I remember the Catholic guilt gnawing at my insides when I thought about her, when I felt butterflies flutter in my heart as I glanced at her. I remember teachers in religion classes making it clear where the Church stood on someone like me. I remember hearing about the Bible verses — the dreaded Leviticus 18:22 — and reading about sodomy in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I remember looking up to the sky, thinking, “If this is true, why would you make me this way?”
Filipino American History Month is celebrated in October. UCLA has a vibrant Filipino community on campus, with fifteen Filipino-focused student organizations that focus on the academic and personal development of Filipino Americans at UCLA. Kabalikat Kore (KK) is one such organization at UCLA that celebrates and uplifts queer Filipino Americans, giving them a space to meet and socialize with one another. I spoke with Miko Dinulos (he/him), the External Vice President of KK. Miko is a second-year psychology major from Ventura County. We chatted about the importance of Filipino American History Month and the queer Filipino experience.
Her shoulders drooped with the weight of her Catholic guilt as the statue of white Jesus stared down at her, telling her, I know what you’ve done. His dark eyes seemed to be in perpetual melancholy as her own peered into them. That statue always scared her, always seemed to follow her home from church; it was the first thing she’d see in her grandmother’s kitchen, a miniature version of the statue hung up in her room right in front of the doorway. She had always accepted that Jesus would be a permanent part of her life, just as she had accepted that she bore responsibilities, as the eldest daughter and the first grandchild, to fall in line with what her family expected from her..
The first time I masturbated, I cried. I finally cave in to my carnal desires. But once the waves of ecstasy subside, my heart becomes heavy with Catholic guilt. Years of religious teaching on sexuality instills the idea that sexual…