What started as a relationship immediately after a 15-min hookup 13 years ago ended up in a solemn ceremony in Sofitel where John and Mark* exchanged rings and vowed to love each other for the rest of their lives. Call it what you want, but I find it impossibly romantic.
“So after you came, you just knew that you loved him?” I asked last night. “Yeah. We became a couple first then started dating.” What’s even more surprising to me was when they moved in to John’s family house, Mark had to pretend to be a bedspacer in John’s room. Both of their families don’t know, but I’m betting my pinky finger that they suspect but just can’t accept.
Pride is a celebration for those fighting for acceptance and equality. We fight for those who cannot speak – the basketball varsity boy who’s majorly infatuated with his classmate in an exclusive high school, the deeply religious young executive who fear that revealing his true self will turn his family against him, even that single mom who’s starting to fall in love with Anne, her fellow Yoga partner.
These stories have existed in every generation, race and gender. Its influence is arguably more expansive than the civil rights and women’s rights movement.
“On June 28 1969, New York’s LGBT community rebelled against the repression and violence they faced at the hands of the police and state. A peaceful, non-confrontational approach had left much to be desired, and thus a fiery response in a period of protest and civil rights movements marked the beginning of a new phase of LGBT activism. One year later, the first Pride marches were held to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall riots.”
Next year, Pride will celebrate its golden anniversary! The West has started to adapt same sex unions, while at this part of the globe, we’re still fighting to be accepted by our families and the law. Those in the middle east and some African states are more severe – life in exchange for freedom of expression.
Technology has created pockets of avenues where people who hide can express themselves – through dating apps like Tinder and Grindr, to alternative personalities in Twitter, and user generated media in Blued. Media has always been an ally of the LGBTQ + fam community, but it’s comforting to see that we’re getting more shows that speak of acceptance like RuPaul’s Drag Race and Queer Eye.
In the next 50 years, I hope that we’ll see families and religious people join Pride. I think Filipinos can learn a lot by going to these celebration-protests because people seldom value the things we were born with – democracy, acceptance, etc, – and here, you can really see people rejoice that they are free to choose whom they want to love, even if society thinks otherwise.
*not their real names