It feels surreal to finally have a Pride March after two years. And not just one — but several across the nation, happening at the same time, the deluge of events occurring simultaneously as if to break the 70,000-strong crowd last seen at the 2019 Metro Manila Pride into several places and, at the same time, make up for the two years that were snatched away from the community. This year, in cities such as Cebu, Marikina, Pasay, and Quezon City, members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies reclaimed the years taken away from us and took to the streets to celebrate our identities and bring to light important issues to the community — from the SOGIE bill to wage hikes.
Our Pride special this year is not only a final salvo for the annual celebration as we transition into a new government. These stories are our reminder that Pride does not only end in June (explained best by this essay). The stories featured here, be they celebrations or struggles, are everyday realities faced by the queer community and they should not be put aside come July 1.
This year’s cover is made by queer illustrator Jer Dee, who recently collaborated with Nike for the Nike By You X Pride Collection. We thought that Dee’s signature aesthetic would be perfect for celebrating our return to the streets to march, an observance that is both joyful and somber as we remember the lives lost due to abuse and discrimination; and the battles that our LGBTQ+ members fought and continue to fight for.
Efforts to commemorate Pride month over the past two years had not been lost, with organization leaders gathering to express dissent during the Mendiola Pride in 2020 and at the Bantayog ng Mga Bayani in 2021. But it was only last Saturday that the community had taken the streets once again for its historic march.
With the theme “Atin Ang Kulayaan: Makibeki Ngayon, Atin Ang Panahon,” the atmosphere of this year’s Pride is vibrant as it is defiant. Kulayaan, a play on the words “kulay” and “kalayaan” brings a focus to all individuals of the spectrum with the respect that each has lived experiences that must be honored.
We asked six non-binary artists — Sonchauni, Mich Cervantes, Rienne, Pau Villanueva, Myx Chanel, and Elle Shivers — about the works they’re most proud of — from giant squids delaying government projects to photographs capturing the plight of queer indigenous peoples — and in the process, talk about how they’ve queered their craft to create transformative experiences.
The queer book that shaped me
For this series of essays, we invited people to write about the books that have formed aspects of their identity and shaped how they look at being part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Elaine Castillo’s “America is not the Heart” - Filmmaker Samantha Lee talks about how she found herself in Castillo’s tender novel, turning page by page to discover how she saw parts of herself being unraveled in every sentence.
Alison Bechdel’s “Fun Home” - Lawyer and educator Ross Tugade on the modern classic graphic novel: “When I started discovering and accepting myself and my queerness — very much like the panels in ‘Fun Home’ referencing Bechdel’s college life — home was one of the last places I wanted to be.”
“Aura: The Gay Theme in Philippine Fiction in English” - Writer Lakan Umali talks about two stories in the queer anthology “Aura” that were instrumental in shaping how she thought and expressed queer desire and identity.
The acclaimed filmmaker talks about the authenticity of queer films and unveils her list of favorite queer films, which ranges from a poetic Filipino gem to a landmark of Mexican cinema.
Creative Questionnaire: Queer Creators
Film critics Jason Tan Liwag and Ryan Oquiza sat down with the award-winning filmmaker to talk about his fascination with strangers, his fixation on spaces of self-discovery, and the journey towards creating his QCinema International Film Festival-winning film “i get so sad sometimes.”
Unlike the previous generation of “‘Instagrammable”’ influencers, Yani’s brand of content is hilarious and a little messy. But Yani is also known for her conviction. She uses her platform to speak up on burning social issues such as social inequality.
AC’s Doc Jill not only gained a life of its own, but also took center stage in the cultural zeitgeist. “Papunta pa lang tayo sa exciting part” pervaded memes and political rallies; the techno-backed “your daughter is sleeping with my husband” has been playing in our heads for weeks. In the words of TV host Wendy Williams, iconic of her own accord: “She’s an icon, she’s a legend, and she is the moment.”
While often criticized as “snowflake” behavior, safe spaces were — and still are — essential both practically and academically in improving conditions for women, queer people, and those of other oppressed genders. They’ve enabled discussions on intersectional activism and allowed queer communities to thrive. When safe spaces are lacking, LGBTQ+ individuals are put at risk.
Knowing the many forms and functions of a safe space, we spoke to four people who have helped foster such in their communities through art, athletics, and nightlife.
Poet Alfonso Manalastas spoke to Bahaghari Philippines chairwoman Valmores-Salinas about self-discovery, advocacy work, and what it means to celebrate Pride as a response to cultural and material violence faced by the LGBTQ+ community.
The LGBTQIA+ community that organized Baras’ Pride festivities had initially anticipated a little over 175 attendees. On the day of the Baras Bahaghari Pride March, more than 300 people attended, including allies, local government unit (LGU) personnel, even officers from the local fire bureau and police force. A local attendee says that she was happy to hear that Baras was having a Pride celebration, because she and her friends found transportation to Metro Manila Pride events too costly.
Cover illustration by JER DEE
Cover design by THE PUBLIC SCHOOL MANILA
Produced by GABY GLORIA and DON JAUCIAN