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Pink Rockers: Pink underground

Mad Abril acknowledged that “even in the supposedly progressive world of music, there is discrimination.” This was found surprising since “punk is supposed to be on the progressive side of the spectrum”. At least to initially address this, Pink Rockers was formed.

Pink Rockers can trace back its roots to a gay networking site. “It was mostly a social thing and we were a small bunch (of people),” group coordinator cum “head banana” Mad Abril recalled. Eventually, though, “we formally organized ourselves into a group and adapted the name ‘Pink Rockers’. We then joined our first Pride March in 2007. Forming the group was a collective decision and no one can take solo credit for it.”

Mad Abril acknowledged that “even in the supposedly progressive world of music, there is discrimination. It can be subtle, such as associating certain genres as pang-bading or you have songs with homophobic lyrics. Some local music forums also display hate. We encountered a punk forum once where the members were vile and homophobic. This was surprising because punk is supposed to be on the progressive side of the spectrum. Pink Rockers was originally formed to address that.”

The three people behind Pink Rockers: Mark Baul, Tin F. Garcia and Mad Abril

In 2012, the group’s leadership noticed that most of its members and supporters aren’t musicians but belong to other groups. “We also realized that LGBT discrimination in music limits our scope and it was frustrating knowing that there are other issues, such as bullying and violence against LGBTs. So we decided to evolve again and bring artists, writers, bloggers, photographers, and even gamers into the fold,” Mad Abril said. Right now Pink Rockers is made up of LGBT folks, with a significant number of straight supporters (“And we love our straight friends/supporters”).

Pink Rockers now “advocates gender equality, everyone – regardless of sexual orientation – deserves to enjoy the same rights as everyone.” It also advocates a “positive approach to sex. As long as responsible and well-informed adults are involved – it is their right.”

What challenges are faced by the group now? “Right now, there are only three of us working to thoroughly establish and get Pink Rockers off the ground. We have daytime jobs as well, so we cannot commit a 100% of our time,” Mad Abril admitted. There’s also the matter of finances. “We don’t have funders or the moolah to fuel our bigger projects /ideas.” However, all in all, “we think we manage with whatever resources we have. We make use of Facebook to discuss plans, we ask supporters to volunteer their time and their skills. So far, we’ve been very lucky. (And) as for funding/grants, we’d like to hook up with other groups or non-profits in case they want to partner with us to implement their projects – why not?”

Achievements that the group is proud of include: two music productions both held at the UP Film Center – the first one, “Pink Manifesto”, showcased artwork from LGBT artists (and one straight guy), while the second one was a gender inclusive prom held this March; and two photo campaigns on Facebook – the first one, “I am pink and this is how we rock!”, was aimed to challenge stereotypes about looks and gender, while the second, “Love Rocks. Love Unfolds”, pointed out that love is love.

There are other big plans coming up, though Mad Abril teased that “we don’t want to spoil the fun just yet (or perhaps jinx it),” he laughed, “but we’re putting all our talents and skills into those projects.”

Pink Rockers continues to be a unique group “because we take pride in being a subculture within the LGBT culture… We think that we are also different given that we choose to forego the usual militant approach and face discrimination through humour, art, and perhaps with slight doses of sexy,” Mad Abril said.

And there – among others – lies the beauty of Pink Rockers.

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Whether one is a musician, an artist, or is into anything related to the arts – and believe in gender equality – then they can join Pink Rockers through Facebook (facebook.com/pinkrockersph) or they can send an email at pinkrockers.ph@gmail.com. “We are always looking for extra hands (nothing kinky),” said Mad Abril, “and since we feel that 2013 is going to be a busy year for us, we definitely need all the help we can get.”

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