Pride March 2015: Street Chronicles and Thoughts

June is pride month. Although for most, it’s typically just some ordinary month, probably, the season for weddings (thus the popular expression “June Bride”), to the LGBT community, it’s a celebration and commemoration of coming out in the open to reveal the real self in each. Though this runs universally across countries, the characteristics of each country’s pride march vary in so many aspects. It basically has something to do with context and development.

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Status Quo

Just the night before the pride march in Manila, Philippines, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has made Equal Marriage to law across 50 states. This may have come late for the US since some countries have done so in the past or just recently, it’s still development no matter how it is put. This then led me to one question: what is then its implication to the Philippines considering how submissive we are to the American pop-culture and trend? Will this mean progress as well for us? Will it possibly mean resistance?

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While the SCOTUS was in the talks on this, one lawyer in the Philippines has passed a petition for the same. Though this was rather quick in response to the social climate that the country has, such intent and act is rather progressive.

Moreover, an anti-discrimination bill has been drafted and passed for legislation for the purpose of equalizing the current situation and mindsets of most people in the country. Although this is still in the talks among legislators, again, this is still development in the most general sense.

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But most importantly, what should be put in focus is basically the social climate on which this development and progress thrives? Are the people ready for this change? Is the general public open to this possibility? Though the blend and mix of opinions make it seem that people are rather “okay” with it, there is still no acceptance for that matter as people just have that sense of tolerance probably brought about by the neutralizing effect that media has, with positive images of gay personalities on TV, that being funny, entertaining, smart, and good-looking. But understanding what the movement is all about is unbeknownst to most.

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Where is the Philippines at this point?

This year’s march is my second but my first, full-action pride movement. I have strong views and principles on this matter, but in the context of own country, I hold rather half-hearted thoughts on revelry and celebration. All I am saying is that it’s still a long way for us. But I can definitely see progress.

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Whereas in Canada or Spain, June is a matter of celebrating pride with drinks and parades, for the Philippines, it’s a protest and rallying march because it’s still a fight, a long battle to win in the future; but this future is certainly brighter.

This will always be a continuous rally because in context, the Filipino LGBT community is disconcerted in the most basic sense. There is still a public divide brought about by the influence of family, friends, work, and personal preferences. This comes as one challenge for the movement. But this is constantly changing as time goes by because progress is seen.

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In my opinion, my country is open to change. Groupthinking and getting in the bandwagon may facilitate the very cause and reason for the movement, and Filipinos are open to what is being talked about. People often are open to progressive thinking because it’s just different and outside their sense of comfortability and routine.

But I have to be open to the possibility of letting most people deeply understand the very cause. People need to go to the point of such movement. Grassroots can definitely be the vehicle to this, and again, in context, there is development no matter how menial it may seem.

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Where is the Philippines going?

No one exactly knows where this development is heading, but there will definitely be change regardless of the future’s proximity. At this point the march will serve its purpose. I have spoke with pride colleagues, and we will continue to march because at this point, it’s what we can do to steer people and facilitate change in the most harmonious manner. Social media will play an important role in advocacy and movement circulation. People will always be up-to-date with current events.

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Lastly, as a note to myself, it is better to face people with their dissenting views as opposed to denying them the understanding of the cause and movement. It may at first be difficult to encounter critiques and discriminatory remarks, but it’s better to rally in positive means as opposed to coercive dictum shoving up everything up one’s throat without will to understand.

Progress is good. Development is apparent. And the future is definitely brighter.

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