GMA Artist Center Holds Online Discussion on Queer Representation on Local Television and Films

Before the global health crisis placed the world in a standstill, the celebrations and events for Pride Month include parades, picnics, parties, workshops, insightful forums and concerts.

Earlier this month, in a bid to provide a platform to catch up with celebrities in the face of the new normal, GMA Artist Center launched a virtual show entitled How Do You Feel?: Usapang Artista, which airs weekly on GMA Artist Center’s YouTube channel and GMA Network’s Facebook page.

The show is produced by acting coach Ana Feleo and Artist Center talents Chynna Ortaleza, Benjamin Alves and Mikoy Morales, built during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), as a venue for celebrities to share their thoughts and opinions on different issues and events, among other things.

How Do You Feel?: Usapang Artista is a roundtable discussion where Kapuso actors give sound bites on their craft, forms of expression, innovative improvisations and experiences in and outside of show business.

In celebration of Pride Month, the show just aired a two-part episode that focused on queer representation in mass media. The discussion brought together artists who have portrayed LGBTQIA+ characters on screen, including Tom Rodriguez, Glaiza de Castro and Rhian Ramos, comedian Divine Tetay and director and veteran actor Ricky Davao.

Facilitated by Ortaleza, who also played a queer role in the GMA primetime show, The Rich Man’s Daughter, that boldly navigated the relationship between its lesbian characters in 2015, the discussion was steered to the direction of the actors’ processes in playing queer roles, to an understanding of the culture of perpetuating gender stereotypes as seen in Philippine entertainment.

“Regardless of gender, you go through the same spectrum of emotions,” said Rodriguez, The 32-year-old actor breathed life into arguably one of the most iconic gay characters ever to be introduced in primetime television in My Husband’s Lover back in 2013.

He added, “Baguhan lang ako na aktor and I would hate to play a caricature of a whole group of people if wala pa ako doon. During the whole audition process, we just had a snippet of a scene and even there, I didn’t know how I was going to attack the role. Pero siguro nakatulong sakin that Vince’s character is very closeted, in a way, so he had a lot of apprehensions that was mirroring yung mga nararamdaman ko rin at the time, like yung mga sarili kong insecurites–not knowing if I could deliver well.”

Kapag lumabas ka dun sa isip mo, ang dami mo palang madi-discover: Ang dami palang mundo, ang dami palang klase ng pagibig, ang dami palang klase ng pagmamahal, ang dami palang klase ng relasyon,” said De Castro, who, in 2015, played the lead in The Rich Man’s Daughter, opposite Ramos.

The discourse also led to an exploration of the change in the artists’ views after taking on their LGBT roles. The first part of this Pride Month special aired on June 13, while the second part followed suit last June 20.

You may watch and listen in on the discussion through the archived videos below: