Out, proud and together
“Every time someone steps up and says who they are, the world becomes a better, more interesting place.” —Captain Raymond Jacob Holt, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” series (portrayed by Andre Braugher)
For most people, coming out of the closet feels like the hardest phase of self-acceptance, especially in a conservative country like the Philippines.
This year, however, the LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender/Queer/Intersex/
Asexual) community has once again proven to the world that nobody is alone in one’s struggles to tell the world who one truly is.
The LGBTQIA+ community raised its rainbow flags again in this year’s Pride March and Festival on June 30 at the Marikina Sports Center, with the theme Rise Up Together!
Now on their 24th year, the community and their allies, friends and family gathered and marched together in solidarity to effect policy and societal changes.
Spearheaded by LAGABLAB LGBT Pilipinas and Metro Manila Pride, the event became a festival of unique individuals of all colors, shapes and sizes, with roughly 10,000 participants who showed the Philippines and the rest of the world how proud they are to be members of one of the most resilient and tenacious communities in the world.
We asked some participants to share their experiences and what they expected from the event.
“I didn’t know what to expect, to be honest. Everything about Pride surprised me, sa totoo lang. Nagulat ako sa sobrang dami ng taong pumunta. It most certainly surprised me to see those hecklers outside the sports center hating us LGBT. As a first-timer, I was overwhelmed. Maybe it was the sea of rainbow flags, or maybe it was the person onstage talking but all I know was I almost cried twice during Pride,” said an emotional Althea Micay.
With the astounding number of supporters, Rise Up Together became a huge success despite the increment weather.
The participants turned Marikina Sports Center into a garden of rainbow roses, vibrant, elegant and beautiful. Each of them had his/her individual stories of coming out, his/her own personal battles, and everyday fears—but everyone had something in common: that one is proud to be who one is.
If there was a great lesson we could glean from them, it would be “to accept who you are and live your life without the fear of never being yourself.”
The community showed us that “love is love”—no matter how strange it is in the eyes of society.
Perhaps many people are still struggling, hiding in the closet, but none of us should fear the judgmental society, because everywhere we go there are those who will love us for who we are.
The only question is “will you love yourself for who you pretend to be, or will you Rise Up and show your true colors?”
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