The pride flag bears with it the colors of the rainbow. The flag alludes to the different individual, sexual preferences that people that are out of the binary standards of men and women. Although this creates a flashing show to catch people’s attention, the flag has a deeper meaning in history and in the lives of the LGBT community.
Sexuality, academically speaking, is a continuum. It doesn’t subscribe to the extremes. There is no black or white. Every individual is never totally heterosexual, and this is fact. Social institutions have set this binary relationship as a form of formal social control, but the fact is left behind that people have a mix and hybrid of sexualities. The rainbow is a constant proof that everyone is set on a spectrum, and this should be respected. Apart from this, there is the notion that there is that resiliency among the members of the LGBT despite odds. The rainbow remains to be that hope.
But more than just the scholastic meaning it has, the pride flag holds itself the long history of fighting for equal rights, love, and the opportunity to live a life free of prejudice. The pride narrative is not as pronounced in Asian and conservative countries as compared to those in the west, much like the Stonewall history. However, each of these countries has its own pride history or story, which presently unfolds. The Stonewall history will remain as the benchmark of fact, an affirmation that there is indeed a reason to walk the streets and show that there is no justification of the un-dignifying discrimination.
June is pride month to most. Other countries commemorate this event in latter months. But just this year, it held so much meaning to me in a sense that there is a point of just putting up a show every year, and leave the rest of the months unpredictable, lived on what is confining, routine, and seemingly normative, yet subtly reprehensible because of the ingrained homophobic mindset, yet disguised in tolerance, and not acceptance.
I have always been living in the safe zone, thinking of my future alone. But it just feels enriching to know that I have a reason and purpose to live. I used to figure out if I should pursue my pride principles and live them amidst adversities despite some of my people’s seeming indifference. The Pride March has been quite an event that remains not so significant until this year when a quick realization occurred to me. I became quite emotional after the Orlando killings and how lagging my country still remains. But it occurred to me that there is even more reason for me to put people together because there is work to be done. The hope of seeing the stories of Filipino gays who were tagged as parloristas in the past and those today who can live out in the open for one’s identification makes me think that there is progression. I am even strengthened more so by the people, who are heterosexual, who believe we have lives to live regardless of our sexualities. But just the simple thought of being accepted, appreciated, and loved, and no gay slurs and discriminant commentaries using gays as expression of disgust and frustration, makes me hope all the more.
Secondly, I have realized that despite the seeming acceptance as disguised by tolerance in my country, as made evident by silence and calm doesn’t count as understanding of what we are going through. The argument that we should be grateful for Filipinos are more accommodating than the people living in more conservative countries does not hold strong as this will make people settle, and settling does not mean progress; it means silencing for a while, yet living a reprehensible and discriminant life later on. We do not demand for total acceptance. We just want a more open society that will try to bring understanding of who we are, of the lives we continue to struggle to live, and of the people who remain frail of what the future will hold. This I strongly hold on to for I see a future of people more sensible, more involved, more engaged, and more understanding, and this is not solely relevant to the straight but to my people as well.
The pride colors bring with them not just the flamboyant lives that we can live out today. They bring history, stories, and lives out in the open to circumspect. These remain to be less significant to most people, but to me, they will be the reason to bring forth what Pride and its colors mean. I don’t just advocate or ally; I will work for change.