Ben&Ben’s Paolo Guico speaks out against gender norms after fans react to dress selfie

“Never assume anyone's gender based on the clothes they wear”

Paolo Guico, member of Filipino folk-pop band Ben&Ben, recently spoke out against gender norms after fans reacted to a selfie he posted of himself in a dress.

On Monday (February 8), Guico posted two selfies of himself in different outfits: one in a flowery dress, the other in a casual shirt-and-pants combination. “Be comfy in ur own skin,” he wrote in a caption.

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Two days later, in a series of tweets, Guico discussed gender expression and called on fellow Filipinos to combat outdated prejudices and “never assume anyone’s gender based on the clothes they wear”.

Guico emphatically told followers, “kids, be free to be yourselves. don’t let anyone bring you down.”

 

In a show of solidarity to the country’s wider LGBTQ+ community, Guico denounced the use of the Tagalog word “bakla”, a derogatory term often wielded against men exhibiting feminine traits. “You are valid, accepted and loved. Pilipinas, let’s grow up!” he wrote.

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Ben&Ben have not been reserved about their views on social issues, and have previously shown support for the LGBTQ community. The music video for their 2018 single, ‘Maybe the Night’, centered on a lesbian couple in their sunset years. The video was shared with the band stating the song “is about celebrating all kinds of love”.

In December, they shared the song ‘Kapangyarihan’, and condemned police brutality following the killings of Sonya and Frank Gregorio by an off-duty policeman that month.

They wrote, “We MUST hold the leadership that encourages this culture of impunity, abuse and oppression accountable. Because each life lost to police officers like Jonel Nuezca adds to the continuous creeping darkness that we must swiftly break.”

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