Dear Teenager:

When my son asked that I write an open letter to gay teens with advice for dealing with parents/adults, I thought: “What in our history together would make you feel that I should or could offer any worthwhile words of wisdom to teens? And, anyway, why would they read it?” 
I have little advice to offer, beyond the same old tired bull that you have been hearing for ages, but here goes.

I know that you may be looking for advice on how to relate your gay self to your straight parents. 
That’s a tough one.

A long time ago, I told a young man that he was being silly to think that his mother would love him less if he came out to her. Heck, I had heard this particular mom go on and on about her marvelous son. How proud she was of him, how good he was, how smart, how kind, how talented, how handsome. And he was and still is all of those things. I knew this mother, and knew how she doted on her son.

He told her the truth about his sexuality. He told her and his dad at the same time. Two years later I ran into this kid, and his folks still hadn’t spoke to him. He was banned from his home the night he told the truth, and though he would call on occasion or send letters, there was never any response. Mom and dad were die-hard Baptists, and he was no longer their son.

Do I get it? Nope, I don’t. Was I sick to my heart and stomach when he told me? Yes, absolutely. I felt that my advice had caused this young man great pain. Was he angry with me? No, not at all. He was crushed and disappointed by his parents, but he was okay. And although he would continue to carry the hurt, he was living his life and continuing as the same good, smart, kind, talented, handsome guy he was before he told them. Just a bit battered and let down by the two people who he thought he could always count on.

I had a lovely teenage girl ask my advice once about coming out to her parents. I told her the story of this young man. I told her that, if I had a daughter, I would hope she would be as lovely as this girl was, with a beautiful voice and an easy laugh, but I also told her that she must be prepared for anything. 
How do you prepare yourself for such a rejection? I don’t know. I don’t have that answer. Having a support system outside of your home probably helps.

It would seem to me that being gay no more defines who you are than being a vegetarian and puking if a waiter mistakenly places a platter of meat in front of you. Now, I am not a lesbian (although I wouldn’t tell Ellen DeGeneres to leave if she slipped her Keds under my bed), but I don’t get what the fuss is all about. When my son told me he was gay, it no more upset me than if he had said he was a geologist. Naturally, I had suspected, but I wanted him to tell me. His stepfather is English, so it didn’t bother him at all. “Oh yes, well, I thought that he might be, didn’t you, luv?”

My son is a professional writer, and he’s good at what he does. I am proud that he has such an amazing brain and imagination and can articulate things in a way that I could only dream of. He can bring tears to my eyes with words that he has written. He is also a musician. I am proud that he is so talented, so funny.

Am I proud that he is gay? Well, no, no more proud of him being gay than my mother was proud of me for being straight. I am proud that he is proud of himself, his achievements, his talents (and well, he is awfully cute). If I had been in charge of mapping out his life, would I have made him a gay writer/musician? Of course not. Not back then. I would have made him a straight surgeon. No, a dentist. They have better hours and they still make loads of money. Plus, I could use the dental work. 
Why? Why would I have chosen for him to be a straight guy? Because people are poo. They are unkind. They are unbelievably cruel. I would want my child’s life to be as enjoyable and safe as it could possibly be. I would not want anything or anyone to hurt him.

If your child comes to you and says, “Mom, I simply can’t choose between a career as a social worker or a brain surgeon, I could enjoy either one equally, so please, make the decision for me,” you’re probably not gonna tell your kid to become a social worker. Why not? Because his life is going to a lot more comfortable if he’s a surgeon. Life will be easier. Besides, what can a social worker do for his mom in her old age other than research the less repugnant nursing home?

Now, if that same child comes and states, “Mom, I know my GPA is 4.9 and my teachers say that I am brilliant and have the intelligence to be a cutting edge scientist and I think I could cure acne but all I want, all I really want, all that truly makes me happy is to teach ballroom dancing and to paint billboards on the highways . . .”

How does a mom respond to that?

Me, well, I would want to observe him dancing and painting billboards. If what I saw was pure pleasure and happiness, if I saw that he got up in the morning, excited and filled with anticipation, then I’d be all for him filling the landscape with his brilliant billboards and dancing about with his buckets of paints. 

