And the reaction by that world to those struggling with such prejudice is both disappointing and disheartening: “You are imagining things,” they say. “It’s not as bad as you say it is, and if it is, it’s not my fault.”

That one’s core being can be such an affront to others is one of the greatest tragedies of humankind.

It is a tragedy not only because of the pain and suffering it causes, but because it prevents people from doing, being, and becoming their best. Sa diskriminasyon, maraming likas na galing at talino ang nasasayang.

Discrimination based on difference, whether it’s age, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion, is wrong. It deprives society of some of its most creative and productive members; it demoralizes communities. It shatters families.

The ambitious spirit of the Philippines’ LGBT community will no doubt carry it over these and other challenges. Americans know from centuries of experience that the march against discrimination and prejudice is long and difficult, and sometimes it feels never-ending.

But we also know that every step forward makes life a little better here and now — and most certainly for future generations who will look back and marvel at the sacrifices and advances you all made, wondering at how you managed to accomplish so much.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am not tonight asking you to leave shouting that you are gay; I am not asking you to endanger yourselves in the face of other peoples’ hatred and blindness. But I am asking you leave this place on this night with one thought and one goal: to protect and love someone. Love is what matters; gender is not important.

In his Gay Pride Month proclamation, President Obama called upon Americans to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists, and to celebrate our great diversity. Those are goals worthy of all people, everywhere, and I hope all of you here tonight will join me in their pursuit.

We are all different, but we must embrace and respect our differences. We must come together through the very emotion that makes us human: love.

Bakla ako.

Tomboy ako.

Bakla kayo.

Tomboy kayo.

Pero lahat tayo ay tao.

Maraming salamat po.

us embassy


And with that, dear readers, for all it’s worth, and for all the thousands out there who are still afraid to come out, I Bariles, author of GenSan News Online Mag declare proudly, that yes, totoo ang tsismis, I AM GAY

Yey! 😉

About Avel Manansala

Avel Manansala aka Bariles, is a native of a bustling city down south of Mindanao Island. He is a consultant on Blogging, Social Media, and Marketing . He is co-founder and head of the SoCCSkSarGen Bloggers and manager of Google Business Group (GBG)- General Santos. You may add him to your circles on G+ - If you need more info on any of these fields, please leave him a message.

View all posts by Avel Manansala →

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  1. m1k3 says:

    mabuhay kayong lahat.. hehe…

  2. attymagman says:

    so bakla siya?

  3. Richard says:

    base. ha ha!

  4. dodong says:

    go for equal rights. no to prejudice and discrimination.

  5. cliff says:

    wow..i love the honesty and sincerity..and yes i’m also a gay!mwahugs sir avel!

  6. Ria Jose says:

    Like. Like. Like. 🙂

    Another issue we can advocate about, yes? Glad you were able to attend.

  7. eric says:

    mabuhay tayong lahat! hay sayang wala ako kagabi.

  8. Mario says:

    Power!!!! We are all equal in this society.!!!( Love is what matters; gender is not important)Great line!!!.Mabuhay ka sir Vel!!!!hehehehe!Naging Magandang Gensan ang city natin dahil sa inyo at sa tulong ng lahat lahat na Heneral.!!!

  9. Menard says:

    Dear Closet Creatures,
    Emancipate yourselves by bringing out the star in you. We were born to conquer the world. Don’t let your terrestrial existence fade without substantiating this idealism. We can together combat the smash of discrimination and exterminate ostracism from the face of the earth! I just wish that the local government up to the national level will support the gay&lesbian communities by creating policies and laws for our welfare and by providing us venues and opportunities to enliven the spirit of gender sensitivity and empowerment. I am one with Kuya Avel! I am one with LGBT! I am one with Ambassador Harry K. Thomas! I was the first crowned Ms. Amazing Gay Universe of Sultan Kudarat during Kalimudan Festival 2007 because I thought I was gay and I believed that I can be gay which led to emancipation and happiness. Now, think gay and believe that you can be gay. Let us be gay!

  10. teacher's pet says:


  11. orman says:

    mabuhay ang mga bayot sa mundo!!!

  12. Toinks says:

    MammmmaaaaH…! Mmmmuah! jejejeje

  13. Are you still in Manila?

  14. fahdingding says:

    Karapat – dapat kang ICLAP! CLAP! ambassador…

  15. Brendel says:

    I’m all praises for the US Embassy and to US Ambassador Thomas for organizing the event.

    I’m so proud of you Avel for being so courageous! Haba ng hair!

  16. Cathy says:

    Proud of all of you and can I say I am gay too? hugs!

  17. rj says:

    kuya thanks for sharing us the speech of AMBASSADOR HARRY K. THOMAS. I hope that House Bill 1483 known as Anti Discrimination Bill will be enacted into law but sad to know that until now, the bill is still pending in the lower house for approval and still has to act on several versions of the bill in the upper house. HB 1483 guarantees legal protections to LGBT.

  18. darlbs says:

    to all the closet gays and paminta out there, i hope this helps lessen the burden of coming out,

    and everyone-not member of LGBT should understand that sexual orientation and gender identity are inherent and cannot be intentionally altered

  19. Ache says:

    Maboohey!!! I just love my gay friends! Ang lungkot ng mundo pag wala kayo, promise!!!

  20. Kiko says:

    Like! Dapat pantay-pantay ang pagtingin natin sa isa’t-isa. GO AMBASSADOR HARRY!

  21. GorG says:

    At matagal ko nang alam kuya Avel! hehehe…I am proud of you still…Very happy also that you were able to attend…pag dili dyud, ikaw bayad sa ticket na na purchase. non-redundable, non-reroutable…hehehe

    i have whole bunch of gay friends, and gay family members =)

  22. lynette G says:

    clap!clap!clap! galing ng speech ng ambassador and may i just say that there are lots of gay people who are leaving good legacies in their respective fields (you included kuya avel!) ako madami din akong gay friends and love all of them. gay din kasi ako..hehe 🙂

  23. […] This is not the first time I will be talking with Ambassador Thomas.  In 2011, I was invited to a dinner at his Forbes Park Residence for a LGBT Week gathering.  Read about it by clicking here. […]

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