Narrativizing the Bakla Queerness: Reading Parlor as a Queer Narrative Space

Authors: Joseph Casibual Jr. (Western Mindanao State University, The Philippines)
Speakers: Joseph Casibual Jr.
Strand: Language, Gender, Sexuality
Session Type: General Session


The subject of sexuality and space is a prevalent discourse in Philippine context which examines the conception and experience of space in accordance with non-dominant perspectives (Eibi, 2009). Highlighting the peripherality of parlor as a space (Craig, 2006), this study draws from the personal narratives of queer parloristas (gay beauty service workers) in looking at how queer texts as a collective counter-narrative re/construct and redefine the bakla as a queer parlorista stereotype. Employing queer formalism and queer phenomenology as the framework of analysis, narrativized stories of the queer parloristas will be framed as queer texts looking into the constructive and reconstructive articulations of bakla identity as a lived experience. The stories were approached using pakikipagkwentuhan by Orteza (1997), an indigenous technique that is akin to the subjectivity of the data, which are personal narratives of the queer parloristas. The findings revealed that queerness in parlor already encompasses a more inclusive spectrum ranging from the stereotypical bakla (male gay), lesbian, and cis-gender to performed queerness. This starkly contrasts with the typical queerness assigned to bakla as a gender expression within the context of parlor. Furthermore, this evolving queerness suggests a reconstructive sense that parlor, as a space, is no longer bakla exclusive but already an inclusive space decentralizing from the bakla queerness constructed from a heteronormative sense.

Keywords: bakla, parlorscapes, queer formalism, queer phenomenology, narratives