What Am I Proud of: Quarter-life musings and Pride March

Posted by Alvin John Ballares | Posted on July 3, 2019

June 29, 2019, Marikina City

 

What are you proud of?

The question I have been asking myself lately, maybe this moment in life most people call ‘quarter life crisis’ has kicked in, or that Nietzschean brand of obscurity slides in. Add to that is the amount of time I spend, quite a lot, on monologues. You can only imagine how this Underpressure song by Queen and  is playing in my head. Now this brings me to this year’s Metro Manila Pride event. This has somehow offered me a new set of lens to look at things and a good sense purpose that staved off my anxiety.

Ping, Lau and Cla buying stuff in Divisoria

 

Dare to take your colors to the streets

I sure want to inform you that I’m a straight ally. I think that is really important to let our brothers and sisters in the LGBTQIA community know that there are allies like me, for all the world to see that you don’t have to be gay to support LGBTQIA causes. This is my second Pride March, by the way. The first one I joined was back in 2016, Negros Pride March, in Bacolod City.

HAPI LGBTQ Lead Convenor, PJ Baya and his friends representing HAPI

But this Pride March was a lot more overwhelming than the first one I attended for so many reasons. The people I crossed paths with are DARING, intentionally all caps in bold letters, I cannot flag that word ‘daring’ enough to get noticed. It was one memorable opportunity to walk with these beautiful people clad in rainbow colors, tens of thousands who braved the rain, strode across the muddy venue grounds were wearing 6-inch I-don’t-what-it’s-called shoes, disregarded the human traffic, and ignored street hecklers. This year’s pride has taken on a deeper purpose, to emphasize that this is not just a celebration but also PROTEST.

ANG PRIDE AY PROTESTA! (Pride is a protest!)

Teach them young with acceptance, not ignorance

This resounded all throughout the breadth and width of the Marikina Sports complex, which was filled to the brim. The message was clear: this protest was meant to resist are all forms of discrimination. This gathering sends a strong statement that the LGBTQIA and allies, in a collective effort, are on the forefront to resist homophobia, transphobia, bigotry, misogyny, and all those negative shades. The lyrics of the protest further takes it to the next level, it was directed to the closed-minded society that has boxed in the LGBTQ into heteronormative frames for generations. There was a whole bible-thumping jeering squad chanting indignation towards the parade participants. They don’t skip pride events, I mind you.

Fundies and their version of protest

 

 

 

 

 

Marikina LGBT Org and the HAPI banner

This is a protest to show the government that the LGBTQIA community is a force to reckon with, and push the legislative body against the wall for the SOGIE Bill has been on a floating status for almost 19 years! Here’s another reason why should this Pride March be a protest, majority of the legislators oppose same-sex civil unions. Despite all those negativities, the LGBTQIA community continues to carry on a fight.

  The HAPI truck

Angie Driskell and teens

Mass movements really amaze me- they demand a response from those who hold power. Mass action demands a systemic response to specific needs. I’m reminded once again of Tiananmen Square Protests and EDSA people power protests. These mass movements changed our political and social landscape forever.

Protesting is my kind of elixir that effectively wakes me up when I just want to drown myself in anxiety. I actually have been feeling down for the past weeks, the Dementor was almost there. But do you know what this Pride did to me? It gave some kind of validation. Overcoming anxiety through marching with these beautiful people in the streets, well I think, is really something that I should be proud of.

It kind of rejuvenated my own sense of purpose and got me back on the track. Now I feel a little better.

HAPI CFO Dwengster with Shane, PJ, and HAPI wealth manager, Mac.

Day to Remember

I’m really proud of to have paid homage to the LGBTQIA community who stormed the city streets. A massive crowd of 77,000 people of color and allies that made it to a record-breaking number that far exceeded the largest estimate at 40,000. Sure that was one for the books, the oldest and largest LGBT PRIDE MARCH in South East Asia. Even up to this point I’m actually still trying to process the whole experience into intelligible words. Many participants even travelled from the provinces, as far as Zambales and Bicol, just to get there, mad respect to all!

HAPI Kids represent!

This was day to remember, for it was one long tiring day of transporting merchs back and forth, and running errands. I will never forget this stubborn day where I got my shoes wet and had to change clothes three times. I was able to do some exercise because I have to slither my way through the throng of people who filled the venue while carrying a table and a box. So yeah, that’s cardio and weight lifting in one packet.

A contigent of Swedish LGBTQ rights advocates

I’m proud to have paid homage to these people. They are all damn gorgeous!

They came in ready to rock the streets. They came in with their game face on to be heard through this day of protest, the only one day- just one day- to finally express themselves, and be proud of who/what they are. But everybody in the parade made sure to make it a day to remember. This march was colorful, for it showed off the cultural power there is in the LGBTQIA community. This annual event is slowly shaping public opinion, language, and everyday behavior. I’m pretty confident that I’m looking a bigger social change in the future.

I also want to make this event a discussion point for everybody who claims to be a humanist.

As secular humanists, we are a people who look for human-based solutions to our problems, our desires, our dreams, and all that.

Bible thumpers and their version of LGBT

To sum it all up, I’m proud to be a human. I’m proud that I was able stand up for people, in a collective struggle to educate people to eventually eliminate the stigma. Not as a cheerleader, but as one of the front liners. I’m proud to be a part of this fight. I’m proud for not being an asshole, that I was able to declare that we should share space with people different from us. I’m proud that I can talk about this with no hesitation, absent of fear of being judged. I’m proud that I was able to march with those who suffer from hatred, and discrimination.

Happy Pride!

So when anxiety kicks again, I now know what to do. I will revisit my experience at the Pride March. Somehow that makes me happy.

 

 

 

 

 

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About The Author

Alvin John Ballares, HAPI ED

Activist | Secular Humanist |Freethinker

Modern Diogenes.

HAPI Executive Director

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