When I was pregnant, did I wish for a gay son? Of course not. I never thought about him being gay, for heaven’s sake. I thought about him being healthy, about me being a good mother. But, if I were to think about it, would I have said, “Gee, wouldn’t I love to give birth to a homosexual?” No! That’s not wrong. It’s normal to desire the best and safest life for your offspring.

It would seem to me that if a child is basically kind, basically happy, basically sensible, and isn’t a rapist or a child molester or an axe-murderer, well, what more can a parent ask for (other than free dental and a cushy retirement home)?

What I am trying to tell you is that we moms want our children to be happy. We want their lives to be easier than ours’ might have been. Making things easier for our kids isn’t necessarily the best thing for them; it’s just naturally what we want to do. But for most, ultimately, whatever it is our child wants, well, we will back them with all that we have.

Unfortunately, people are not required to get a license before having children, and so there is a small minority of parents who will treat their children horribly. They will do this because of religion, or because of stupidity, or because they are just basically mean people.

But truly, I believe that this is a minority. You’ve heard it about a million times before, but please try to remember: If you’re having difficulty with your parents, there is a very good chance that they are only giving you a hard time because they love you. Let them know you’re safe and happy, and that you love them, too, and things will usually work out for the best. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this, please feel free to pass it on and share it with anyone you think it may help. < Click here to join WHOF (Wipeout Homophobia On Facebook)




Amnesty International
Press Release
May 27, 2011

Largest Human Rights Organization of the world turns 50: Renews Commitment to Freedom and Justice


Amnesty International members in the Philippines will join the Global Call to Action to tip the scales against repression and injustice, with a Toast to Freedom on May 28, 2011, as it commemorates its 50th anniversary.

Toasts to Freedom will be held in dozens of countries all over the world. In the Philippines, simultaneous toasts cum concerts will be held in Luneta Park (NCR), Tetuan Park (Zamboanga City) and Quezon Park Ball Field (Dumaguerte City). Members of Amnesty International will also hold simple gatherings in various places in the country.

Dr. Aurora Parong, Director of Amnesty International Philippines said, “We will join more than 3 million members and supporters all over the world for the Toast to Freedom and will take action to tip the scales against human rights violations and for justice to prevail. In our 50 years of existence, we have seen that ordinary people, even through simple letter writing, can help change the world and make a difference in people’s lives. What matters are strong commitment and persistent actions for human dignity.”

“We are renewing our commitment to act for human rights in various forms – from letter writing to online petitions, facebook, twitter and whatever action is necessary to reject human rights abuse and promote human rights, “ said Mr. Ritzlee Santos, Chairperson of the Board of Amnesty International Philippines.

The 50thanniversary of the largest human rights organization of the world comes at a time when peoples in different countries of the world experience repression and injustice and continue to struggle for freedom from fear and want .

Amnesty International recently launched its Annual Report on Human Rights 2011 2 weeks ago and stated that in many parts of the world, millions of people do not have the right to free speech; people live in fear due to torture, extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances; whole communities have been profoundly affected by greed, their lands poisoned or taken from them by big corporations and government neglect. The human rights watchdog noted that in 2010, there were :Unlawful restrictions of freedom of expression in 89 countries; Torture occurs in 98 countries; Unfair trials in 54 countries and Prisoners of conscience in 48 countries.

“Amnesty International first made its presence here in the Philippines during martial law. During those dark days of our nation, the Amnesty candle shone in many prison cells where political opposition to the dictatorship suffered torture and inhumane treatment. Amnesty International members from Norway, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands wrote letters to the political detainees and their families to tell them that they are not alone and they have concerned citizens of other nations watching and monitoring their cases. Bags and bags of letters were sent to government officials including Marcos to call for the release of prisoners of conscience.

In the 80’s, I remember hundreds of letters from the Netherlands sent to prisoners of conscience in a detention center in Nueva Vizcaya. These letters boost the morale of the detainees, especially those who had been jailed for a long time, and made the soldiers in the detention camp improve their treatment of the detainees, “ shared Director Parong, who was also a political detainee during martial law.

