This June, Village Pipol Magazine is having its annual #BeyondPride campaign. This year, it’s called the True Colors Campaign. It revolves around the stereotypes that the people within the LGBTQ+ community continue to face every single day. This campaign shows people that we, as LGBTQ+, are much more than that. That we, as LGBTQ+, are more than just what we came out of the closet for (whether we’re still inside that closet or not). That the LGBTQ+ community has a contribution to society. Openly expressing herself in real life and on all social media accounts, Awra Briguela remains one of the perfect representations of this generation’s modern LGBTQ+.
Red has more emotional associations than any other color. The fiery hue has a link to love, passion, desire… and, power.
#BeyondPride: True Colors Campaign | Awra Briguela, a modern LGBTQ+
Stereotypes about LGBTQ+ people have existed for a long time… and, even in 2021, we still struggle with that kind of thing. We see gay men battle against the generalization of their orientation, having to resort to creating subcultures within the community. Of course, this would include bears, twinks, cubs, dolphins, twunks, otters, and wolves among others. We see lesbians and bisexual women battling against the fetishization of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and expressions.
Orange radiates warmth that uplifts the spirit. As the color of encouragement, it exudes confidence.
With fashion and effeminacy being seen as stereotypes of homosexuality, Awra eradicates this stereotype by owning it. She graces the magazine’s campaign covers with unforgettable looks in the colors of the rainbow.
True Colors Campaign hopes to help eradicate anti-gay slurs and start owning up to the insults that were once thrown at us. That being gay doesn’t make you any less human. That being gay is not a profession. And, that we, as a whole community, are more than just being gay. As a Pride campaign, I collaborated with my fellow writers within Village Pipol Magazine – Rapha Garcia, Queenie Lastra, and Lord Harvey Monteroso. They sent in questions which Awra dedicatedly answered truthfully and honestly.
Yellow is optimistic. The joyous and radiant hue carries the promise of a positive future.
Rapha Garcia: What was the most toxic assumption you experienced when it comes to your gender identity?
“First toxic assumption po na nakukuha ko as a member of the LGBTQ+ community is that pag nakla ka, ite-take ka nalang nila as a joke. Na ‘Bakla ka lang and puro kaartehan ka lang.'”
“Second, whenever I interact with straight guys, they automatically assume that I like them. Even when I don’t… As a member of the gay community, we also have standards, and being nice and friendly doesn’t immediately mean we are attracted to them.”
“Third, everyone thinks na pag bakla ka kailangan feminine ka. ‘Dapat ganito, dapat ganyan.’ This is wrong kasi pwede ka naman imaging bakla kahit masculine ka pa rin. Or kahit maging versatile ka. As long as you’re expressing yourself. Like, cut the stereotype!”
Green symbolizes the natural world, representing tranquility. The color of harmony and health ignites the feeling of safety and security.
Queenie Lastra: Can you tell us a personal experience that you were discriminated against because of being open with your sexual orientation and gender identity?
If you follow Awra on her Instagram, you will surely know that the young artist loves dressing up as a way to express himself. After one of her appearances on TV, he experienced something that she couldn’t forget.
“Nag-CR ako sa men’s room. And, sinita ako bakit daw ako nag-CR. Apparently, they thought I’m a girl. So, lagi nalang ako nag-CR sa girls’ bathroom.”
Blue is the color of trust and integrity. The calming hue symbolizes wisdom and depth of understanding.
Queenie Lastra: As an actor, what do you think you can do to help people open their eyes in accepting and respecting the LGBTQ+ community?
“Bilang isang artist po, meron po akong malawak na platform. At, marami pong gays na kagaya ko dati who are still afraid of expressing themselves in public. Because they’re scared of judgment. So, I promised that I will continue to be an example as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. We can love who we want and be who we want to be as free as we can be. Especially, without seeking other people’s approval. Because at the end of the day, the only person we have to please is ourselves.”
Violet inspires high ideas of awareness, combining the power and energy of the color red, and the spirituality and integrity of the color blue.
Lord Harvey Monteroso: What is your message to the people within the LGBTQ+ Community that still can’t be as open because of the unaccepting environment that they are in?
Pride month is the time that we, as LGBTQ+, don’t need to hide just for other people’s comfort and convenience. However, there are people who have yet to come out of the closet due to the unaccepting environment that they reside in.
“Coming out of the closet is a very hard phase that every LGBTQ+ community has to go through. It sucks that only gay people have to come out. Kasi ‘pag straight ka naman ‘di mo naman need mag-come out. Pero, pag gay ka, you feel obligated to do so which is scary. Lalo na to people who have a religious family who thinks not being straight is not okay.”
“So, my advice to people who are still in the closet – time. Time is really important. Because you have to build yourself up first. Build the foundation needed in order to be strong enough to face this unaccepting environment. Let this society judge you. But, never let the judgment get to you. Turn them as a motivation to start up a fire inside you. A fire that lights up and shines whenever they try to bring you down.”
The rainbow has always been a symbol of hope and solidarity. It reflects the diversity of a community. At such a divisive time, the rainbow has become a symbol of the LGBTQ+ community. It aims to celebrate inclusivity, diversity, and unity.
Angela Baltan: With the number of people following you on social media and religiously watching you on TV and other forms of entertainment, do you consider yourself as an LGBTQ+ role model? Why or why not?
“I never considered myself as a role model. As a gay kid in the industry, I know I have flaws and I’m not perfect. But, I always make sure to express myself and show my true colors inside and outside social media. And, I also think many of my followers genuinely see me as a kid growing up. I just want to continue being an inspiration, especially to the gay community.”
Angela Baltan: At such a young age, why is it important for you to be your authentic and genuine self? Why is it important for you to show your true colors?
“At a young age, I’m still exploring and learning. But, I always make sure that I’m 100% true in everything that I do. It’s important for me to be liked the way I am – rather than being liked because I’m pretending to be someone I’m not.”
Sometimes, it does not matter whether or not you’re being a role model to people you’re influencing. Sometimes, all that matters is you’re living authentically true to who you are without hurting anybody. And, sometimes, that’s when your true colors shine the most. And, Awra Briguela is doing just that.
Words by Angela Baltan
Photography | Jai Murcillo
Videography | Sean Julius Pascual
MUA | Jericho Valenzuela
Assisted by Denzel Batocabe
Hair | Jufel Gomez of Jufel Gomez Wigs
Nails | Bhads Castor
Styling | Jowie Namayan of JowieNamayanStudios
Studio | Village Pipol Studio
Red | Paul Santos
Orange | NMYN by JowieNamayanStudios
Yellow | Job Dacon
Green | Carl Arcusa
Blue | Job Dacon
Violet | SimoneSwimwear
Accessories | Christopher E. Munar
Bags | Coloma Apparel by MJ Coloma
Angela Grace P. Baltan is a Communication graduate from Colegio de San Juan de Letran. She doesn’t hesitate to be opinionated in analyzing movies and television series. As a writer, she uses her articles to advocate for feminism, gender equality, and mental health among others.