MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles® ) – You may have heard words like ‘anech’ (what?), ‘lafang’ (food) ‘jowa’ (husband/wife). Most likely, you’ve heard it from Filipino gay men engaged in conversation.
It’s called gayspeak, a unique ‘language’ spoken in the Philippines that’s transcended gender and sexual orientation. Filipino straight men and women, like Kris Aquino for example, now often use the gay language interchangeably with their straight talk.
It is a language that’s constantly evolving. Even ‘gayspeak’ is now referred to by a new name, ‘beki,’ a Filipino colloquial term that means ‘gay.’
The beki language has become so popular that the Philippines’ Department of Education is considering incorporating the gay language into the school curriculum.
In fact, Education Secretary Armin Luistro on Monday said that the department is mulling the possibility of using ‘beki’ as medium of instruction in schools.
In a recent interview with reporters, Luistro said gay language can be part of the official communication if it is acceptable to the majority.
Well, it is already widely acceptable, Mr. Secretary, so what’s keeping you from implementing it?
In San Francisco, Epee Rafanan, co-founder of a Filipino American gay social organization, Barangay, said teaching gayspeak in Philippine schools is long overdue.
Barangay (pronounced Baran-GUY), refers to a Filipino neighborhood political unit, headed by a Barangay captain. The organization Rafanan founded has a different pronunciation — Barangaaay — to reflect its mission and identity.