Source: Mr. Ansel Beluso’s Facebook post
I was searching for some document in my old files and came across this feature article on me that came out in the Sunday Inquirer Magazine some 15 years back. The interview was done a week before my wedding but publication was a few days after the event.
I can’t help but think God moved so I could find this at this particular moment in time. It is His way of assuring me that He is pleased with how things have unfolded in my life with His providence and guidance.
In this season of Lent, may I humbly offer this as a possible source of strength and inspiration for those trying to claim the Lord’s victory over whatever area of sinfulness they may have.
And, in this Year of Mercy, may we choose the path of mercy in our relationship with gay loved ones.
SUNDAY INQUIRER MAGAZINE / June 24, 2001
Twists of Fate
By Maria Criselda A. Uy
“Stranger things have happened, but former showbiz reporter and gay TV host Anselle Beluso swears his religious transformation and impending marriage are for real.”
ANSELLE BELUSO’S ROAD TO DAMASCUS
They’re gone. The flirtatiously raised brow, the flamboyant voice and sexually suggestive questions of the TV talk show host of the defunct program “Isang Tanong, Isang Sagot” have been scrubbed off the air. In their place, Anselle Beluso offers the earnestness of a religious convert and the working man’s ensemble of faded jeans and a roomy shirt.
At any other time, the former outrageous showbiz reporter would have shrieked, “Diyos ko, ano na naman ito?” (“Lord, just what is this all about?”) if confronted with the possibility of working at the Couples for Christ (CFC) Global Mission Center and the prospect of becoming a full-blooded male. But things have changed, Anselle admits. At the cusp of an extraordinary journey, he is counting the days before marrying his fiancée, Joyce Supnet, and giving thanks “for another opportunity to serve God.”
At 40, Anselle is excited and anxious about his upcoming family life. He met Joyce at the same Couples for Christ family renewal community where he is a full-time pastoral worker and she, an executive assistant in Coops for Christ. Joyce confides that she initially balked at accepting Anselle’s suit. “Lord, don’t kid me. I don’t want him. Let it not be him,” she prayed for two months after turning him down twice. “But he was persistent if a bit inexperienced and utterly ignorant in the game of courtship,” she recalls. Soon enough, says Joyce, she found herself turning around. “I began thanking God instead for this ‘gift,'” she adds.
Indeed, Anselle says he was persistent because he knew it was part of God’s plan for him to have a real family. “When I decided to court Joyce, I knew i wanted to marry her. One of my discoveries (after transformation) was that I have the capacity to love a woman.” he says with the sigh of one who knows he would have to tell his entire story to make people understand.
Two decades ago, begins Anselle, his typical Sunday meant getting drunk with buddies from the entertainment industry and intimate moments with his boyfriend of the week. These days, he spends his weekends giving inspirational talks and pastoral services in remote areas. “Before, I lived by rituals, traditions and schedules,” says Anselle. “Now I just lift everything to the Lord. If you follow your own whims, you miss the joy of serving God.”
After a writing stint with Jingle Extra Hot entertainment magazine, where he became popular with celebrities and picked libel suits at the same time, Anselle realized that show business has pushed him out of the closet.
“It was the start of a lifestyle that lasted almost 20 years,” he recalls. “I had affairs with all kinds of men and have done everything licentious in any place imaginable. Until, finally,” writes Anselle for Kerygma, a Catholic inspirational magazine, “I realized I was basking in the glory of my sexual freedom.” And why not? He seemed to have everything in life – money, fame, lovers. For five years, he lived with a man who went to church with him regularly, and agreed to adopt a child they nicknamed Bobom.
“True, I had everything a person could ask for,” recalls Anselle. “But before I hit the sack at night, I always got this gnawing feeling that all I had was temporary.”
The end came when Inday Badiday’s Loca Productions, where Anselle was resident writer, followed by GMA-7’s “Kris” and Miss D” of which he was creative director, closed down. Anselle became jobless and his long-time lover left him. The man who, at his grandmother’s behest, once entered St. Peter’s Seminary in his native province Antique found himself visiting the adoration chapel daily for help. It came in 1998 when GMA-7’s vice-president for programming Leny Parto recommended him for a writing and directorial job in CFC. The show, “In His Steps,” aired transformation stories over RPN-9.
“It was a good source of income, so initially I thought raket lang,” says Anselle. “But as I interviewed people who were transformed, I realized that there are people out there who made God for real. As I worked on the show, I didn’t know that God was working on me,” he says, adding that the stories he heard “were magnificent stories and couldn’t be the work of anybody or anything else, except God.”
The show signed off last February, but another life has opened for Anselle. “I realize now how I’ve tried to make myself bigger and bloated my sense of self-importance. That’s what we do; we build layers and masks to protect our vulnerabilities. But what God gives, He can take away. What He takes away, He can give back a thousandfold.”
Even then, Anselle admits, transformation was “a very painful process” for him.
“Part of the pain was the cynicism of people, especially my gay friends. But then again, that helped me fortify my commitment to God because I realize it’s my life, not theirs,” says Anselle.
He has since regretted his past, including his innumerable relationships with various men. “(People) don’t have to believe in me; my relationship with God is more important to me. It’s between God and me. I am just stupefied at how God has simplified my life, wants and needs.”
One of the most evident changes, Anselle notes, is in his attitude and the way he now smiles more often and cries at the littlest, smallest thing. “Before, as a reporter for ‘Eye to Eye.’ I was immune to the hapless face of poverty. Now, like every renewed Christian, a lot of things can move me to tears. Every stranger I meet is a friend because it is an opportunity sent to me by God.”
Anselle sees for himself an ideal future according to God’s will. He will father another boy, aside from Bobom, he says, and a girl. “Everything became clear when I joined this community. One has to dream and not just float through life. So ten years from now, I’d still be here, serving God.”