Rainbow Connection: A Gray Area Still Looms
Rainbow has been an icon for the LGBT. It is colorful and sends a message of hope. It goes to show that after every rain, a rainbow will come out to brighten the day. But it is not the same thing that is happening for the LGBT community in the Philippines. Admit it or not, we still face a lot of issues that cannot really reflect a rainbow.
As a gay man living with pride and courage to fight for the goals of the LGBT community, it’s quite a big disappointment that we have reached a stage where “homosexuality” is so prevalent but yet not accepted. And thru the “#RainbowConnection Demystifying the LGBT Market,” I was able to be surrounded by both LGBT and straight allies who are pushing forth the gay agenda in the Philippines. Fortunately, I became nourished with valuable insights that gave me a ray of hope for my beloved community.
(Let me also take this opportunity to thank Ms. Janette Toral and Jeoff Solas for giving my BF and I a chance to be part of this colorful event. So thanks and hugs from us!)
So let me share my top 4 learning from the said event.
LGBT is tolerated but not accepted
Tolerance is far way different from acceptance. To give light to these terms, PsychologyToday.com defines:
Tolerance: is a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry.
Acceptance: in human psychology is a person’s assent to the reality of a situation, recognizing a process or condition (often a negative or uncomfortable situation without tempting to change it, protest, or exit).
Obviously, tolerance is a virtue we grow each day; a simple version of the golden rule. But acceptance goes beyond that. And indeed, I came to realize that perhaps the people surrounding me just don’t have any choice but deal with the fact that I exist rather than consider my unique existence and deal with me.
So fortunate to meet ms. Janette Toral up close and personal.
LGBT is only a slice of life
You probably know the famous teleserye of GMA 7 “My Husband’s Lover.” After all, who doesn’t? With this teleserye featuring the bankable hunks of today like Dennis Trillo and Tom Rodriguez, every beki would really die to see them hug and hold hands with each other.
But would you be shocked if I tell you that MHL is not for gay men? You heard it right, it is not for us. Simoun Ferrer, VP of GMA Artist Center, said that despite MHL being seen by the public as a bold move to put the LGBT issues in the pipeline, it is not. In fact, it only caters to the majority of their audience which is the housewives. And why does it concern these people? It is because it is a “slice of life.” In one way or another, it is a reality that everyone must also partake in. And it’s because of the tolerance of our society for MSM or males having sex with males. So it’s not something impossible if your husband is having an affair with another man or just curious about it. Thus, we are just a slice of life.
Niccolo Cosme, international artist and photographer, and PMA Representative with the organizers
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The Pink Peso is coated Gold
Being a business owner for a year already (please check out my business—Equalitee PH—LGBT shirts for LGBT by LGBT), I can say that the pink peso moves the economy. These people are willing to pay for services that they need (ex. Same sex couple shirts, LGBT-theme shirts, etc). Remove the LGBT from the society and surely it will face its demise. How can you not consider the LGBT entertainers, business owners, executives, celebrities and even politicians who are spending a fortune for their vanity?
The jack of all trades, Mr. Brian Tenorio.
The beautiful and super jolly Events Producer of Bed Manila, Mabs Peña.
Obviously, there is a market for LGBT. According to PMA (Philippine Marketing Association), the Pink Market is known for: 1. a strong brand loyalty, 2. higher engagement (being active in social media and strong referral) and 3. particularity with pink friendly establishments (we patronize gay-friendly businesses). And one of the most gay-friendly businesses in Manila that you can visit is Bed Manila. Even though I haven’t been here because of the tight schedule, I always hear from my beki friends that this is one—or by far the home of Manila pink crowd. Bed Nightclub, bar and restaurant features an enormous space, state-of-the-art sound and lighting system, world-class DJ’s, sexy go-go dancers and drag shows. Plus, events producer/owner of Princess MABS Events and a straight ally, Mabs Peña, showed us a little bit of how-it-is-to-be in Bed with her wit and humor. Indeed, a bar to be in soon when in Manila.
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Also, it has been said that by PMA that statistically (well not really formally recognized since there is no research made) that the LGBT is composed of a majority of the rich and the working class. This is primarily connected with the fact that as gays (I will speak for myself, though), we work double compared with our straight counterparts. Why? It is because we are deem to be pressured by the society to prove more things since we are “lesser” compared to straight men.
A new found friend. One of the most beautiful trans women I’ve seen in my life. Ms. Joanne. Kahit nakatalikod ang ganda!
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LGBT works hard for their money…twice as hard as our straight counterparts
As mentioned, we are thought to be “lesser” compared to our straight counterparts. And this premise makes us really work hard to achieve what we want in life. Just like what Dr. Jon Fontilla, DOH, said: “our sexual orientation doesn’t hinder us from becoming what to become in life.” And personally, I have a high respect for this accomplished doctor for being on top of his game being a leading advocate for HIV in the Philippines and a businessman (he is helping in their family shoe business). So whatever gender identity you are in, so long that you reach for your dreams that are over the rainbow, then go for it. After all, we are already breaking the glass ceiling that our culture and our religion has made right around success.
Mr. Solas and Dr. Jon during the open forum.
The participants and speakers of #RainbowConnection Demystifying the LGBT Market
Scientifically speaking, a rainbow is an optical and meteorological phenomenon that is caused by both reflection and refraction of light in water droplets resulting in a spectrum of light appearing in the sky. In a simpler definition, it is made up of colors that make it a delicacy for the eyes. But in reality, the rainbow that represents us LGBT still contains a gray area which makes it hard to find the pot of gold promised at its end. But my heart still sings the lullaby “Rainbow Connection” that says:
“I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it
It’s something that I’m supposed to be
Someday we’ll find it
The rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers, and me.”
Rainbow Connection by Regine Velasquez.
For the complete photos of the event, click here.
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Rainbow Connection: A Gray Area Still Looms
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