For this year’s Pride, let’s go back to where we started. No, scratch that. Rather why we started. It has been called the movement of Pride for reasons, celebrating love in all its forms as one, but more to unite in statement. In fighting for the same rights we were entitled to the moment we were born to this world and labeled a gender that we wouldn’t have known of that time. That we are humans too.

Times were never simpler even in the past. Pride parades started in New York as a protest against countless killings of gay people, the most gruel in the 1969 Stonewall riots, a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the community, wherein patrons of the Stonewall Inn, local street kids from the surrounding area, and members of the community who came from neighboring gay bars, fought back against an early morning police raid, refusing to be arrested for simply patronizing a gay bar and being out in public.

This year’s theme for the Metro Manila Pride is #ResistTogether, which aims to remind us that going to the march is not just to find a safe place but to make the whole world become welcoming, kinder, and inclusive. Through this yearly event, we honor the work which have built the foundations of our movement and continue its legacy by battling our ever-present and strong foes.

Now, more than five decades later, we are still in the same situation, only in a different setting, but with equal treatment. Queer people today receive the same discrimination as before, even after millions of lives have been sacrificed.

I think I’ve heard the worst fake coming out story ever told. President Rodrigo Duterte said, or at least thought, that he was gay in the past. To top that off, he also somehow shared that he cured himself off of it, implying homosexuality as a kind of disease. It is in this regime we’re in now more than ever that we must let our voice be heard. We owe it for those who fought for us without thinking for a second if we will be worth it.

READ: Duterte implies being gay is a disease

Just recently we received the news that the Anti-discrimination bill failed to hurdle Congress, which came out unsurprising given those in power are equipped with heteronormative and horribly homophobic standards. We are once again back at square one. How hard is it to grant protection for Filipino members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning (LGBTQ+) community against sex- and gender-based discrimination? How hard is it to merely provide acceptance when all can benefit from it?

Years have passed since we declared that #LoveWins always but let’s face it: most of the time it gets defeated. I know, it sounds so sad that the most powerful feeling of all gets oned up by ignorance, patriarchal tendencies, masochism, and blind religions. It is our reality. My girlfriend once told me that it’s all fun to be gay online, where most of your audience are tolerating and somehow “woke,” but whenever she snaps back to the actual, it is hard. It has always been hard and exhausting to constantly struggle to be accepted even to those who are closest to you. It’s as painful as it is comforting to know that you are not alone in this battle.

So come through mama, be free, and assert the rights of yourself, your friends, families, and of the coming generations, not just for the whole Pride month long but until we win this thing called equality.  

Get off your screen and wear your flag on June 29 at the Metro Manila Pride March happening at the Marikina Sports Center!