#30DayWritingChallenge: A neighbor.

Day Seven: A neighbor.

Next week is Spirit Day, and international LGBTQ campaign against bullying, especially those targetted at LGBTQ youths. Though not directly related to bullying, I will write about a particular neighbor I see in our street.

I am not the most sociable person. My social media accounts might claim otherwise, but I lived for decades on the same street without knowing the names of most of the neighbors. I don’t even know the names of the tenants living within our compound. But, people-watcher that I am, I know their faces.

There is this kid in his early teenage years. He’s maybe fourteen, tall and slender. His voice still occasionally cracks when he speaks, something that a guy learns to really control only at fifteen or sixteen.

He is also effiminate. You can tell that right away: tiny shirt, swaying hips, “girly” mannerisms. He is like one of the kids from Maximo Oliveros.

Unlike Maximo Oliveros, however, he doesn’t have a posse of other effeminate kids with him. Instead, he hangs out with younger kids, most of them at least five years younger than him, none of them effeminate.

Maximo Oliveros

I have wondered about that. There are a few boys around his age I see in our street. He does not interact with them. Those other boys seem to congregate late at night, smoking, and sometimes showing dance moves to each other as if each one was taking turns convulsing.

Neither does he interact with girls. They are not as common out in the street, but I see them sometimes talking together while seated on long benches.

Why does he seem to be an outsider?

Effeminate men are more likely to be ostracized in Filipino society. I was a slightly effeminate kid while I was growing up and I remember feeling unwelcomed by boys my age, if not getting teased by both kids and adults. I eventually “outgrew” my effeminacy.

With many effeminate gay men, they usually find support among each other. It’s not uncommon to see a group huddled together, talking, playing sports, or simply spending time by a roadside, laughing together.

He doesn’t seem to have anyone else right now except for the little kids acting as his little court. Eventually, those kids will grow a little older and move out of their childhood games. By that time, I hope the little effeminate boy will also find himself more friends.

It’s tough growing up. It’s tougher growing up gay.

Image is of Nathan Lopez from “Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros” (2006).