Colorful. Festive. Protest.
These are some of the often-used words when describing what a pride march is. Members of the LGBTQIA+ community, together with their straight allies take their campaign to the streets. People carry banners and pennants, some are dancing and chanting, roads become runways for those who dressed extra for the event, and rainbow flags are hoisted to show the unwavering support for the community.
However, it is ironic that even though the demonstration is loud and flamboyant, it seems like their cause is still not being heard.
At the end of the road, what then?
After the protest, members of the community still experience the same unfair treatment. There may be a few changes but they are far from being enough. People with bigoted minds and the patriarchal society itself continue to make the life of homosexuals problematic. A lot of teens are still in the closet, the streets where the pride march attendees walked on are the very same streets where some of them are being catcalled, laughed at, and sometimes abused. Society looks at the issue of the LGBTQIA+ community in black and white, especially in the Philippines.
To some, the whole spectrum of the community is still divided into gays and lesbians only. The Catholic church still opposes gay marriage. Bills that push for equal rights are still pending in the government. There is no actual action being done. If there is, it is still not enough. The problem cannot be solved with a single solution. The problem is embedded in the soul of our society and it can only be solved by including all aspects of societal processes.
What comes after the rainbow?
One may argue that pride marches are a start towards solving the problem. At one point, yes but we are not at the beginning of this battle. We are already in the middle yet victory seems to be impossible to achieve. Maybe what we are doing is not enough – maybe pride marches are not the solution. We cannot slide our problems in the rainbow away. If being heard by society is the goal, then we are already victors but if an actual solution is what we need, maybe we should focus our energy, time, and resources on pushing for institutional and societal solutions.
Pride marches are indeed colorful, fun, and festive however, behind those colors is still a society that looks at the picture in black and white. People know what being gay is, but knowing is not enough without respect and giving the proper rights they deserve. LGBTQIA is not just a bunch of letters, they are people that have been victims of an uneducated unfair society. The challenges of homosexuals cannot be solved with pride marches alone; we should pursue real-life institutional solutions.
Yes, we should march but we should not just march.
Angelo has always been interested in photography and writing. He has been participating in various photography-related events since high school. Street photography is his most favorite type as he believes that this is where life is the most candid - where inequality, denigration, love, and hope coexist everyday. One day, he aspires to be an environmental photojournalist that does his part for a better world.