Philippine Gay Culture

Binabae to Bakla, Silahis to MSM


J. Neil C. Garcia

ISBN : 978-962-209-985-2

Cultural Studies, Gender Studies Queer Asia (酷兒亞洲)

May 2009

564 pages, 6″ x 9″

Not for sale in the Philippines

  • HK$195.00

Phillipine Gay Culture is a descriptive survey of popular and academic writings on and by Filipino male homosexuals, as well as a genealogy of discourses of male homosexuality and the bakla and/or gay identities that emerged in urban Philippines from the 1960s to the present. This conceptual history engages recent events in the Philippines’ sexually self-aware present, but also explores colonial history in showing how modernity implanted a new sexual order of “homo/hetero” and further marginalized the effeminate local identity of bakla. Garcia analyzes several works by bakla writers and artists that narrate hybridity, appropriation, and postcolonial resistance and in their own way, enriched Philippine gay culture and the Philippines as a whole. This book will appeal to scholars of literary history, postcolonial studies, cultural studies, gender studies, and Asian history.

J. Neil C. Garcia is Professor of English, Creative Writing, and Comparative Literature at the University of the Philippines. He is the author of numerous poetry collections and works of cultural criticism, including Postcolonialism and Filipino Poetics: Essays and Critiques.

“First published thirteen years ago, Philippine Gay Culture was immediately recognized as a landmark in the study of male homosexuality in modern Asia and especially in the continent’s former colonies. Written by a Filipino homosexual who is also a distinguished scholar, a fine poet, an acute literary critic, and an angry polemicist, it combined sophisticated theoretical innovation with excellent research, insider gossip, and an idiosyncratic political radicalism. It has become an unforgettable classic. The present edition is still more valuable because it includes both a detailed update on Filipino culture in the broadest sense, as well as a thoughtful self-criticism of the original work, highlighting Garcia’s new interest in the formative power of nationalism in a postcolonial globalized world.” —Benedict Anderson, Cornell University

“Garcia is one of the most highly respected scholars on gender and sexuality in the Philippines. He is also an accomplished poet and prizewinning essayist. Over the years, he has written pioneering scholarship on the history and politics of gay cultures and the transnational formation of queer cultures between Asia, the US and Europe. His work is widely read and celebrated among those interested in the cross-cultural history of sexuality in the Asia-Pacific region and in the US.” —Vicente Rafael, University of Washington

Philippine Gay Culture is a founding text of comparative gay and lesbian studies that has supported the emergence of Asian queer studies in this decade. By meticulously constructing a literary and historiographical archive from scattered Philippine sources on male homosexuality and transgenderism, Garcia has laid a foundation for comparative analyses of modern gay identities in both Asia and the West. Garcia’s hybridized method critically engages both nativist accounts that claim an essentialized Filipino homosexual/transgender identity and Euro-Amerocentric approaches that universalize Western theories of sexuality.” —Peter Jackson, Australian National University