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New York Pride

Awareness Days happen in June all over the world when the LGBTQ community celebrates. The global events are held as a way of recognizing the influence LGBTQ people have earned since the Stonewall Riots took place way back in 1969. One of the largest and most well-known parades happened in New York with half a million people participating in its 25th anniversary. This year, the Big Apple had a huge parade with most vaccinated citizens going out unmasked while some still stayed safe with rainbow-colored face masks.

Although attitudes and injustice still remain, we celebrate by raising awareness, improving attitudes in society, and encouraging inclusiveness. PRIDE is a movement that marks sexual diversity.

P is for prejudice: a preconceived judgment or opinion, an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or sufficient knowledge. Even in this era of bold sexual mores, the Philippines’ view towards homosexuality is still an enigma that people find disturbing, embarrassing, and reluctant to discuss. Yet, mainstream entertainment is led by media personalities, like tranny Vice Ganda, who is adored even by preschoolers, or Boy Abunda, who is our national influencer the way Oprah Winfrey is to America. Important events in our lives are being influenced by gay fashion designers and we are primped out to look beautifully delicious by our trans hairdressers.

Gurls celebrated with colored wigs; middle, a unicorn joins the parade; right, fashion models participated, too* PAULINO HILAY photos

R stands for rage: a period of extreme or violent anger, a vehement passion or desire that was started by the Stonewall Riots that quickly spread all over the world. It was marked when the 1950s popular singer, Connie Francis, called for homosexuals not to hold teaching positions in schools. Well, she ended up being the hate object of the gay community and virtually disappeared from the face of the earth, suffering breakdowns and financial ruin.

I is for identity: the qualities of a person or a group that make them different from others, the fact of being who or what a person is. What kind of world could we live in without artists? History has shown that most great artists were gay. A long list of historical heroes were gay, just look them up in YouTube starting with Julius Caesar.

Rainbow colors on umbrellas, suits, socks, shorts and T-shirts; middle, Mr. Rainbow Man himself; right, surgical masks made colorful statements*
It takes all kinds to celebrate Pride; right, all kinds of flags and hairstyles celebrate Pride in New York*

D stands for destabilization: the process of upsetting the stability of a region or system, an event that causes a loss of equilibrium. When the gay movement finally showed its clout in politics, Walter Mondale, who even refused to meet with gays, started to tell gay audiences that he will champion their rights. Reverend Jesse Jackson once suggested that the disease AIDS was God’s way of punishing homosexuality. Then, he turns around and supports a gay civil rights bill.

E is for equality: the right of different groups of people to have a similar position and receive the same treatment, the state of being equal. The 1970s was a turning point when gay became a household word and the world opened up the entire debate on human sexuality.

Same sex marriage is still not allowed in 167 countries, mostly in Africa and communist countries. Homosexuality is still a crime in 74 countries or jurisdictions around the world. Fourteen of these impose the death penalty and five of these up to life imprisonment. These also happen mostly in Africa and communist countries.

It’s good to know that we now have gay politicians from our Senate down to our local governments. The LGBTQ community will be an important factor in the coming elections. Our present mayor’s eldest brother, Joe Leonardia, was Bacolod’s FIRST tranny to be accepted by the elite, polite society and was the toast of the town. The Lupit church was full to the brim during his funeral. The opposition is now gathering a powerful LGBTQ community on its side. Bacolod can recover its tourism industry by introducing a LOVE parade. In the end, love wins!

My prayer: And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:14-15, NIY*

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