It’s June – officially the start of Pride Month, when we celebrate our LGBTQ+ friends!
As a cis straight woman, I cannot speak for them, nor do I want to attempt it. Thus, I collaborated with some of my LGBTQ+ friends to figure out what points to get across.
One of my friends bemoaned the fact that same-sex couples are denied marriage and the legal benefits that come from it, as well as not being allowed to have your insurance beneficiary be your partner if they’re of the same sex.
Another friend said that he hates how gay men are stereotyped, especially as being overly sexual.
Yet another friend feels discrimination within his devoutly Catholic family. He is also dismayed at the fact that weakness, or more accurately, a lack of machismo, is considered “gay”. Gay is a gender identity, he said, and should not be used as an insult.
One of my friends is bothered by some “allies” using the argument, “But gay people are fun to have around!”, as though gay people are only valid as a source of entertainment. He also notes the difference between acceptance and tolerance: if their community was truly accepted here, their rights wouldn’t be so hard to fight for.
Finally, one of my closest friends who identifies as a lesbian recognizes that even though we are ahead of other countries in terms of treating the LGBTQ+ community properly, she is still dismayed at the fact that they can only express themselves to a limited extent lest they be criticized for being too “loud”, for instance. She also cites that the voices of cis lesbians are less heard than cis gay men, which is reflective of how even in LGBTQ+ circles, misogyny exists. She ended our conversation with, “We are never really free until all women are free.”
As for myself, I advocate for equality and justice. I advocate for the end of discrimination. Too many LGBTQ+ people are victims of violence (physical or emotional). They’re more likely to have mental illnesses, and to be homeless.
In a country like the Philippines where its population is predominantly religious, there’s still a stigma against not being cis and straight. Gender roles are still enforced in our culture. Some LGBTQ+ folks are left with no choice but to stay in the closet lest their families shun them.
In 2020, this is an utter disgrace. To deprive a whole community of their human rights – marriage, a safe working environment, the lack of discrimination – is not acceptable and never will be. Their identities are valid and should be accepted fully.
I’d also like to point out that corporations like to bandwagon or piggyback off of Pride by selling you rainbow-colored shit. But are their hiring practices inclusive and diverse? Do they treat the LGBTQ+ community in their organizations well, ensuring a safe workplace without harassment? That is what we need, not a rainbow-striped coffee mug.
Finally, for the assholes who say, “Well, we don’t have a Straight Pride parade!”: YOU ARE NOT THE MINORITY HERE. You are not the community that is being harrassed, discriminated against, and threatened. There is no Straight Pride simply because you already have privileges: the right to marry, the legal benefits that come with marriage, the fact that you won’t get turned down for a job based on your sexuality or gender identity.
Happy Pride Month to all my LGBTQ+ friends. The fight is not yet over. But you have allies, and your voices shall be heard.