The Philippines still has a long way to go when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance.
As we celebrated Pride month last June, we witnessed different groups who still refuse to grasp the concept of human diversity, and how love encompasses all forms.
However, as society forces submission to certain beliefs and ideologies, the LGBTQ+ community resists stronger. People are steadfast, passionate, and braver. Even Philippine cinema.
Recent years have shown us that directors, producers, and artists are becoming braver, bolder, and choose to portray truth. That love is love, we are all human, and it should be shown on the big screen for everyone to see.
Watching western LGBTQ+ films are different. They don’t portray our culture and the kind of restrictions that Filipino society have. It is a different kind of box that they try to cage the community into, and seeing queer lives through the lenses of Filipino queer, in a Filipino setting reaches out more. Local films touch more issues embedded in the everyday situations of a Filipino queer.
And because of this, the rising number of LGBT+ Filipino films are apparent. Here are some of our favorites that you don’t want to miss:
Die Beautiful (2016)
Don’t be fooled by this trailer. It may seem easily flamboyant and your typical slapstick comedy, but there is so much more to this film. It tackles friendship, love, stereotypes, equality parenthood, and most of all, the true meaning of family. Paolo Balesteros played the role of Trisha, a colorful transgender woman, flawlessly. Her life shows the struggles of the transgender community in the Philippines and is very relevant up to this very day.
2 Cool 2 be 4gotten (2016)
This is a coming of age story for Felix, played by Khalil Ramos, who is intelligent but socially isolated, especially being in a small-town high school. Being a friendless achiever, his life suddenly changes at the arrival of half-American twin brothers, awakening desires he never thought he had.
Deadma Walking (2017)
A Palanca-winning comedy about gay best friends for life John played by Joross Gamboa, and Mark portrayed by Edgar Allan Guzman, whose friendship is put to the test when one of them finds out that they have cancer. John asks Mark to help him stage his fake death, wake, and funeral as his dying wish. The result is a laugh-fest of “deadly” proportions, but also a journey through the lives of these two gay best friends as they come across love in all forms.
Si Chedeng at si Apple (2017)
After her husband’s death, 66-year-old Chedeng who is played by Gloria Diaz, comes out of her closet, and announces at a radio show that she seeks for her ex lover, Lydia Cantillo. Accompanied by her best friend, Apple who is played by Elizabeth Oroposa⎯who happens to be on the run following a bloody “accident” with her abusive partner, Teroy Guzman, the two go off on the greatest adventure of their lives—with a Louis Vuitton bag in tow.
Changing Partners (2018)
What’s better than a movie? A movie musical. Based on the Palanca Award-winning musical play by Vincent de Jesus, this film adaptation tells the story of couple Alex and Cris at the period of breaking up. Their story is told in four relationship variations. It is a falling out of love story for Alex and Cris, told in changing gender pairings, and it shows the ups and downs of a domestic partnership, where joys turn to pains in scathing and dramatic talks and encounter interspersed with songs.
Billie & Emma (2018)
Billie played by Zar Donato, is exiled to an exclusive Catholic school in the province after her parents find out that she’s dating a girl. But soon she meets Emma, played by Gabby Padilla. A typical straight-A student dating the basketball player. They soon fall in love, but things take a very complicated turn when Emma finds out she’s pregnant. More than a coming-of-age tale, it also tackles homophobia, gender policing, religious bigotry, and teen pregnancy stigmas.
Art by Tricia Guevara
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