“ Letter writing for prisoners of conscience in the Philippines started in 1984, when Amnesty International worked for the release of 50 political prisoners, many of whom were trade union leaders, including the late Congressman Crispin Beltran. Letter writing continues until now. Last year, we are happy to have helped in the release of Nobel Peace awardee DawAung San SuuKyiin Myanmar – it took years of action to achieve her release from house arrest. And members find joy when we are able to get somebody out of prison,” added Mr. Santos.

Amnesty International helped in disseminating information on human rights in various parts of the world. It has encouraged millions of peoples to take action for human dignity.

“Five decades of campaigning for human rights has led to, among others, the release of tens of thousands of prisoners of conscience. We helped make torturers international outlaws through our leading support for the establishment of the 1984 Convention against Torture. We helped end the untouchable status of powerful leaders who commit the most horrific crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes by offering key support to the establishment and effective working of the International Criminal Court (ICC). We helped push 87 governments to abolish the death penalty. Together we contributed to efforts to stop the irresponsible trade in arms, munitions and equipment that inflicts misery and carnage on hundreds of thousands of people every year and. And together, we helped push human rights up in the political agenda in many countries and within some corporations,”narrated Dr. Parong.
Amnesty International notes that despite the repression and injustice, a human rights revolution exists - people are overcoming fear and suppression of their rights and taking action to defend human rights.

“We honor the human rights defenders in the Philippines and various parts of the world who have the courage and determination to face risks to assert human dignity. Today, we ask each one again to renew commitment to human rights actions, not only for peoples in the Philippines but everywhere. We need to take solidarity action and stand together for human rights”, concluded Mr. Santos.

Dr. Parong finally made an appeal, “Join us, take action and let us change minds, policies and the world. Let us make governments, armed groups and corporations accountable for human rights abuse. Let us take action to realize a world where every person enjoys the human rights embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”



Anti-RH Rizalito David threatens and assaults RH advocate inside the House of Representatives


(May 24, 2011) Quezon City, Philippines — A pro-RH advocate was recording RH Bill interpellations inside the House of Representatives (HOR) when an anti-RH advocate made threats of violence and ultimately resorted to it.
Kenneth Keng, the RH advocacy director of Filipino Freethinkers, was threatened and then assaulted byRizalito David, former senatorial candidate of the Ang Kapatiran Party and resource person of Pro Life Philippines.
It started with a brief exchange about how the RH Bill was part of America’s imperialist plot. David spoke loudly so that Keng would hear his accusation: those who didn’t agree that the Kissinger Population Report was imperialist was “bobo” (stupid). Keng replied that he has read the report and that he didn’t think it was stupid. David replied, “Like I said, bobo.” Keng ignored the comment and continued to record the hearing.
Later, while Rep. Garcia was discussing the allegedly imperialist funding of RH advocates, David told Keng about the questionable nature of the funding that RH advocacy groups received from foreigners. Keng replied that the Catholic Church and the anti-RH side also received foreign funding and that this was also questionable.
At this statement David started to get angry. He invited Ken to go outside with him (doon tayo sa labas) where he would make it absolutely clear how questionable the RH funding was when it was only the two of them (pag tayong dalawa na lang). The threatening tone and adversarial choice of words carried with it an implicit threat of violence. Keng pointed his cameraphone from the hearing to David to protect himself and gather evidence for these threats.
At this, David became furious. He stood up from where he sat 3 or 4 seats away, shouted some unintelligible words, and walked towards Keng with his arms slightly raised, as if prepared to throw fists. The people behind him managed to restrain him, so he pretended to have calmed down and sat beside Keng. Seated and unrestrained, David hit Keng’s cameraphone, which was next to Keng’s face, with the back of his hand, sending the cameraphone flying into Keng’s glasses.
David then stood up and walked out of the hall. Witnesses from the row behind picked up Keng’s phone and gave it to him.
Red Tani, president of the Filipino Freethinkers, rose from the seat next to Keng’s and followed David outside. He caught up introduced himself, and asked David who he was and which organization he worked with, also requesting that they discuss what had happened. David refused to identify himself. He accused Tani of committing an action against one of his (David’s) colleagues. Tani told David that this was the first time he’d even met David, and that he had no idea what action, colleague, or organization David was talking about. Keng arrived and asked David the same questions. David refused to reply with any information on his or his organization’s identity.
Keng and Tani followed David outside the hall and met other RH advocates in the lobby, where they discussed potential actions, such as filing a case against David in the precinct nearby, and submitting an incident report to Congress. They were about to approach David but he had started walking upstairs to where the other anti-RH advocates were.
Keng and Tani, accompanied by witnesses and other RH advocates, waited until the end of the session for David to return so that they could figure out who he was and discuss what had happened. At the end of the hearing, David finally emerged. He was escorted by Father Melvin Castro of the CBCP, discreetly walking near the edge of the lobby toward the exit.
Keng and Tani approached David and Castro to ask them about David’s then unknown identity (at this point the RH advocates didn’t know who David was). David and Castro ignored the pair and walked straight to the driveway outside. Keng continued to ask the question until it became obvious that David and Castro were determined to ignore him.
Later at the lobby, a fellow RH advocate identified the assailant as Rizalito David.
Filipino Freethinkers condemns the actions of Rizalito David: for indirectly calling Keng “bobo” (stupid), for threatening or at least provoking Keng with violence (doon tayo sa labas), and for hitting Keng’s cameraphone into his face. That this all happened inside the chamber of Congress while a legislative process was going on makes his actions even more unacceptable, especially considering the fact that David once aspired to become a legislator.
We also condemn how Rizalito David — and to a lesser extent, Melvin Castro — hid his identity from us after several polite attempts at civil dialogue. Hiding himself and even his identity after doing what he did only shows that he himself is ashamed of what he did, and knew that he was at fault.

