Vicente Sotto Lecture 2023 October

| April 1, 2024

“Modernizing the Bayot: The Bayot during the American Colonial Period”
Mr. Francis Luis Torres

The arrival of the Americans in the Philippines introduced a relatively novel social order that modernized Cebuano culture and life. Emulating an American-centered ethos, Filipinos began to secularize and nationalize most of its social institutions, as reflected in the establishment of public health and education. As a result, the influence of the Catholic Church also started to wane. These shifts also influenced our view of sexuality and gender, as demonstrated in the bayot, the Cebuano marker for an effeminate homosexual. Given these points, I argue that the bayot underwent modernization during this period, which remains impactful mainly on how we frame the identity today. By examining socio-cultural, political, and economic landscapes, I analyze texts that I have collected from the from Nueva Fuerza/Bag-ong Kusog (1915-1941) to show that the bayot was framed within three approaches – biomedicalization, secularization, and nationalization. As a result, he becomes the signifier of hybridity—a product of the power play between the man-woman, colonizer-colonized, and Filipino-American binaries. Attitudes and perspectives towards him would resonate in contemporary Cebuano gay culture.

Date: October 28, 2023

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Category: Vicente Sotto Lecture Series