HomeManilavol. 3 no. 1 (2007)

Beyond Straight Line: The Bakla Interrupted

Ferdinand Lopez

Discipline: History



The life stories of the bakla have been excluded from mainstream history in as much as they do not “normally” cohere with the master narrative of phallogocentric design. Furthermore, these marginal identities have been silenced and rendered invisible by social institutions that have regulated and exploited their sexualities and subjectivists.


To interrogate the relationship between social institutions and sexual practices and identities, and problematize the connection between personal activities and politics, this paper employs Joan Smith’s The Evidence of Experience to historically constellate the bakla which have been hidden or erased from normative history. Consequently, this paper creatively maps out Manila’s Gay geography in the 50s through the oral narratives of five bakla who lived, experienced and performed their sexualities and subjectivities—subverting, resisting and speaking back to the center, while queering the nation’s capital during the early post-war years.