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Nakaka-LOCAL! Attending Community-Level Pride Events

Nakaka-LOCAL! Attending Community-Level Pride Events

Proud, all-out, and vibrantly loud—this is how it feels like to witness and be part of the celebration and protest of the rainbow community brought closer to our localities. Pride, in this context, just feels so genuine and intimate, taking us into a deeper relationship in places we call our homes. And in our very own lingo, these community-level Pride events are “nakakaLOKA(L)” in many senses.

Massive events held by and for the rainbow community to celebrate Pride month, such as the Metro Manila Pride, are far from being strange to our conscious minds. For sure, we’ve seen them online or maybe even became part of their vibrant forces. And becoming part of any of those grand pride events significantly contributes to our goal of amplifying our calls as part of the minority and pushing all our meaningful advocacies.

On the other hand, taking the protest and marching down the streets of our very own locales means bringing our call for inclusive and safer spaces for the members of the LGBTQIA+ community closer to the people we brush our shoulders with every day. And I will forever take pride in being part of this year’s SOGIE Night in the City of Imus, Cavite.

Bridging through Pride: A community for the community

Nakaka-LOCA(L), there are locals!

Considering that it was my first time attending a community-level event to celebrate the vibrance of the LGBTQIA+ brothers, sisters, and everyone in between, I set my expectation to just be celebrating and protesting with people from the community, to which I identify myself with. To my surprise, local residents—elders, children, and families—were to be found everywhere in the Imus City plaza, where the Pride event was held.

Moreover, seeing them holding and waving the rainbow flags with smiles on their faces just meant a lot. It felt safe, accepted, and celebrated back there. Not only did the locals clap their hands during jaw-dropping performances but also during solidarity speeches from advocates of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE)—the core purpose of the night.

Witnessing such radical movements in highly conservative spaces, with parents allowing their children to realize just prove how near we get to the people when we submerge ourselves into our very own communities.

Pride and Talent of the Local Artists

Aside from laying protests out to people from outside the rainbow community, SOGIE Night also celebrated the talent of queer local performers, especially of the growing drag community in the country. From closed bars, we now see them in the mainstream media, and this time around, on a stage in the city’s plaza, surrounded by the local residents left in awe of their performances.

Drag Queens like Holemn Cheque, Santana, Au Rora, and Curvedilol set the stage on fire with their iconic lip sync performances in the tune of songs that literally resonated to the people, especially to the parts of the rainbow community.

This [local pride events] is important not just for drag queens, but for everyone—lahat, di lang mga bakla, di lang mga tomboy—lahat, pati mga allies. Pinagko-connect tayo ng event na ‘to.

-Local Drag Queen Holemn Cheque on her thoughts on the significance of holding community-level pride events.

Aside from their spectacle performances, local artists also served voices to amplify the calls of the rainbow community, especially for the passage of the SOGIE Equality Bill, which had gone decades already in both houses of the congress.

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The reason why pride exists is because it is a protest. It’s not just for celebration. It’s not just to bring the LGBT community together; it’s also to advance certain awareness sa mga issues. Number one: SOGIE Bill na hindi pa rin naipapasa at iniitsapwera na ng congress, which is so sad… More rights for us doesn’t mean less rights for straight people!

-Local Drag Queen Santana spoke on the pressing issues that exist involving the rainbow community

Furthermore, local artists such as Imus City’s dance group One Clique, local band Joana, and the iconic Bakclash Champion Echo raced the event’s stage in celebration of the vibrance of the community.

The Taste and Pride of Local

Although the event lasted for roughly five hours, attending local Pride gatherings and protests does not mean getting stuck all night in the middle of the crowd starving. Food bazaar surrounded the plaza offering a variety of food and drink choices to match the cravings of your palette. They got shawarmas, burgers, street foods, and even nostalgic snacks like Cheezy Craze’s sweet corn that definitely brought me back to my rainbow childhood memories, enjoying the orange cheese powder stains on my lips as if I had a swatch of lipstick on me.

More than the mouthwatering food and thirst-quenching beverages these stalls sell, they all offered genuine support, love, and respect for the members of the LGBTQIA+ community. It felt inclusive walking around the bazaar without having the need to hide your identity and just make it your runway wearing your unconventional outfit for Pride, and it was not because of the rainbow flags displayed in their stalls but because of the respect they express towards you as a person.

Thinking about all of these now makes me so thrilled to be part of the next pride event or of any progressive gathering for the rainbow community within the local communities. Such an event literally left me in awe and genuine joy for my brothers, sisters, and everyone in between all the colors of the vibrant spectrum. “Oh, naloka ka, di ba?” as Drag Queen Manila Luzon would say!

Although showing the world we are great in numbers in celebrating Pride, we, as the very members of the LGBTQIA+ community should also remember the essence of marching for Pride—amplifying our calls for acceptance and equality, expressing our need for inclusive and safer spaces, and presenting our continuous fight for freedom. The next time you would want to join the march, try looking for local events, too, and together let us uphold the true spirit of Pride in places we call our homes!

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