My latest POC Pinoy LGBT article is now up, in time for today's pride march in Manila. I echo the Occupy Wall Street movement's rationale of being in a certain percentage of the population.
I wasn't actually planning on writing what I wrote there. But it just surprised me the other day. I woke up thinking that thought -- that hey, we are not the 90 percent -- that I felt so impassioned and opened my laptop and started typing that article, in one sitting. I was so fired that all of a sudden, it dawned on me: yes, this isn't over. Things still have to be done. Like what my friend reminded me early this year: "Libay, they are not the movement. Rally for the cause." By they, she meant some negative elements circulating in our atmosphere, seeding clouds that rain on our parade, so to speak. She, too, has seen it first hand, like I did years ago, and we compared notes.
And hence, my "recluse-ness."
Plus I wasn't actually planning on doing things for this, today. I stated last year that last year's pride was going to be my last in Manila (but not in other parts of the Philippines, mind you) but I guess you can't take the march out of me, even if some elements in the Manila scene made me feel like I am unwelcome in my own sphere.
But chatting with my longtime bff last night -- herself a pride marcher since our late '90s days -- I again got the feeling that indeed, there is no end to this: correcting misconceptions, highlighting victories, and eradicating prejudice. I've long been whining to her, for like half a decade now, how I seem to be so in disconnect with the lgbtq scene here in Manila, "simply" because I have been espousing thoughts outside of that spectrum -- I am the q in lgbt. But where is the q? It has always been LGBT. So now, you know my dilemma.
It's not merely about identity as well. It's about my stake in it, and how people perceive it and how they reject it, actually. Yes, even within the movement, sometimes there are rejections of our kind, especially if we don't "maintain" a certain status quo. I mean, when else would true emancipation emerge if we don't get our act together?
But differences aside, this is really why, at least during one day of the year, we are all united, and hopefully we are all reminded that indeed, WE ALL HAVE A STAKE IN THIS, NO MATTER OUR APPROACHES. You say activist, I say advocate. Potato, powtahtow. You know what I'm saying?
So please peeps, stop ostracizing people who are perceived to be gay just because they choose to remain in the closet. And stop ostracizing lgbts who try to challenge our lgbt status quo, simply because each movement should have checks and balances once in a while. Please, do not ostracize those who do the checking and certainly don't be all messianic and think that a handful of you are the "only" ones who do the balancing. Intiendes?
And to the rest of those who do not understand other people's labels, I thought the point of solidarity is to be just that -- to be solid, tight, bonded as one: one in fight, one in objective, one in goal. No matter how each of us decides to travel this path to equality -- whether we're inside the closet but still inching our way to somewhere, or we're so out there that we try to convince others to see things from our rainbow lenses -- the most important thing is, WE ARE ALL TRAVELING. And travel connotes movement. And once we recognize that each form of travel is a move forward, then each small step by us -- no matter how private or publicly we do it -- is the way towards an empowered leap for queerkind.
Even with my whining as to how people seem to not get me, I say what the hey. I was reminded by good friends that I don't have to, I just have to be. To be who I am, do the things I love, things that make my blood rush with excitement, that's going to be who I am. Yes, I have to write that down somewhere, because sometimes, I forget, and I slip into some state of emotional coma. I need to constantly remind myself as well that I still have lots of things to do in my life, regardless of how people perceive me. And whoever can't get with the program can just mind their own business na lang, please. Because I won't start morphing into other people's perceived notions of identity simply to "fit in." Since I was small, my cousins have always tagged me as a nonconformist, even if I still didn't know what that word meant. Now that I know, I embrace it. So no, I don't need to conform to what your ideal persona is, and if I happen to fall outside your arena of personas, then so be it. Sooner or later, someone who happens to like this persona will arrive, as they have in the past (and someone is still there, actually, and I thank her for still being there, regardless of the distance :)). Yes, I don't mind waiting, because I also have other things to do while I wait. Yes, I also need to remind myself of that, to not be stagnant. My mind also has to move, not just my body, because movement is a staple of my soul's nourishment.
So today, we try to move, still. Even if I'm just in the periphery, documenting this event in photos -- like what I've been doing since 1997 -- and writing about this in some form of media, I do what I can, whenever I can, whichever way I can. This is how I participate, this is how I show my pride, and this is how I show my solidarity with the movement. Yes, we have different ways but we have the same objectives.
So HAPPY PRIDE, MANILA. Yes, that song is true; I keep coming back to Manila. I guess I can't help it.
So Malate, I'm coming home.
For now. :)