In the next few days, we hope to get David sanctioned by Congress and banned from entering its premises. We will file an incident report in Congress tomorrow, and we’ll consider filing a lawsuit against Rizalito David — we have more than enough witnesses who are willing to testify.
The Filipino Freethinkers is a group of nonbelievers and progressive believers who practice and promote reason, science, and secularism. They have members around the world, with regional chapters in Davao and Cebu, university chapters in UP Diliman and UP Manila, and affiliate organizations in Asia and the US. For more information, visit .
# # #
If you’d like more information about this, or to schedule an interview with Kenneth Keng, please call 0917-9681387 or email him at




Excommunicate Me, I Support the RH Bill


Bravo MOCHA USON: Her take on the RH BILL in STYLE


I get a lot of questions on my email (, Facebook and Twitter regarding the RH Bill. What is RH Bill? Why do I support it? Would it help solve poverty in the Philippines? Does it promote abortion? Why is the Catholic Church against it?
The Mocha Girls and I are very active in promoting RH Bill for the following reasons:
1. Our country is over-populated. Whenever I see street kids begging for food and money, I wonder where their parents are. What will happen to these kids as they grow up? Who will educate them if their poor and uneducated parents are busy making more babies? The unemployment rate in our country continues to increase and so does criminality.
2. Teenage Pregnancy is increasing. A lot of young high school girls are getting pregnant. She maybe our neighbor or even a relative. When I first published my email (, I received lots of interesting stories. Some were good, hot sexperiences and some were pretty disturbing. A young 15 year old girl emailed me and told me that she’s troubled because her period’s delayed. She told me she just had unprotected sex. They did NOT use protection cuz her boyfriend said that condoms were unpleasurable.
3. Ignorance of the RH BILL. I asked my brother what does he think of the RH Bill. He said he’s anti-RH Bill. I asked him why? “Because our school said so”, he said. My younger brother is studying in UST, my alma mater. Like any other students, he is clueless about the RH Bill. He said that the RH Bill was bad or evil because the priests say so.
Yes, there are many people who are AGAINST RH BILL because of plain IGNORANCE. I will not explain RH BILL like what you see in other blogs. But I will try my best to simplify & summarize the RH BILL for everyone to simply understand it.

