I was conducting interviews about “LGBTQIA Pride” before and after 2019’s Metro Manila Pride parade in Marikina City, and I noticed a common sentiment. I was asked (and I’d say validly): How can everyone have Pride when there are LGBTQIA people who live like shit; and the others who can – who ought to – give shit because they can afford to, arrogantly claim to only represent “conyo LGBTQIAs”? That is, they said, not “Pride”.
Supposedly, most people who join and participate in Pride activities are the ones who “do not really need ADB” or “additional support” because “they can survive” or “they are already okay in life”, while the marginalized among the marginalized – those who really need attention and help (such as the LGBTQIA seniors, indigenous people and differently-abled) – are actually being left out of the annual parade/march.
Paige is a twenty-something transwoman who grew up in Cavite. When she was 15, her oldest brother and his friends sexually molested her. This happened many times for several months. And when she told the traumatizing story to her mother, she was asked to leave the house. Her mother told her that she was destroying the family. Paige now works as a massage therapist.
Jen (not his real name) is a self-identifying “butch lesbian”, even if he is currently transitioning to be male. Earlier this year, Jen received a call from a high-end restaurant in BGC. As an HRM graduate, it was his dream to work in a big restaurant. But when the owner and manager saw him during the interview, they blatantly told him that they do not accept lesbians.
Chester is a Filipino-Chinese gay man. He is not out with his family, but he is open to his friends. He had three serious relationships and several flings in between. He currently owns two businesses.
Pride celebrations are supposed to commemorate the successes of the community and remind us that there is still a long way to go before we achieve what we have been fighting for since day one. It is also an opportunity for those who are able and have the capacity to march or represent those who cannot or refuse to come out.
Perhaps just as importantly, Pride is this idea (or a feeling) of “making it”.
Unfortunately, and sadly, Pride itself is a “blinder”.
“Pride is just like being happy or sad, or being at the moment. I’m now in my sixth month of transition and I’m enjoying everything. No need for Pride (gatherings); Pride is just a word. Why make a big deal out of it?” Jen said. “When I was turned away by the restaurant, I just said, ‘Fuck it!’ If you will dwell too much on the things that are putting you down, you can’t live your life to the fullest.”
“Bakit ako magkakaroon ng Pride? Hindi ako proud sa kung anong nangyari sa akin o kung nasaan ako. Sinubukan ko minsan na lumapit sa isang LGBT group, pinangako nila na tutulungan nila ako, pero hindi na nila ako tinawagan. Pakiramdam ko hindi ako tanggap ng mga katulad ko. Ang Pride para sa akin ay kung nakakakuha ako ng maraming tip sa spa (Why should I have Pride? I’m not proud of what happened to me or where I am today. I tried to reach out to one LGBTQIA group, they promised to help me, but they did not contact me after we met. I feel like I’m not accepted by the people who are also like me. For me, Pride is whenever I receive a lot of tips in the spa),” Paige said.
And for Chester: “I get that some LGBTQIAs do not experience fair treatment in the society. But don’t you think it’s a bit too much to encourage LGBTQIAs to come out and join Pride celebrations? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for equal rights as I’m very much against any form of discrimination. But do you think marching in the streets for one afternoon will help contribute to the betterment of the community? We will gain more presence, yes. What is next after that? You should feel Pride within yourself, regardless if you are being treated differently. Pride is a mindset,” Chester said.
Theirs are versions of LGBTQIA truths.
The ones not often discussed/paid attention to.
And truth be told, instead of just looking at the pictures we’re used to, it is also good to look at the other facets that are often just swept under the rugs; to listen and actually understand where these people are coming from.
“What is Pride?”
“Why should I have Pride?”
“Pride is not for everyone.”
“Pride is just a mindset.”
Their words, their views may not conform to what you believe Pride is/ought to be.
But they need to be acknowledged to contribute to the ever-changing idea and meaning of Pride.
Because Pride should go beyond the “glamorous” parades (and even political marches) and merchandise; those things we cling to. Pride should be more than that…