The Department of Transporation apologized for its now-deleted tweet which stereotyped gays as working in beauty salons while the coronation of Miss Universe 2019 took place on Monday morning, Dec. 9, 2019.
Twitter users shared that the transportation agency posted a mock social media card that had the following text:
“BREAKING NEWS! NBA CHAMPIONSHIP NG MGA BOOKLOOH, UMAARANGKADA NA. Traffic sa mga pangunahing lansangan, MALUWAG! MGA PARLOR, SIGURADONG SARADO!”
It even included the words “IMPORTANT ADVISORY. MATTER OF PUBLIC SAFETY” on its caption.
Not more than an hour has passed when DOTR deleted it and said that it was “just trying to draw humor once in a while.”
“Pasensya na po sa mga nagalit. No offense meant. We’re just trying to draw humor once in a while. God bless, everyone! Bawi tayo next year, mahal naming PILIPINAS!”
Jasper Marasigan, one of the first users who caught the tweet, told Interaksyon that he considered it very “cheap” as it came from an official communication channel of a government agency.
Another Twitter user commented that the DOTR should have a “gender sensitivity training” and even tagged the account of the Philippine Anti-Discrimination Alliance of Youth Leaders.
You need gender sensitivity training. Let us or @PANTAYPilipinas know when.
— Benedict Bernabe (@yogawithben) December 9, 2019
Some even said that the following tweet could not even be considered an apology in the first place.
“Your apology is poorly constructed. You did not mention what you did wrong and why it was wrong. ‘We’re just trying to draw humor’ isn’t an apology; it’s an excuse, not to mention poorly constructed English. Hindi ganyan ang best and brightest. Umayos kayo,” a Filipino commented.
Gays are usually stereotyped as workers of beauty salons and parlors even though they are seen as having various occupations in different industries.
The Human Rights Watch in a 2017 report noted how LGBTQ+ members, particularly students, would feel discriminated whenever gays are typecasted into jobs as “hairdressers,” “entertainers,” “jokers” or “comedians,” among others.
“In our entertainment industry, gays are usually presented as comic relief. And that’s okay at some point, but that’s it? There’s more to being gay than being funny and entertainers,” a student identified as Jerome B. said.
“And I’d like to be a researcher or a lawyer. We’re diverse people, like straight people,” he added.
The stereotype stems from the portrayal in films, television programs and shows that gays can only do occupations considered “feminine,” particularly fashion and beauty-related.
The Miss Universe fever
Filipinos were expecting to gain a “back-to-back” victory with Miss Universe Philippines 2019 Gazini Ganados after the country won the crown with the previous titleholder, Catriona Gray.
Venezuela is the only country that has secured a “back-to-back” win with Miss Universe 2008 Dayana Mendoza and Miss Universe 2009 Stefania Fernandez.
Expectations were also high since Ganados is handled by Jonas Gaffud, the creative director of Miss Universe Philippines credited for making finalists out of Filipinas “in every Miss Universe pageant since 2000,” according to BBC.
When Missosology, a leading beauty pageant website, revealed that its top pick was Ganados a day before the preliminary competition took place, the buzz only grew more intense.
The Cebu native ended her Miss Universe 2019 journey when she landed on the beauty pageant’s Top 20 as one of the so-called wild cards.
Miss Universe South Africa Zozibini Tunzi emerged as the winner of the competition.