by Geraldine Touer
Remember the days when the word torrent used to refer to flood water? How about the time pirated dvd vendors where so important to our lives that the band Sandwich just had to do a tribute song? Two years ago, before I learned about seeding and leeching movies, (entire TV show seasons even!), all hope I had of ever watching a lesbian flick in full was if some blessed being uploads the entire thing on Youtube. After buffering all ten parts (if the site has not yet taken down the account of the uploader), I had to redo the process if I wanted to watch the movie again. Two years ago, being a flaming homosexual movie buff was a painstaking task. That was why, what few DVDs I have, I find hard to let go.
Buying physical copies of lesbian flicks is pretty much like buying porn. They are not mainstream (porn is even more visible along the bangketa than Piper Perabo or Mischa Barton), and one has to deal with the difficulty of concealing their identity, at least I do. I had three DVDs of lesbian-themed movies, two of them were pirated. The first one I ever bought was Imagine Me & You, at a local mall in my province. I was actually scouring the DVD stalls for Hairspray, but when I saw it, I bought it immediately without bothering to have it tested whether it works. Thankfully, it did.
My second physical copy was a VCD of Ang T-Bird at Ako, the Nora and Vilma movie. I bought it from Astrovision for 150 pesos. My third was Water Lilies which I saw lying on a straw mat along a busy roadside in Baguio City. The copy’s title was in French, and I doubted anyone walking along that street actually knew what it was about so I had no qualms about the 50 pesos I handed the vendor in exchange for it.
Those three were my prized possessions. I used ‘were’ because they no longer are with me. I spent almost two years hiding them in my closet, underneath my clothes. It was two years of changing locations, of placing them in unrecognizable bags, of turning the covers inside out, so that I can keep them from my mother who seemed to have made a hobby out of rearranging my shirts as if they were furniture. I even placed them for a month underneath my bed. This proved to be a bad idea, I had to run to my room every time I see my mother come in with a broom to make sure they were safe. I also tried carrying the DVDs with me to school and back home, but my friends would sometimes ask to check the contents of my bag and I hate having to offer excuses.
Eventually, the stress of living with three DVDs of lesbian-themed films as if they were contraband was too much to bear. After two years, I decided to let go. I threw them down the trash chute of our condo without the ceremony deserving of the works of art I tried to protect for so long, but failed, from the eyes of this judgemental world.
I hope someone seeds ang T-Bird at Ako really soon.