Why Michael V's Gusto Ko Nang Bumigay is a Redemption Moment

Michael V Gusto Ko Nang Bumigay

(SPOT.ph) In his first viral hit of the post-pandemic era, Michael V wails "gusto ko nang bumigay" in a parody of Morissette Amon's power ballad about breaking free from a dysfunctional relationship, reworking the lyrics to capture the pain of a closeted gay man, the kind that he endures in silence.

Notching 7.3 million views in two days, there's a rawness in Bitoy's delivery of "Gusto Ko Nang Bumigay" (not necessarily the lyrics) that invites empathy, unlike his other song about being trapped in the closet -- "Hindi Ako Bakla" -- that ridiculed gay men who act like straight men as if they're not allowed to. The punchline to that 2006 hit, did nothing to redeem its message -- "'Di ako bakla, babae ako."

By  capturing all the feels of life in the closet in Gusto Ko Nang Bumigay, Michael V redeemed himself from his old gags, said Eva Le Queen, a top 4 finalist of Drag Race Philippines.

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Michael V, whose comedy career spanned four decades, is now speaking to an audience that's more aware of the LGBTQIA+ cause and the fine line between raising awareness and perpetuating stereotypes and punchlines. Verse by verse, Bitoy reveals outfit after outfit in a nod to the "ru-veals" on Drag Race.

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"When someone comes out, please recognize it as an act of courage because it really is," Percival Cendana of Akbayan partylist told reportr in an interview about celebrities coming out as gay or trans. Akbayan is one of the prime movers of the SOGIE Equality Bill in the Philippines, which has been questioned by religious conservatives.

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Sifting through the 7,000 comments on the Facebook video post, audiences felt the pain that the GMA Network comedian was trying to sing about. There was also caution about perpetuating decades-old stereotypes. The character in the song has avoided getting caught by his wife, endured abuse by his parents and wondered how it felt to be more fashion-forward. After all, he's in his 50s.

Michael V sings about coming out, Pinoy style

Gusto Ko Nang Bumigay follows the public coming-out of celebrities like Raymond Gutierrez, Jake Zyrus, and silverscreen veteran Gina Pareno. It followed the mainstream success of Drag Race Philippines and preceded Drag Den with Manila Luzon.

Back in the 80's,  the heyday of Michael V's elders in comedy, walking like a duck and putting a flower behind one's ear is supposed to be ridiculous.

"What is happening now is a reminder to all of us to always uphold and embrace our fundamental pride values of diversity and inclusivity. While advocating for equality regardless of SOGIESC, we must practice within our communities acceptance and compassion," Cendana said.

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Philippine society is at most tolerant and still not fully understanding, moreso accepting of the fact that gender is fluid. Society is also heteronormative at best — everyone is presumed "straight".

Coming out is an act of courage that should be celebrated, not ridiculed

In Love, Simon, a 2018 film based on the bestselling book Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, the concept of coming out is portrayed as a process that takes many forms and to many different people. "You won't come out to your mom the same way you do to your friend. Some people will live for years keeping their sexual orientation secret from certain people in their lives while being out to others. None of those options are wrong," Refinery29 noted.

Even when one is heterosexual and happen to embody traits that are typically regarded as effiminate, they are often ridiculed, leaving them to have to prove their sexuality. 

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Bimby Aquino-Yap, for one, told his mother Kris Aquino in an April 2021 vlog that he was "straight as an iPad", hoping to put an end to the public's long-held assumptions that he was gay. “Well you know Bimb, whatever you choose to be, it’s none of their business," the Philippines' queen of all media said, offering support that is rare for a Filipino parent for all of social media to see. 

In all instances of coming out, regardless of privilege, one's coming out should be celebrated and met with as much support, as "LGBTQ+ persons should be one in lifting each other up", said Cendana. Ultimately, the goal is for people to not have to come out as they can be just themselves, society's opinions be damned.

Coming out means coming to terms with ones SOGIESC or Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sex Characteristics, taking into account the stigma that comes with it, Cendana said.

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