I look around online, and I find all these people marching out to pride and taking a stand. I understand that it's as much a festival as it is a protest. To take courage and join everybody under the banner is something that's to be admired. These people are open to be themselves and despite whatever hardships they faced because of something that should be so simple, they find a reason to stay true to who they are.
Sadly, I can't do that yet.
Pride Month really reminds me of my state in society. As a gay man living under his family's roof in the Philippines, it's hard to break away from the social constructs that were drilled and shoved into our minds. There's just so much to say about us when it really shouldn't matter. I find myself being on the receiving end of so much homophobia it makes me want to gag.
The worst part is that it isn't even from friends. That homophobia is coming from family.
I remember clearly how my family found me with some NSFW material on the internet, gay stuff I wanted to explore. They threatened to throw me out in the streets of the Red Light District in nothing but a dress and make-up. I was too scared to fend for myself, so I had to vocally "rebuke" my sexuality. It didn't stop there. I had forced myself to try brainwashing myself to be straight. I immersed myself in straight porn, prayer, reading good fiction, anything to set my mind to that side. But really, there was no interest. I couldn't bring myself to be straight, and so with my admirations and my frustrations, I suffered in silence.
My friends were the only people willing to embrace me. Maybe it was because they didn't care as much. Maybe they were open-minded. My family, they cared too much. I think therein lied the flaw. They thought they and their religion knew what was best for me. For me, the reality was that it was all up to me.
So when I see these people marching to Pride with all the pride in the world, I tell myself that someday, someday, I can march with them.
Until then, I will suffer in silence. I won't stop, though. They can't smother me.
I remember something that was mentioned by RuPaul Charles in the popular reality TV show, "RuPaul's Drag Race":
"As gay people,
I can't help but think of how true that is.
I've met so many people in University that it has become my Saving Grace, my haven away from home. I look at my house and I see a prison. And as safe as they want me to live, I want to reach outside, explore, understand, feel.
I want to live.
So I'm keeping my fire burning, this passion in my heart, and I won't shy away from how I am.
When the time comes that I do come out, I have people who support me, who love me as I am, as a person, as a gay man. I'm sad that the unconditional love my family offers me comes with so many strings attached, expecting absolute obedience.
But I know that I'd rather die as myself, than live as somebody else.
Enjoy Pride Month, guys. Remember, that no matter what, you're precious and you're loved, as crazy as you may be.