MANILA — Singer-songwriter Paolo Guico of Ben&Ben called on his fellow Filipinos to “grow up” on the topic of gender identity and expression, as he answered on Wednesday comments on his selfie wearing a dress.
Guico had posted the selfies of him on Monday, showing him in the dress, and then in a casual shirt-and-pants outfit. In the caption, he wrote, “Be comfy in your own skin.”
Two days later, Guico took to Twitter to share his stand on gender expression, lamenting the outdated perception of many Filipinos on the matter.
“Never assume anyone's gender based on the clothes they wear. Hay Pilipinas, ang layo pa natin,” he wrote. “Higit pa rito, mali ang mag-assume na ang isang bagay o gawain ay panlalaki o pambabae lamang.”
“Kids, be free to be yourselves. Don't let anyone bring you down.”
He then urged his followers to stop using “bakla” as a derogatory term, as he committed to stand with the queer community in fighting for their rights and freedom.
“Sana’y makamove-on na tayo bilang bansa sa paggamit ng ‘bakla’ bilang insulto. As a heterosexual male, I may not be in the place to speak for them but, I will fiercely fight for our LGBT friends and listeners,” he said.
“You are valid, accepted and loved. Pilipinas, let's grow up!”
Guico, as well as his fellow Ben&Ben members, have expressed both in their music and statements their support for the queer community.
Their music videos for “Maybe the Night” in 2018 and “Fall” in 2019, for instance, both featured a lesbian couple, alongside other portrayals of romantic love.