What is RH BILL?

RH BILL or REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH BILL summary of provision:

1. SEX EDUCATION is required from grade five to fourth year high school.
Anti-RH BILL supporters say- It is the parents’ responsibility to teach their children about sex education.
I SAY- How can parents teach their children about SEX if they themselves are uneducated. Would you rather be taught about sex by your parents or a professional teacher? In a CLASS D & E society, would you trust the irresponsible parents to teach their children about sex? They can’t even teach them proper hygiene so how would they teach SEX in a very responsible way?
Even if the RH Bill was passed, the parents still have the right to decide whether to allow their child to take Sex Education. At least the government is giving them access to sex education.
Anti-RH say – Natural Family Planning is the only acceptable method in God’s Eyes.
I say- Religion is something debatable. Not all Filipinos are Catholic. Educate the people and let them be the one to decide which is moral or not.The Government through Barangays will not only educate the people but the Government will make sure the Contraceptives are available especially to the poor areas. 
3. Although abortion is recognized as illegal and punishable by law, the bill states that, “the government shall ensure that all women needing care for post-abortion complications shall be treated and counseled in a humane, non-judgmental and compassionate manner.”
Anti- RH say – RH Bill promotes abortion.
I Say- the “right” use of Contraceptives will PREVENT abortion. “Sinners” , as how the church would call them, should not be condemned. They should be educated and helped so they wouldn’t repeat their mistake.
What pisses me the most is that Anti-RH insists the RH Bill promotes sex. Such hypocrites! Sex exists everywhere! That’s why we need to educate the youth about it. I receive lots of emails about girls being lied to by their boyfriends. Saying that condoms are not cool, not effective and not as fun and can even trigger AIDS/HIV just so they can have unprotected sex! One girl told me that she and her bf are doing the withdrawal method. The guy pulls out his penis from the vagina when he’s about to come. The problem is guys can ejaculate without them even knowing it. Pre-cum or pre-ejaculate is a clear fluid that comes out of male’s penis before they ejaculate. Although it is a small amount the girl can still get pregnant and contract STD’s (sexually transmitted disease) from it. That’s why the withdrawal method is NOT effective. Proper use of CONDOM can prevent STDs and unwanted pregnancy.
Lastly, we should all be alarmed by the increasing incidence of AIDS/HIV in our country. Research say there’s an estimated 11,000 undocumented and unreported HIV and AIDS cases in the country since 2008. The incidence of HIV and AIDS in the Philippines is hidden and growing. Now that’s pretty scary. Did you know that AIDS/HIV symptoms take years (even 10 years!) before they appear? So, if you had unprotected sex 9 years ago, it is still possible for you to have HIV/AIDS now. That’s why I encourage everyone to practice safe sex. Use condom! These facts can only be learned thru Sex Education and not through our parents alone. Only Sex Education experts can provide us with this kind of information. This is what I am fighting for- BE EDUCATED and LIVE FREE!
As I have said, there are more explanations regarding the scope of RH BILL. I don’t claim to be an expert on this. I want you to understand and embrace the RH BILL. Do some research and study the RH BIllDon’t just believe the PRIESTS. RH Bill not solely the answer to POVERTY in our country. But this one helps a lot. So whether you are a celebrity, an Executive or an ordinary Citizen – it’s time to stand against what the Catholic Church is saying.
Forgive me father, but YOU have sinned. You have been lying to the people. RH Bill is Pro-Life!


No, Mocha. You have not sinned, i agree. I also laud you for your bravery and taking a stand. It is really high time that people in showbusiness also impart their take on the issue as Filipinos look up to their idols in the business. They should also be brave enough to speak their minds. CONGRATULATIONS AND KEEP IT UP.





H.E. Benigno Aquino III
President, Republic of the Philippines
MalacaƱang Palace
J.P. Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila, NCR, 1005

Subject: Commitment to end impunity missing in Human Rights Council pledges

Your Excellency, 

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) regret that the culture of impunity for serious human rights abuses and the Philippine government’s commitment to end it is missing in the country’s voluntary pledges and commitments submitted for its bid for re-election to the UN Human Rights Council [1]. 

