Kasabay ng paglulunsad ng One Billion Rising, isang kampanya na nagsusulong sa karatapan ng mga kababaihan, ang pag-amin ng theater/movie actress na si Monique Wilson na isa siyang gay woman o lesbian.
Pagkatapos ng mismong presscon ng One Billion Rising na ginanap sa Music Museum nung Biyernes, November 23, ipinaliwanag ni Monique sa PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) at sa iba pang miyembro ng media kung ano ang nagtulak sa kanya upang sa wakas ay ilabas ang tunay niyang sexuality.
Matagal na ring natsitsismis na tomboy si Monique. Lalo na nang iwan na niya ang pagganap bilang Kim sa original London production ng Miss Saigon at sumubok ng career sa local showbiz.
Si Monique ay ang alternate ng orihinal na Kim, na si Lea Salonga, sa 1989 production ng Miss Saigon sa London, England.
Ngumiti muna si Monique bago nagsimulang ikuwento kung paano niya naisipang maglantad na.
“You know what? Kasi, the root of that is…two years ago, may isang malaking pangyayari.
“Ang nangyari sa akin e I was diagnosed with blood cancer…two years ago.
“So, until now, I still have blood cancer.
“At that moment two years ago, parang inisip ko na, you know what? Life is too short, di ba?
“It demands na we do something meaningful with our lives. Hindi lang para sa sarili.
“And then, parang all the doubts and fears you had about everything, not just my sexuality, and even about my advocacy, my life choices, it all became clear.
“Gano’n pala yun when you face mortality, or life and death experience? You get clarity and you also get urgency to be able to say something significant.
“So, to me, that was the start. ‘Tapos ito pang One Billion Rising came about.
"Tapos, ang dami ko pang stories na napakinggan, both men, girls and boys, na ginugulpi sila.
“They don’t even have job opportunities. They cannot gain the same success that I’ve been very lucky to have.
“So, to me it was like…It’s so unacceptable, na parang in my life, I’ve been able to get some opportunities and it didn’t matter if I’m a gay or not.
“So, I think, we need to speak up and be role models to debunk all the stigma attached to it.
“Kasi ang problema natin, maybe because of our conservative culture, it’s not yet as widely accepted.
“So, to me it’s so important to break those silences, and those myths, and those stigma.
“Because people need to live with freedom, and dignity, and respect,” pagdidiin niya.
ALWAYS BEEN FREE. Ngayong lumantad na siya, masasabi ba niyang free na siya?
“Actually, I’ve always been free naman, e, di ba?” sabay tawa niya nang malakas.
Pero paalala ng PEP sa kanya, noon kapag natatanong siya tungkol sa kanyang sexuality ay hindi siya sumasagot.
Simulang paliwanag naman ni Monique, “You know why I never said it? I always used to think na, ‘Naku, that’s going to be the issue.’
“Even now, ha? Promise ninyo sa akin na One Billion Rising ito, ha. Baka it’s all about me, ha-ha-ha-ha! Ang panget!” biro pa niyang pagpapaalala sa mga kaharap na press.
“To me naman, before, I never wanted to divert the issue from my theater advocacy.
“Kasi, remember those early years, ang hirap talagang mag-sell ng theater shows.
“Now, medyo sixteen years na rin yung New Voice Company ko, we’ve had so many success na rin.
“And I always begin to feel na, why am I dumbing down also the media? Lagi naman ninyo akong nire-respeto.
“So, to me, what’s the big deal in saying it or not saying it? But actually, I’ve always been out in my theater work.
“In my work, a lot of people knew. In fact, at the back of my head, I used to think also, ‘I’m sure lahat naman ng tao alam na…’
“Hello! Ako ang nag-produce ng Angels of America at ng kung anu-ano pang shows about homosexuality during the time when nobody is producing it, remember?
“So to me, ang assumption ko, lahat naman ng tao alam na, e. So, bakit ko pa sasabihin?
“Until one day I realized…actually, hindi.
“The young ones, parang they’re searching for mentors, guidance. They are searching for…yun na nga, role models who they can look up to and say na...
"‘You know what? I can be like that and I don’t have to hide who I am! And I can fight for who I am because there have been other people who paved the way for me.’
“So, that became more immediate for me when I got diagnosed [with blood cancer] and [we had to work on] One Billion Rising,” patuloy ng 42-year-old actress.
IN A RELATIONSHIP. Inihayag din ni Monique ang pagkakaroon niya ng relasyon sa kapwa babae.
“I’ve been in a relationship for fourteen years. O, di ba? Hindi ninyo alam?” tawa niya nang makitang tila nasurpresa ang mga kausap na press.
Pinay rin daw ang kanyang karelasyon, ngunit hindi lumaki sa Pilipinas.
