Bakla as (M)other: Queerying Conceptions of Motherhood in the Selected Films of Jun Robles Lana

Conference: The Asian Conference on Media, Communication & Film (MediAsia2022)
Title: Bakla as (M)other: Queerying Conceptions of Motherhood in the Selected Films of Jun Robles Lana
Stream: Critical and Cultural Studies, Gender and Communication
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Jenno Roquero, De La Salle University, Philippines


The advent of Artificial Reproductive Technologies (ART) and In Vetro Fertilization (IVF) opened new discourses on parenting beyond the biological, genetic, moral, and even legal aspects. Even films were also rich in challenging different norms and conceptions of parenthood. In the Philippines, the issue of parenting was less talked about, more so gays as parents, even when the bakla (a local term for effeminate gays in the Philippines) have taken on mothering roles for decades. This paper aims to fill in the gap on issues concerning gay parenting realities using the selected gay-themed films of Jun Robles Lana namely Die Beautiful (2016), Ang Dalawang Mrs. Reyes (2018), and Panti Sisters (2019). This paper followed Rachel Bowlby's theory of parenting in recognizing bakla’s im/possibility of motherhood. Close reading of the films was utilized to look into the portrayal of the bakla as (m)other in different shades (accidental, intentional, voluntary, conferred) and forms (biological, surrogate, adoptive). It also analyzed the extent narrative plots/development challenge notions and issues concerning homosexual parenting vis-à-vis the socio-economic, cultural, and political atmosphere surrounding parental discourses. Through this study, parenting realities are given new lights and perspectives aiding towards a more inclusive conception of family, community, and society.

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