Tuesday, September 25, 2012


A critique of the song "Sirena" by Anonymous.

The LGBT camp has once again won immensely in the ongoing cultural war, which grows fiercer by the day. A new single titled “Sirena” seems to have snagged a major deal with FM radio stations for massive airplay, and mainstream listeners seem to like the result.

“Sirena,” which literally means “siren” or “mermaid,” is a new song that asserts the gay identity to be a fixed, natural, and thus unchangeable identity among some people somehow burdened with their XY chromosome. It is admittedly a song designed to appeal to the masses, by making use of an effective lyric and melody and rallying the best possible talents to the LGBT cause in its production, especially the accompanying video production. It employs the husky, empathetic voice of former Sugarfree lead singer, Ebe Dancel, an award-winning vocalist who’s popular among the youth, as well as some unique beats from Gloc-9, an equally multi-awarded and popular rapper.

The video version is especially noteworthy. It narrates a story of a boy who is routinely bullied by chauvinistic men because he is different from the other boys: he acts like a girl and is sexually attracted to good-looking boys. Truth be told, the story is typical, but the visual telling is effective enough in tugging at the heartstrings and ensnaring the viewer to take the side of abused. At the end of the video are shots of various personalities freezing for the camera, as though caught in the middle of busy work. In effect, these relatively prominent names who are successful in their chosen fields such as Boy Abunda (TV), Tuxs Rutaquio (theater), and Carlo Vergara (graphic arts) seem to say, “Look at me, I may be gay, but I am successful.” It’s a roundabout way of saying, “Hooray for gays and the gay lifestyle.”

To be fair, the overall concept is not new. There are a few but similar local songs in the past with the same theme. Eraserheads had the compassionate-sounding “Jay,” which describes a male friend who is tormented by his gender identity confusion, and as expected, he is judged and persecuted for it by society. A lesser-known artist went down the humorous path with a song titled "Nagmamahal Ako ng Bakla," which essentially says, “I’m a guy, but I’d rather have a relationship with gays, who always lavish me with gifts and favors, than endure difficult women, who take advantage of me then torture me with heartbreak.” This particular song, I imagine, should be insulting to the so-called gays, but I won’t be surprised to learn if some ‘gays’ would welcome the arrangement.

“Sirena,” however, is different in that it seems to have found greater mainstream acceptance, if not for its sound, then for its message of “Let us all accept gays for who and what they are.” To its credit, “Sirena” goes deeper by its neat usage of metaphor. With the songwriter’s declaration, “Ako ay isang sirena” (’I am a mermaid’), the song plays around the mermaid metaphor, as though saying, “I am a mermaid (the insider term for ‘gay’), and that is that. No matter what the rest of the world says, I will stay gay even if you drown me in a drum filled with water. I will instead dive into its depths as any self-respecting mermaid would.”

Behind this success of delivery of the message, however, is one big failure of assumption and the ensuing tragedy of claiming a false identity. “Sirena” is kind-hearted at its core, for who can argue against human rights violation or plain unkind behavior, particularly the bullying of the weak? But by embracing oneself as ‘gay,’ the songwriter assumes, wrongly, that since he was “born gay,” he is bound to “fall in love” with men and have sex with them. He wrongly assumes that what he does or chooses or prefers to do is what he is. As the psychologist Dr. Melvin Wong puts it, “If you see yourself as a hammer, everything will look like a nail.” Further, the songwriter is bound to assume that any negative social reaction to his gayness is a form of oppression, persecution, or discrimination. What if he is wrong? What if he turned ‘gay’ not because it’s in his genes or nature, but because he has had a personal history of abuse (whether real or as interpreted)? What then?

For me and other ‘ex-gays’ who believe in the reverse and who’ve seen that people can change, the song espouses a downright wrong, cynical, and sad view of homosexuality, a view that is harmful to a lot of young boys suffering from the problem of same-sex attraction, especially unwanted same-sex attraction. “Sirena” spells death because it doesn’t tell the whole truth. It stops at the bullying of homosexuals by men, which is a sad reality, but nothing can be farther from the truth than the equally sad mistake that gayness is good and to be encouraged, even applauded as heroic in the face of wide social disapproval.

As someone who has benefited immensely from one-on-one and group counseling or cognitive behavioral therapy, reparative therapy, trauma therapy, inner child retreat, psychogenetics retreat, bibliotherapy, spiritual therapy, life-coaching, etc. just to have my unwanted same-sex attraction healed or reversed or at least diminished, I am constrained to declare my discovery of the plain truth. As someone who has seen so many fellow former homosexuals getting out of the gay lifestyle and the false self-identification we have grown accustomed to since childhood, as someone who has seen a number reverting to heterosexuality, getting married, having children, and discovering each of their religious and secular vocations, I have the duty to say my piece.

I am not ‘bakla’ or a gay man, as I used to think I was. I was created by God as a man, and He claims me as no less than His friend, brother, or son. God doesn’t create people ‘gay,’; it is negative life incidents and circumstances and people’s behavioral flaws and sins (interpreted by the young boy as abusive or unloving) that does.

I pity everyone, ‘gay’ or ‘straight’ alike, who is taken in by the error that such songs as “Sirena” popularizes. Because of the weightiness of the subject and its moral consequences, I believe no one deserves to be deceived by the lie. I pray that the music industry and its listeners will be more discerning in the kind of music they churn out and listen to.

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