Team is a quarterly magazine that aims to change the way the gay community is represented and viewed in the Philippines by giving a platform for all manners of representation in the pages of its magazine. Every issue, Team compiles well-written confessional essays detailing with the various aspects of what it means like to be gay in the country and portraying a tone that Editor-in-Chief and Publisher Paolo Lorenzana calls “a Post-Acceptance Voice in a Pre-Acceptance Philippines.” Just like what Managing Editor Martin Yambao has said before, and I am paraphrasing, “The articles in Team are not about coming out of the closet or similar issues, it’s about living better, as a gay man.”
What Team hopes to accomplish is that by sharing the stories of gay men in various conditions of their gayness and gayhood, it would inspire a stronger community that seeks to uplift each other’s personal choices in being gay and allows everyone outside a chance to look in at what our lives are like, outside the prescribed media stereotypes and sensationalised identities that they have attributed to us in their efforts to understand us (and not to offend the status quo of conservative thinking).
Team magazine is meant to be a key that opens the door so that we can be whatever we want to be and without fear of discrimination and easy categories. So that we are defined by who we are and not what you think we should be or should be like.
That is why, when my very good friend Paolo asked me to contribute to Team, I was excited to be a part of his team (pun intended) because it’s time to take the battle into a different arena and one that I am more comfortable in.
As a gay man who has navigated through this life without ever having experienced discrimination and stigma, it was always hard for me to take the activist approach in fighting for equal rights and fair treatment in society. That sort of engine requires the fuel of personal engagement with the hate or even indifference. I don’t know what that is like or what that even means. People have always accepted me for who I am and have been very sensitive and caring with who I am and the choices I have made. I don’t have the killer instinct needed to take to the streets when it comes to this. So I choose to battle in other ways.
I choose to live well. I choose to live out in the open. I choose to live my life the way I see fit with the hopes that the way I’m treated by the people around me — and they treat me well — somehow becomes the norm so that, by example maybe, it would bleed into other people’s lives. One person at a time. Larger and larger circles. If they can accept me, why can’t they accept everyone. So I go out there and just be me and hopefully, it changes things.
And I’ll write and I’ll put my name out there and my life story on the short bio note and show them what a gay guy can do.
And Team gives me a fantastic platform for that. Team’s second issue — the work issue — is all about work and it features my first fiction piece in thirteen years. Wife is a short story I wrote specifically for this issue and I’m so proud of it. I would love for everyone to read it because it has given me the confidence to go back to writing fiction again. Who knows? Maybe my next book will be a collection of short stories?
Please check out Team and their first and second issue. It’s a pretty great magazine with great visuals and wonderful writing.