Wednesday, July 01, 2015

a new beginning

The first half of the year is over. How was it? Would you consider it half-empty or half-full? Personally I’d like to think it is the latter. The previous month alone was full of surprises. June has been an eye-opener, and it feels refreshing to get through it, especially its last five days.

Last June 26, following the Supreme Court’s decision, same-sex couples are finally allowed to marry in all of the United States of America. It was a landmark event in history that was felt across the globe. It did not apply in our home country, but it was one important step to humanity. People celebrated, hugged one another, and added rainbows on their profiles. I was one of them. And of course, others deplored.

That day revealed the truest color of many people who I thought were my friends. They are full of prejudice, full of hate. Now I know who my real friends are and who among my tribe I can turn to and have my back. For several years people have been cornering me and my community, condemning and pulling us down with snide remarks, self-centered religiosity, crab mentality, and the seemingly harmless words “Sayang ka.”

It’s as if we only existed for the sole purpose of their twisted entertainment: We can be funny like Vice Ganda but we cannot live protected by our laws and love like everyone else. They say they respect and love us, but their embrace is spiked with barbed wire.

Matters that deal with LGBTQ are sensitive, that is why detractors always couple their disgust with “It’s just my opinion” or “Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion.” Then there’s the often used statement “I have nothing against LGBTQ” which unsurprisingly is always followed or preceded by a self-righteous “But.”

These people often quote the Bible, too. It is sad knowing they could only define and limit their understanding of love from a book that is written thousands of years ago, and select from it quotes that only work on their favor and completely disregard those that don’t. Yes, in the Old Testament, the Holy Scripture says any man who sleeps with another man the way he sleeps with a woman is an abomination. But it also says a man should not wear clothing that is made of two materials and a man should not eat creatures of the sea that have scales. The list goes on from no tattoos, no wearing of gold, no braided hair to no wasted sperm. It looks like everyone’s going to hell then.

That is why the Bible is not some kind of buffet wherein one can just select the food he wants to eat. It must be taken as a whole, and this whole constitutes the values of compassion, love, and ultimately respect. After all, our love is not an attack on Christianity or on any religion this world has to offer. It has been very simple from the start: You may not agree with us, but you cannot deny us of our rights. Still, people are up in arms and refuse to understand our community, our plight, and our right to love.

Yet we stayed strong and persevered. There is no other way. Sadly though, some were not as strong, which led to the many young LGBTQ lives spiraling into depression and, worse, death.

That is why this fight is important to me. Our welfare is important to me. And by the grace of the heavens I finally know the reason why some people just keep pulling us down: They are a reminder that they are below us, a reminder that we are in our rightful places. My genuine friends, family, and I are taking this journey whether anyone’s with us or not.

Listen, this is the right thing to do. And like a tree on a hill, we stand tall and firm even in solitude.

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