“Tagarito siya, pero she didn’t grow up here,” sabi pa ni Monique.
May plano ba silang magpakasal?
“You know what, we have a civil partnership na, e. Kasi London recognizes it. So, it’s no big deal there,” aniya pa, na nagsasabi kung saan niya nakilala at saan nananatili ang kanyang karelasyon.
“So, in fact, all the rights are accorded to us na.”
THE CIVIL PARTNERSHIP ACT. Ang Civil Partnership Act of 2004 ang ipinasang batas sa United Kingdom na kumikilala sa union o pagsasama ng dalawang tao mula sa parehong kasarian o same sex.
May mga karapatan at responsibilidad ang couples na pinagsama ng civil partnership, na kapantay ng mga karapatan at responsibilidad ng mga taong pinagsama ng civil marriage.
Paliwanag nga ni Monique, hindi raw ito same-sex marriage, kundi legal na pagsasama talaga ng dalawang taong pareho ang kasarian.
Kinikilala ito ng gobyerno ng United Kingdom.
“Kasi U.K. is very liberal. Very, very liberal. Unlike America, hindi pa sila ganoong ka-liberal, ‘no?
“Nauna yata ang UK, e.
“But for me, it’s always been like such an accepted…especially, in theaters? My gosh! No big deal,” saad pa ni Monique.
SPOKESPERSON FOR LGBT. Sa paglalantad niya, tiyak na marami ang mai-inspire na closet gays.
Okey lang ba sa kanyang maging tagapagsalita o endorser ng mga samahang LGBT (Lesbian, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transgenders)?
“Of course!” mabilis niyang sagot.
“Of course, in fact sa December 8, sa gay pride, I’ll be giving a speech there.”
Ang tinutukoy niya ay ang 2012 Metro Manila Pride March for a Commitment Ceremony with Public Affirmation.
Ito ay inorganisa ng Unitarian Universalists of Metro Manila at Task Force Pride Philippines, at magaganap sa nabanggit na petsa sa Makati City.
“Hindi nga lang ako makaka-march dahil meron akong show na King And I.
"Pero ang promise ko, right after my performance in King and I, will run to the gay pride and give a speech.
“Kasi sasayaw rin sila ng One Billion Rising, ang LGBT group.
“So, everybody is helping in terms of our advocacy. Kasi kailangan, e, especially in our country.
“Dito talaga there’s so much discriminatory things that go against people who are still fighting for basic civil rights.”
REALIZING SHE’S GAY. Kailan ba nalaman ni Monique ang tunay niyang seksuwalidad?
Napaisip muna siya, sabay sagot, “Gosh, when I was 19? 18?”
Nung panahon ng Miss Saigon?
“Yeah, actually, yeah!” sagot niya habang tumatango.
Ano naman ang una niyang naramdaman nung madiskubre niyang tomboy o lesbiyana siya?
Napangiti muna si Monique bago nagsalita, “Wala lang. Kasi I grew up in Repertory [Repertory Philippines].
“Halos lahat naman ng tao sa theater… I mean, it’s such an open culture.
“So, to me it was not a big deal, and my family were also very supportive.
“Actually, sa totoo lang, it’s so not a big deal to my family and friends. We never even talked about it.”
Nalaman ba ito ng father niya, ang aktor na si Johnny Wilson?
“Yeah, yeah! To them, you know what? As long you’re happy. I think that’s the most important thing.
“Ahm, and also, I think yung fear naman palagi ng mga parents, ‘Oh, you won’t be able to have children!’ Di ba? Yun naman ang parang…
“Ay, you can. Actually, you can.
“You can adopt. You can do a lot of things.
“So, to my family it wasn’t big deal.”
Kaya nga raw very grateful siya sa kanyang pamilya.
“Kasi my family is so supportive and so loving. To them it’s not really a big deal talaga…really.
“We never even talked about it.
“Until I realized that there are so many others who’ve been kicked out of their houses, ginugulpi sila ng mga parents nila, ng fathers nila.
“Parang there’s so much violence also being done to them.
“So, parang, oh my God, iba pala yung reality nila?”
Mas lalo raw talaga niyang na-realize na napakasuwerte niya.
“So, every day talaga, my gratitude…I’ve been so lucky in my life.
“Even my with illness, to be in London, all the medication is free, di ba?
“I’ve been lucky in my career, to have gotten Miss Saigon when I was only 19.
“And then, every opportunity opened for me after that.
“I’m so lucky with all the breaks I got in my career.
“So, parang to me, I’m 42 now and it’s really time to give back.
“We shouldn’t give back when we are in our seventies. We may not reach that age.
“So, kailangan it has to be now! You have to make your life not just meaningful for yourself. You have to be meaningful to others.”