Colors of Pride: love letters to the dear LGBTQIA+ community

As part of the recent month-long Pride celebration all over places, I went out and joined the Metro Manila Pride March. There I met, chatted with, and asked a couple of lovely people to write love letters to the LGBTQIA+ community.

photo: courtesy of Sam

Y, bisexual

I just came out to my mom last night. Actually told her that, “Yes, mom I’ve loved a girl. She probably knows me better than you do.” Even though the outcome was as negative as I expected, I’ve never felt stronger because, for once, I fought for you. And I will continue fighting for myself and for everyone who’s experiencing a love that is forbidden to us. As you, my love, have been the one who’s strong enough to be with me in becoming the person I am today. I hope the sun shines brightly where you are right now. I hope you’re smiling and you’ve got all your goals set and done. I am with you in heart. I am always proud of you. I wish I had fought for you.

Here’s an excerpt of a piece I wrote years ago.

“Sleep was taking you away from me and all I could do was watch in silence. With our microphones muted this time for risk of getting caught. She warned me. She was a mother after all. I hear her footsteps in the background, but it doesn’t matter. What mattered was your heart beating like it was the “I love you” you’d forgotten to say before you left me for sleep. You are yawning and I love you. All we want is to be loved the right way. I was always worried. Your heart was too big, you needed it more than I did. Love may not be at the right time, but love will be the right person. Love who you love. One day, one time, the world will accept us.”

photo: by Marj

Abby, queer pansexual

My dear queers in the closet, I know Pride month must be difficult and taxing for you. You might feel pressure and anxiety seeing all the celebration, the outpouring of love, and the noise generated by the community, while you’re not able to participate openly because of fear for your own safety and sanity. I was once the same. Now that I have the privilege of being able to join in this year’s revelry, I carry you with me. I carry your joy, your pain, and all of your stories. Know that we’ll be here to welcome you with open arms whenever you are ready. You are so loved and you are not forgotten. Much love from the bottom of my very queer heart!

photo: courtesy of Abby

Seb, gay

Before Pride March, I was talking with this guy on Twitter. Asked him if he’s going and he told me that he’s not out to his family, and he’s afraid that they might find out about his sexuality. I felt sad, I wish he had an accepting family like mine. I didn’t have to come out to my parents. They didn’t even ask me regarding my orientation. I’m grateful because I didn’t struggle to hide in the closet. It was a privilege, I know. Now I march for people who can’t. I made a poster that says, “I’m sorry, Dad, I’m gay.” I’m hoping someday we’ll have a more accepting society, where those in that dark and lonely closet will never be afraid to come out. Pride is both a celebration and a protest. A celebration of our sexual identities and expressions, and a protest to have the same rights as heteros.

Pride will always happen until we LGBTQ people can walk down the street without getting harassed, and until we finally get the acceptance and rights that we deserve. Just like you, love, I have rainbow-colored blood cells, I am gay. I’m sorry that we have a fucked up society where we get to be treated as if we’re not human beings. I’m sorry that we get to experience all the hate from people surrounding us, even from our own community. But we shouldn’t be sorry for being who we are. We are beautiful people.

photo: by Marj

C, closeted

The world was black and white until you came along. You danced to your own music and sang to your own song. It wasn’t easy, there were obstacles on your way here, but can I just say, baby, there’s not a thing that you had to fear! You’ve battled all the disrespectful stares. You are bruised, and cut, and wounded, but now you stand without a care. Because you’re a person with a heart that’s made of rainbows. You give love like confetti and shoo away doubts and sorrows. You are beautiful! And we love you as a Romeo or a Juliet. Continue flashing your colors — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet! Happy Pride!

photo: courtesy of Bee

Sam, bisexual

I wrote a poem the day I learned about my aunt telling my dad that I was bisexual without my consent. This shouldn’t happen to anyone. It’s your story to tell, love. This is for you—we may not be ready to come out yet, but we’ll make a home out of this closet. You are not alone. You deserve all the stars, rays of colors. You are magic.

People have stripped your innocence away, but you have always been a force to be reckoned with. You were never caught. They tried to keep you inside your grandmother’s closet—but no, this was not home. They are terrified of you—you are known to turn regrets, apologies, and any type of hell into something as comforting as breakfast. You are warmth and soft edges and sharp tongue and paradise. You are not just lightning, not just leftover stories, love. You are not just an alibi, not just a stopover, or a deleted voicemail message. You’re not just someone’s phase. You’re not just a phase. You are more than just a prize and you do not need their applause to know you’ve won this time. I know it’s too much work—letting the stares slide, facing storms and braving oceans. The light scared you just as much as darkness did. But you have always had your own brand of brave—you were never short of amazing, of deserving.

photo: courtesy of Sam

Jethro, queer

Dear you, I hope you are doing well. I am always so proud of you. I am proud of you for knowing and living your truth. I am proud even if you are still finding it. I am proud of you for knowing who you love. I am proud of you for being strong. And I am proud of you for being kind. I am proud of you for dancing your heart out to nights you want to shimmer. And I am proud of you for fighting to be heard, and fighting for those who can’t. I am proud of you for trying to love yourself more, in a society who thinks you shouldn’t. I am proud of you for holding that someone’s hand, because you want to. And I am proud of you for smiling. For laughing. For feeling. I am proud because you exist.

photo: by Marj

Bee, gay

First things first, you are gay. You have always been gay. The sooner you fully accept this, the better. However, things are going to be hard from here on out. You are going to have to stand up to your family, friends, teachers, schoolmates, and complete strangers. You will make them see you’re not one to mess around with. There will be a lot of changes, good and bad. You will try to mask the self-loathing by being the resident clown, but we both know you’re not laughing with them. So here’s what you’re going to do:

Start celebrating even the smallest triumphs. Accept compliments! Learn how to appreciate your hair! Get off your high unicorn! When people say you’re good, say “Thank you!” instead of “Whaaaaat, no.” There’s a difference between accepting praise when you know you’ve done well, and being an airhead. Take risks. Rejections don’t mean you’re not good. Just keep on trying. Swim towards islands unfamiliar. Rest. Somewhere down the road you got very tired, and it’s okay. It’s okay to take a breather, but it’s never good to quit.

You are not going to be completely alone. You have your family, both biological and chosen. You are going to meet someone who will love you for all that you are, and will always hold your hand when the going gets tough. Love from 2018, Bee. Yes, you’re gonna be “Bee” today. Yes, it’s a cool name. You’re welcome.

photo: courtesy of Bee

Happy Pride to everyone who’s still closeted.

Happy Pride to everyone who’s been kicked out.

Happy Pride to everyone who lives somewhere where it’s illegal to love who they love.

Happy Pride to everyone celebrating! Love always wins!

Marj Ostani

Marj is a Filipina culture & entertainment writer currently based in Manille. You'll best spot her at gigs, fairs, bazaars and exhibits with the signature tote bag. Former INFJ-turned-INTJ, a gemini rising feminista!

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