As we approach the one year mark of your first term as president, your promise to seek justice for victims of extra-judicial killings and to “hold murderers accountable”, contained in your first State of the Nation Address, has become a distant memory. The Filipino people and the international community have seen little substantive progress in the pursuit for justice and accountability to back up those words. Since assuming office, there was no public statement or declaration committing to sign and implement the national human rights action plan or any other policy that would promote and mainstream human rights in the your administration. 

With the re-election of the Philippines to the Human Rights Council on 20 May, your administration must demonstrate strong political will and take the necessary steps to end a persistent culture of impunity and to bring perpetrators of serious abuses to justice. This is particularly applicable to those affiliated with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP). 

In the voluntary pledges and commitments, your government promised to “enhance domestic implementation of all human rights treaty obligations and programmes.” However, serious human rights abuses continue to occur, in a context of on-going impunity. Abuses in recent months include the assassinations of Mr Gerardo Ortega, journalist and environmental rights defender in Palawan Island, and Mr. Bonifacio Labasan, who had defended farmers’ rights in Isabela Province. Local rights groups have documented as many as 40 extra-judicial killings since the advent of your administration, some of which have been linked to members of the AFP. 

In December 2010, the AFP released its Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP). The IPSP clearly stated that it is the AFP’s ‘strategic imperative’ to adhere to human rights, international humanitarian law and the rule of law. The AFP promised it “shall ensure the prosecution of all AFP personnel found guilty of violating HR, IHL, and other pertinent laws.” [2]. However, due to lack of explicit authoritative orders from the Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief of the AFP, and the absence of due diligence of the Human Rights Offices of both the PNP and AFP, the statements of adherence to the primacy of human rights, unless immediately substantiated by concrete steps to break impunity, could just be perceived as mere propaganda, erode whatever gains that have been made, and undermine the credibility of and public trust in state institutions. 

We are further appalled at House Resolution 1135 before the Philippine Congress, authored by Congressman Salvador Escudero, which proposed that former President Ferdinand Marcos be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Cemetery for Heroes). The resolution reportedly has the support of 215 congressional representatives. The scale and scope of human rights abuses under Marcos’s rule are immense and well documented. To bestow the status of hero on Marcos would be a grave insult and betrayal to the thousands of individuals and their families who were victims under his authoritarian rule. 

In light of the persistent failures in key areas of human rights protection, and regarding the fact that any member of the Human Rights Council should uphold the highest standards human rights standards, our organisations have the following general recommendations for your administration: 

* Conduct prompt, impartial and independent investigations into all allegations of human rights abuses implicating members of state actors, including the AFP and PNP; 

* Further strengthen and provide efficient and adequate witness protection in all cases, especially in key ones with the high likelihood of breaking impunity; 

* Publicly oppose House Resolution 1135; 

* Issue a standing invitation to all UN special procedures to conduct country visits, including the Special Rapporteurs on Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; on human rights defenders; and on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism; 

* Take the necessary measures to fully and effectively implement all the recommendations made by the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; 

* Encourage the Senate to immediately ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and consider signing and ratifying additional human rights instruments, including the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. 

Thank you in advance for your serious consideration of our concerns and recommendations. 

Sincerely yours, 

Souhayr Belhassen
FIDH President 

Max de Mesa
PAHRA Chairperson 

Copies to: 

Hon. Albert del Rosario
Acting Secretary of Foreign Affairs 

Hon. Leila De Lima
Secretary of Justice 

Justice Renato C. Corona
Chief Justice
Supreme Court 

Hon. Juan Ponce Enrile
Senate President
Philippine Senate 

Hon. Feliciano Belmonte
Speaker of the House
House of Representatives 

Hon. Loretta Ann Rosales
Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines 

H.E. Erlinda F. Basilio
Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva 

Press contacts: 

Arthur Manet : +33 1 43 55 90 19 / +33 6 72 28 42 94 

Karine Appy: +33 1 43 55 14 12 / +33 6 48 05 91 57