Every year you see us.
Every year you hear of us.
We take to the streets, all colorfully garbed in outlandish clothing or costumes sewn to look like our favorite celebrity or icon or even just in simple everyday clothes, arm in arm holding signs or banners- that would indicate the chapter or subgroup that we represent- but all with a smile on our faces and an earnest agenda in our hearts.
Every year June has become PRIDE month, the time when the LGBTQIA community celebrate and make our presence known and felt. It is has evolved and has become a movement that started as a protest march in 1969 in New York City after police raided a bar in Greenwhich Village called The Stonewall Inn.
And while the generation who have lived through that ordeal may have all been gone, the effects of what they have done have certainly trickled down the years. This effect has both galvanized and changed the way people see the community these days.
Here in the Philippines, the atmosphere is no less jovial nor less anticipatory as the first Pride March occurred back in 1994. This happened when two groups, Progressive Organization of Gays in the Philippines (ProGayPhilippines) and Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) organized a march that began on EDSA on the corner of Quezon Avenue to the Quezon Memorial Circle.
Pretty soon the marches continued as the number of people who participated every year increased.
One of the most memorable marches was the one in 1998 when the country celebrated its Centennial. The parade was “incorporated” into the citizen's parade and was attended by then President Joseph Estrada at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta Park. In the years that followed, the PRIDE marches beginning 2016 have shifted to Marikina City, a city that has always been inclusive and respectful of the community, to a point that it has now joined the list of Local Government Units (LGU) in having an anti-discriminatory policy that protects its LGBTQIA constituents.
The Pride March last year, of which the theme was #RiseUpTogether drew a crowd of 25,000 people making it the largest and also the oldest Pride demonstration in Southeast Asia.
This year with its new theme as #ResistTogether, a protest in itself against injustice and oppression, the gathering will be held once more at the Marikina Sports Center and is expected to surpass the record number of attendees last year.
No doubt as every year Markina holds the parade, more people are expected to join and show solidarity for a local community that has grown so much since it began.
But PRIDE is not only for the LGBTQAI community, straight allies and friends are also welcome to march along and bring awareness to the populace that gay men and women are indeed part of society. That we, like everyone else, have jobs that allow us to have roofs over our heads, support our respective families and contribute to the further growth of society as a whole. Regardless of sexual preference, that alone is already something to crow about.
When you are living your life in truth, in earnest and in the direction of your choosing then that already is a reason to celebrate. And while it is PRIDE month, the acceptance or normalcy that the community craves for should also be not relegated to simply just a month. When you live your lives every day in TRUTH, in the light of HOPE and DIGNITY as you pursue and harness your FREEDOM with COURAGE and VISION, and unashamed of WHO YOU ARE then you have all the reason to be proud of what you have accomplished. So don't be afraid to show affection in public. Snuggle. Kiss. Hold Hands. It's a natural thing to be and do if you are in relationship. If our straight counterparts feel natural to do so in public, why should we be any lesser or any different. We're all EQUAL. We're all HUMAN.
As the Queen of Soul once sang about…. PRIDE is a deeper love…it’s the power that gives us the strength to survive.
When you have all these, no matter the weather, it will always be sunny in your backyard. And who knows you may just see a Rainbow.
Happy PRIDE to my fellow LGBTQIA brothers and sisters.
For more information on today’s march, just visit. www.mmpride.org