While the debate over gay rights and marriage equality continues to rage in America, it seems another country, the Philippines, is also being affected– most notably in the confines of comedy clubs. Venue and bar owners in the touristy seaside town of Puerto Galera claim the local government is threatening to ban gay comedians who regularly perform in the area, due to some customers complaining about the comedians’ “obscene behavior.” The added that children are sometimes present at these events.
“In a comedy bar, children should not be allowed because of the sensitivity of the language being used in this kind of entertainment,’ stressed Bemz Benedito, the first congressional nominee of the LGBT local political party Ladlad and a transgender woman. “Besides, you cannot control the performers on what to say and do on stage.’
Government officials, however, contested the claim, asserting they only meant to warn gay performers to tone down language in order to prevent any more customer complaints. But the bar owners aren’t taking any chances. Some told the Philippine Star they’ll fight the issue, explaining that this policy would harm tourism. Ladlad suggested that government officials and business owners sit down and discuss the issue since there is obvious miscommunication about what has really been said and what is expected to occur.
It remains to be seen if the government is simply backtracking on their words in order to calm resistance, or if their actions were misunderstood from the start. One can only hope that the government truly isn’t taking any steps to ban gay comedians. There’s other solutions to ensure that those who are easily offended are forewarned about potentially sensitive subjects– perhaps signs at the door or announcements before the show. Hopefully they’ll all follow the sound advice of Ladlad and take the time to discuss the issue before it goes any further