Coming out: A blessed Christmas story

The author: ‘Maybe I’m different?’

By Chevy Evangelista

The young political activist was named after “Caddyshack” comic Chevy Chase. Born in the gritty neighborhood of Tondo in Manila, Chevy Evangelista came to the U.S. at age 16. He spoke to The FilAm about growing up queer, being blessed with loving and supportive parents, and recalling his first Christmas in New York as an openly gay man.

Months before Christmas, while shopping in Queens with my mom, she asked, “Bakla ka ba?” I told her, “Why, would it be a problem?” I felt nervous at how she would react. Instead, she said, “We love you and support you, and we want you to know that.”

My first Christmas in New York, I was feeling alone, away from my friends and feeling isolated. But I was blessed to have parents who are understanding and supportive.

Even when I was young, I’ve been this way. In high school, I was attracted to girls, but was wondering also why I was also attracted to this guy. I was young and OK I would date girls but I didn’t have a girlfriend. Nothing serious. I really got along with female friends and gay friends, but I wasn’t out. My gay friends were pretty out. One day my tita in the U.S. confronted me. I felt defensive. That’s when it occurred to me that maybe I’m different.

When we moved here, I thought maybe this is a new life, new place, new environment, maybe I can change. Little did I know that New York City is the gay capital of the world. It was like: Really? You want to change? In New York?

Still, I tried to have a girlfriend. It was my first relationship with a girl. She was American. I was curious. But that is not what I want, not what I’m looking for.

My mom told my dad. I just felt that at time he knew and he’s OK with it. There wasn’t this struggle with my parents on what they wanted me to be. My dad is a doctor so I’m sure he could tell that I wasn’t a conventional boy who was on the sporty side. Even my 83-year-old grandmother in Connecticut now knows and is OK with it.

Problem with our Filipino culture is we are very patriarchal — men are supposed to be breadwinners and bosses, and being gay is unacceptable. Men cannot be seen as soft and possibly submissive.

Religion, being a category of culture, our Catholic institutions have taken a stand on same-sex marriage, relationships. Someday I would love to be married also. I think it’s a privilege that must be shared with everyone.

At Zuccotti Park

Chevy Evangelista is the spokesperson of the Ugnayan ng mga Anak ng Bayan NY-NJ, a grassroots organization for young FilAms. He is a social work major at York College/CUNY.


  1. Marvin wrote:

    Suportahan kita!

  2. Hector D. wrote:

    Hi there, I discovered your website whilst searching for a related topic. Your site looks great.

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