WE NEED TO STOP ASSUMING SOMEONE’S SEXUALITY BASED ON OUR OWN BIAS, ESPECIALLY 13-YEAR OLD BIMBY
The Internet has, yet again, labelled Bimby as gay due to his 'effeminate' gestures and expressions. What does this say about our society, and our readiness to assume a child's sexuality, even before they've said anything about the matter?
Perhaps since he was a little kid, James “Bimby” Aquino Yap has been the subject of tabloid gossip and social media chatter as the son of one of the country’s biggest celebrities, Kris Aquino, and one of the most popular names in local basketball, James Yap. He’s been under the local spotlight since he was born, and his family has had its fair share of rumors and unfounded stories throughout the years.
Bimby, however, has received his own brand of ridicule from Filipino society due to his close relationship with his mom Kris Aquino, a woman the country has known to be very “kikay” and “maarte.” She is also known to be a strong ally of the LGBTQ+ community, with most of her friends and staff members identifying as part of the group. Because of all of this, people of the Internet—or perhaps the general Filipino populace as a whole—have took it upon themselves to label his sexuality based on his actions and expressions, and what our society deems to be appropriate for certain genders.
A video circulated online this past week documenting Kris Aquino and Bimby having a normal conversation over a meal, and the Internet has repeatedly taken apart the clip to discuss the 13-year old’s mannerisms.
— ★heretic for hire????⚔️???? (@BL00DTH0RN) March 5, 2021
The overarching theme apparent in majority of the comments the video received was people poking fun at Bimby’s actions, and saying that they “always knew he was gay.”
The sentiment itself presents several problematic points relating to our society’s reaction to gay people, celebrity children, and gender stereotypes. For one, many from the LGBTQ+ community expressed their disappointment at adult gay members openly making fun of Bimby’s reaction, and putting his sexuality inside a box.
Several points were made about how they, themselves, should understand more than most about what it feels like to be labelled “gay” as a young child, with probably not much understanding of what it entails. And for Bimby, this has been going on for years, just because of who his mother is and how he chooses to express himself.
The number of people quoting this tweet and saying shit like "I always knew he's gay" or implies that Bimby is gay is disgusting. He's 13 years old, for Christ's sake. Let the child be. Some of you are adults already and you still have time to pick on a child's sexuality? https://t.co/DpZHCBF4wc
— Erin Broke Bitch (@gianverona) March 5, 2021
Gays, remember the time when people made fun of the 13 yr-old-you because ur voice wasnt as firm, u walk differently and u gesticulate dramatically?
Dont do that to bimby. We should all know better by now how it affects a kid
— Joaquin Closet (@andy_crush) March 5, 2021
Yall really thought Bimby's sexuality is your business? PH gays are the most unaccepting gays really.
— Tone-deaf BARDA ???? (@Monchkinsss) March 5, 2021
Moreover, this is yet another example of Filipinos feeling entitled to a celebrity’s—and by extension, a celebrity child’s—life, choices, and whereabouts. As if being under the public spotlight automatically allows people to talk about their personal lives like it’s a piece of national news. Never mind the fact that the subject of discussion is a child, a minor, and someone who did not actually choose to live under the public’s watchful eye, but was rather born into a family that’s already right smack in the middle.
We should also talk about gender stereotypes, and how certain actions and expressions are always categorized to be “masculine”, “feminine”, or “gay.” Bimby covering his mouth with his hands being labelled as “effeminate”—and him being a teenage boy doing that, therefore making him “gay”—presents a multitude of bias that we must all act on to unravel and unlearn. These very notions are at the very core of putting people in boxes because of their gender, and acts as roots of prejudice and age-old stereotypes based on how we expect people to behave.
Una, walang paternal figure si Bimby sa loob ng bahay. What actions do you expect from a teen that grew up with a very kikay mother and a queer production team? Pangalawa, just because someone is effeminate doesn't mean they're gay. Pangatlo, his sexuality is non of your business https://t.co/6qpLtaBizT
— gael (@morganacoraline) March 5, 2021
I know Bimby has been subject to countless memes but him being effeminate or possibly being gay is none of your business, nor should you ridicule any male for being "malambot" or a female for being "too boyish". Sit your ass down.
— ???????????????????? ???? (@carinIUbrutal) March 5, 2021
All of this plays into our country’s internalized homophobia, resulting to a teenage boy being dragged in as an unwilling punching bag for Filipinos’ own biases and disrespectful definitions of a joke.
It’s a good thing that Kris Aquino is a progressive mother who teaches his son to respect people as human beings, without letting gender orientation, identity, and sexual preference color his humanity—something we must all teach each other as well. Bimby might very well be more educated than most adults today when it comes to homophobia and basic human decency.
I love how Kris Aquino raised Bimby with this kind of mindset,,, I need this kind of supporting mother pic.twitter.com/QW2NdftXoi
— ّ????⁷ (@s95koo) March 5, 2021
So for all the homophobes out there—internalized or not—we hit you back with Bimby’s own words regarding Internet gossip about his sexuality: “Why would you judge a child?