This article aims to contribute to conceptual discussions about how postcolonial queer subjects negotiate the borders between putatively “local” queer subject formations and increasingly global sexual categories. It reexamines the tension-ridden nexus between “gay” and the Filipino bakla, arguing that the complex encounters between such formations are conditioned by emplaced class and gender hierarchies that stem from both colonial history and a neoliberal cultural context. I argue that in contrast to Filipino gay men in the diaspora who recuperate the practices of the bakla to negotiate displacement, middle- and upper-class gay men in the homeland (specifically Manila) offer an inverted picture of global-local relations, since the absence of a shared diasporic experience of displacement, (racialized) exclusion, and downward mobility also operates as the absence of any impetus to recover kabaklaan (bakla-ness) from its subordinated position within local exclusionary systems. Drawing from popular themes that thread through the virtual, physical, and print spaces that have emerged as part of Manila's post-2000 gay scene, the article foregrounds notions of complicity, particularly in terms of how the “newness” of the gay scene is made visible through the violent rewriting of kabaklaan as a temporal anomaly. Affective understandings of global space-time, underpinned by dreams of mobility and imaginative planetary geographies, are here depicted as unstable introjected trajectories haunted by the spectral presence of kabaklaan in the “now” of gay Manila and by the need to continuously exorcise such apparitions.
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Bobby Benedicto; THE HAUNTING OF GAY MANILA: Global Space-Time and the Specter of Kabaklaan. GLQ 1 June 2008; 14 (2-3): 317–338. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10642684-2007-035
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