Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Solidarity: a moral lesson for my sons and my niece

My gay hairdresser and I were in deep discussion about the LGBT rally, when the call from the television station came.

Dear Boys and Diana,

A long time ago, when I used to join the drivers of faculty members of the UP College of Medicine for lunch, I noticed that they behaved very differently towards faculty members who drove their own cars.

Dr. Marita Reyes, beloved of her students and beloved of her ex-students such as myself, never needed to find an empty parking space in the perpetually crowded parking lot. The minute she drove up, several of the drivers would volunteer to park her car for her. Instant and free valet service.

On the other hand, another doctor professor whom we shall not name, was left to fend for herself.

Your grandmother was the same way. She would enter the phone company, the bank or the electrical company to pay her bills, and would have at least one teller waving at her so that she could be attended to quickly.

I knew your grandmother's secret because I asked her about it. She said that if you really wanted your life to be easy, befriend the little people who actually did the work. For example, the bank teller who had a flower in her cubicle, received an orchid from your grandmother's garden on the next visit.

Yesterday, still in the advocacy t-shirt I wore for the rally to protest the non-accreditation of our LGBT political party, I requested our office driver to leave me at the beauty parlor. I needed a haircut and decided that walking home would be good exercise.

My gay hairdresser and I were in deep discussion about the LGBT rally, when the call from the television station came, requesting an interview. I agreed on condition that the TV crew pick me up from the parlor to take me home. My hairdresser would not have me go on TV to fight for his rights sans make up! He and his assistant gave up their tip (I had brought just enough to pay for the haircut and tip)so I could pay for the make up.

Those friends who saw me last night, and who are used to seeing me with an unmade face with its full complement of spots and wrinkles, have been teasing me about this. I do hope they liked the make-over.

In the interview I spoke of the psychological studies, decades old and never falsified by succeeding studies, that gay people are normal human beings. Except, that like many other groups, society discriminates against them. Many of them are part of that group your grandmother called "the little people" and what activists call "the marginalized". As your grandmother said, it is the little people who we must treat with respect. They are the ones whose rights we must guard as jealously as we guard are own. The ones to whom we must show compassion, or as the activist say, whose struggles we must join.

Forgive your corny mother (aunt), because I have seen this in you and know that you continue the family tradition without the drama. But I do want to play the role of the repetitive older one--you will appreciate the values drill someday

I add to your grandmother's wisdom--sometimes there is such a thing as John Lennon's Instant Karma--do a good deed and end up looking good (looking better?) on TV.

Or maybe, we might channel the philosopher Spinoza: altruism and compassion are a really good idea even for your own bottom line.

All my love,

Mother (and Tita Guy)

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