This TV Show Told A Gay Dad To Go Back Into The Closet And A Lesbian Mom Stood Up For Him

When a gay father of two boys asked how he might help his kids not be teased at school because of his sexuality and gender presentation, he was told to go back into the closet.

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Eat...Bulaga!, a popular noon time show in the Philippines, featured an out gay man named Diamond with a wife and children, asking for advice.

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youtube.com / Via youtube.com

Diamond gets on stage at the 26:48 mark, where he is asked repeatedly by the show's hosts in Tagalog, "Is that really your birth name?"

Diamond asked what he can do to prevent his kids from being bullied for having a gay father.

GMA / Via youtube.com

"My problem is that I have three kids — two are boys — and I have experienced being discriminated and teased by people who didn't understand my being gay," Diamond said in Tagalog. "One of my kids is about to go to school. Of course, when I take him to school and his classmates see me like this, it's unavoidable that he will be teased too. My problem is how do I prevent this, [I need] a solution wherein my kids won't be involved."

One of the hosts suggested that Diamond change the way he dressed, behaved, and looked.

GMA / Via youtube.com

Comedian Jose Manalo told Diamond in Tagalog, "The very first thing you need to do…you — Can you try and not change your sexual orientation, but instead change your gender expression? You can still be gay."

The hosts also said that Diamond's children might also be mistaken to be gay because their father identifies as gay.

GMA / Via youtube.com

"Take care of your sons," Manalo said in Tagalog. "Maybe when they're being teased that their dad is gay, your sons might retort with, 'Why? Do you think it's just our dad? We're gay too!' Right? That's even scarier!"

Diamond replied in Tagalog, "I will try [to change] for my kids." At the end of the segment, Diamond was asked if he learned anything from the hosts' advice. He replied that he did not and left the stage.

The televised exchange moved Cha Roque, a lesbian mom with an 11-year-old daughter, to write an open letter to Eat...Bulaga!

Facebook: cha.cherryred

The letter has been shared over 1,400 times on Facebook and has been picked up by major local news sites.

I am a lesbian mom and I chose not to hide in the closet, because I love my kid. I don't think she deserves to be lied to and lying to her about who I am is the biggest betrayal. You don't hide secrets from the people you love — more so your identity. It is shows like yours and opinions like those that was expressed in your show that encourages the bullying of LGBT people and their families....We (LGBT people) do not want to hide. We want to be accepted, and acceptance is different from being tolerated. It is not okay that you are only okay with us if we keep quiet. It is not okay that you coexist with us just as long as we don't complain about how we are treated.You are not in the position to tell this guy "bumalik sa closet" or "bakit kasi nag-asa-asawa" or threaten to hurt him (jokingly). You are promoting a culture of hate. You are telling the world that corrective beating up is okay to make a gay guy become manly. You are telling the world that the only key to be accepted is to hide who you truly are.We have the right to our choices. We know who we are and you don't have the right to tell us to be otherwise.

Roque told BuzzFeed Philippines she wrote the open letter because she wanted to educate people about how these kinds of statements result in a culture of hate and discrimination.

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"I want to raise that even if the said portion was primarily meant to entertain and to make people laugh, the show and the hosts have a responsibility of doing so in a responsible manner," she told BuzzFeed Philippines. "Comments like 'this is just for fun' do not justify the dangers that certain statements or actions would bring about."

Roque believes writing her open letter to the show was her duty as a mother and a member of the LGBT community.

"I am an out and proud lesbian mom," she told BuzzFeed Philippines. "I just really wanted to share my thoughts because I have seen and experienced struggles that LGBT families go through. My letter is not an attack. It was carefully written and I tried not to let my feelings get in the way. I tried to be as objective as I can because what I wanted was to get my point across — to be heard by the people who are part of the show and can do something about the issue."

Many Filipinos on Facebook have showed Roque their support.

Facebook: leni.velasco

While many in the LGBT community have voiced their support for Roque, there were also comments from those who thought she was being overly sensitive and missed the point of the Eat...Bulaga! hosts' humor.

Neither Eat...Bulaga! nor its parent network GMA have responded to Roque’s open letter, but one of the show’s hosts, Paolo Ballesteros, posted this photo of a beauty pageant on his Instagram account.

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Ballesteros is known for his Instagram account where he wears make-up done in a way to look like female celebrities.

In response to a comment that said, "Y'all could've handled the situation better," Ballesteros said in Tagalog, "Make your own show and host it so you wouldn't be annoyed."

Roque said that she thought twice about writing the open letter, but ultimately decided she could not stand idly by.

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"To be honest, I came to a point where I thought it was better to shut up since my partner and I are accepted by my family," she said. "But I just can't keep living like that. Somehow, I felt the responsibility to stand up for the people I love, for people who are like me. I feel that I should be part of their fight even if I am not going through the same struggles as they are."

BuzzFeed Philippines has reached out to GMA for comment.

Loreen Ordono is a contributor to BuzzFeed Philippines and is based in Manila.

Contact Loreen Ordono at matt.ortile+loreenordono@buzzfeed.com.

Matt Ortile (or-TEE-lay) works in editorial operations at BuzzFeed, is the editor of BuzzFeed Philippines, and is based in New York.

Contact Matt Ortile at matt.ortile@buzzfeed.com.

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