Fiesta is one of the traditions here in the Philippines. When a barangay is celebrating Fiesta there are lots of foods, mass, procession of saints and all sort of stuffs. In procession, there are some group of males dressing like females, make-ups are all over their faces, and they even put flowers on their ears, and wear wigs. And to top that, they are dancing in the beat like a girl. There are few people laughing at them, they think they are crazy and just attention seeker, and some group of children yelling at them saying, “Gays, gays, gays!!!” You know what’s the frustrating part in my story? You can guess. The frustrating part is how the people around judge them…labeled them. Especially the kids, this somehow shows that since we are a little child, we’ve been taught that anything different from what adults told us is weird. Anything different from the majority is not normal, that they are less and those in majority are the greatest. Those words are unspoken but you know what? Unspoken words are the strongest and hurts the most. We’ve been conditioned that men should only wear masculine shirts and women must wear skirt and girly things. Other than that? Different from that? They are called gays and lesbians. We’ve been trapped in that logic for so long. At least now, most people learned to respect the gender preferences. LGBT somehow learned to carve their own place in this world. But still, there are people who just can’t keep their eyes on themselves when a man dress like a woman and vice versa.
Another frustrating thing is how most of us react with those who have their own practices in life, like clans who have superstitious beliefs, “panata” and so on. We should not care with their own practices, if they don’t hurt people because that’s how there life goes on. We usually see them as not normal because they don’t do things like we do. Another is how some elders are so good at stereotyping. You know what I mean right? They thought that all teenagers are the same. Like, hello? Wake up. We are all different. And there reason that, “Been there, done that" sucks a lot. Not all teenagers are so fond of doing the same mistakes and all. Not all the teenagers are easy to be swayed. And not all the teenagers out there are hard headed.
You know what matters the most? It’s not the differences. It’s how we see them and what we cost them to do because we are so into their unusual practices, appearance, and behaviors. Some of those we often called “weirds” have learned to conform and hide their true colors because they are afraid that they may be branded as crazy. And some who failed to conform, sadly, they are now six feet under the ground…lifeless. See? We can cost them life. By simply staring at them and make gossips, we can crush their self-esteem until they shut themselves in this cruel world. Before we know it, we have created a monstrous world to live and they are the prey. We haunt and ate them alive.
Most of the time we do social norming and stereotyping. There are moments that we make stigma, like, for example, we usually think that we should be afraid of Muslim people because most of them are terrorist, which is not true. I know I’m into the field of psychology and I should be thankful of norming because through norms, I can differentiate normal and abnormal but I just can’t be okay with it. Because I think those who are not in the norm… those who don’t belong in majority… those whom we usually called abnormal and weird are just different – unique. They are not less, they are made for something else. Maybe you think I’m talking craps here and it’s so boring but I just want all of you to realize that we can do something for them and not just judging and staring at them. We can help them be less anxious and afraid of being different. How? Through breaking our stigma about them. We can make a difference. We can create a carefree world. A world that everyone is not afraid of existing. It is a challenge for us to defy the social norms.