At about 45 minutes and on flat terrain, it was the shortest and easiest trekk of my life. But every step our motley group took was an affirmation of our identity and our inherent right to assert our presence and be accepted. We were at the 2008 Manila Pride March. The route begun at Remedios Circle and took us around Pedro Gil and Malate’s side streets and terminated at the small stage set-up at Nakpil. We were blessed with cloudy skies making the parade very pleasant with nary a sweat in our brows. Heck, I didn’t even need to hydrate.
For me and everyone else at Guys4Mountains, this was our first-ever Pride
March. It was a hastly organized delegation as the group, or at least most of those who are really active, had already made plans for “Panay Keblah,” an Iloilo-Guimaras-Boracay trip that had been books months before. Work schedules had Congressboi and me cancelling our flights. Last-minute postings and text blasts produced 5 participants with Adam and Joseph bringing 2 guests and Bench 1 which brough the entrie group to a grand total of 8.
I arrived at the Remedios Circle and found a colorful crowd assembled around the park. Across the street was a sorry sight of members of a religious group damning us to hell with their pronouncements and signs. I wanted to stand in front and have my picture taken but it might seem like I was taunting them so I decided against it. The air was very festive and bright with people taking pictures of each other. I especially liked the drag queens with their sequinned gowns, fairy wings, wigs. We were truly the rainbow of the world.
Since we were near the head of the parade, I couldn’t see how long the line was. We would have wanted to march behind the BED float coz they had dance music with them. But we were placed behind One Bacardi, anotehr G4M group. Behind us was Metropolitan Communicty Church (MCC) with their shout , “Bakla ng Bayan, Ngayon ay Lumalaban!” With streamer in front (thanks to Congress) and our banners proudly waving in the air, we joined the ranks of men proudly out. Proudly gay.
Being a Saturday, there wasn’t much of a crowd and the route was well away from the commercial area of Robinson’s Mall where everyone was. It was a glorious feeling to be marching for one’s “being”. The last time I took to the streets was years ago during EDSA II demanding the resignation of Erap. We made history then and it was a good feeling knowing I was part of it. But this was something that was infinitely more moving because we were marching for our right to claim our very selves. It was not just the right for equality and to celebrate the diversity of the human race. It our God-given and nature-bestowed right to show everyone that we, too, are children of the universe.
A short program that had members of the different delegations going up the stage for introductions capped the parade. Since we registered late, we were not on the official list but we were mention nevertheless. The best intro was from Amnesty International. Delivered in true-blue beaucon style, it was a classic gay speech of wit, humour, and substance.
And for that pathetic “you will all got to hell for being gay” group, all I can say is that the biggest sin is denying people’s right to choose who to love and who to lust for.