HomeCommentaryHappy Pride!

Happy Pride!

Will I actually let June pass by without making some noise??

I had my first crush at the age of six.

She was eight years older than me, my older cousin’s friend. She had this big wide smile that made her eyes glimmer. She wore her hair in pigtails, or what people back in the day called “jinky” lol.

She was a she.

Of course, at six years old and entering Grade 1, I was more preoccupied with spelling my full name correctly than contemplating my sexuality.

I didn’t have to worry about that part of my life until my mid-20s when I started coming out to my family.

Papa was the first to know. When I told him I was bi, and that I might not have kids, he just smiled and said, “Ok lang. Daghan na ko’g anak.” (He has enough offspring to form a small basketball team.)

- Newsletter -

When we said our prayer before meals that day, he thanked God that I opened up and hoped that I would live a happy life.

It was more dramatic with Mama. When I told her, she cried, and I cried, and in between sobs she said: “Kung asa ka happy, nak. Mahadlok lang ko nga dili ka makasaka’g langit.”

I was tempted to tell her that God 2.0 of the New Testament would gladly welcome queer people in heaven because it would liven the place up lol.

Speaking of religion, I had a weird moment with my devout Lola and Lolo in 2021, back when I hadn’t come out to them yet.

We were having lunch together and out of nowhere, sans context, without provocation, Lola said: “You know, Pope Francis says the LGBT are children of God, too.”

I suppose they were only waiting for me to tell it to them straight (pun intended), and I finally did in November last year, to which they responded gracefully.

If I had known my family was cool about my queerness, then all that anxiety was useless, right?

But I didn’t know that until after I came out. After all, growing up, I had only known prejudice against LGBTQ+ people.

In high school, I kept silent whenever my classmates gave their opinions on classmates who showed “bayot” or “tomboy” characteristics.

I remember listening to my friends talk about this openly queer girl we knew and how she was wrong for liking girls. I thought she was pretty cool.

Admittedly, for a time, I internalized those opinions and made them my own. That was the part of me that tried to push down my true feelings for fear of being cast away.

It was in college that I started to explore this part of me. Places like UP or Metro Manila granted me the courage to probe this area of my life without judgment (from others and myself).

I’ve dated boys, but after deepening my knowledge of gender and society, and coming across concepts like misogyny, the gender wage gap, and THE PATRIARCHY, I realized I had been fraternizing with the enemy. Just kidding. (Or…..) 😂

On the back burner of my mind, worry still resides.

“What will my Marites titas say?”

“Will some of my high school friends renounce me?”

“Lola seems too nonchalant about it. What does she really think??”

Even as I’m writing this — it’s the first time I’m writing about this openly (!!!) — I’m thinking about how you, my gentle reader, would react.

The thing is, though, I can’t be ashamed of who I am intrinsically. To quote my favorite queer icon, “I was born this way.”

A star is born this way. Charot!

And if being queer is as normal as fuck, then the world should start accepting that too.

It’s true. Even the Pope would agree.*

Happy Pride! 🏳️‍🌈

*His recent comments aside, in 2018, Pope Francis told a gay man “God made you like this and he loves you.” Sana mas maging consistent na siya!

Erika Cruz is a freelance digital marketer. She is also a filmmaker, a photographer, and a writer. Before entering the world of digital marketing, she practiced community journalism for several years and focused on the issues of human rights, social justice, women and children, the environment, and Indigenous Peoples. You may reach her at [email protected] 

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