Parades and parties past, and what I realized after #EndRainbowViolence
The last Pride parade I attended was two or three years ago. We sold food and lemonade, listened to live and staple excerpts from The Vagina Monologues, and made a few friends (a pair of gay men; one an interior designer, the other a tarot card reader). I’ve also attended a few exclusive parties—three to be exact—for gay women in the mid-2000s. There was always a stripper who gave someone a lap dance or a lewd game of suck and blow or something similar. Call me a prude, but it’s just not my cup of tea. Besides, it felt more like a gentleman’s club and less like a venue for like-minded gay women to have fun and help empower the LGBTQIA+ community.
So, I stopped going. Offline support has since turned into online stories that echo the message love wins or “gay rights are human rights,” and occasional shares and retweets from community members and champions. But an invite from SPARK! Philippines to celebrate International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) last May 17 through their campaign #EndRainbowViolence was an event we couldn’t miss, especially after recent reports of brutality against trans people.
“#EndRainbowViolence aims to increase the public’s awareness on the LGBTQ+ rights and welfare in order to promote acceptance; it serves as an opportunity to feature stories of acceptance but also highlights the harassment and attacks members of the community experience from various sectors. In the long-term, the movement calls for policy change and positive action to prevent any form of violence done because of a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics.”
The event featured a number of personal narratives through a Gallery of Stories gathered through a 7-day Twitter campaign. Some of the stories below:
Maybe, just as one of Wonder’s writers came to realize, “It isn’t enough to have a heart that is in the right place” or to simply have good intentions. After all, efforts need to be made offline and voices need to be heard in real life.
Times have changed. The parades and parties I once attended likely have, too (hopefully the parties for the better). So whether you’re a proud member or an ally, and you’re looking to spark change, #EndRainbowViolence seems like a good place to start.
SPARK! Philippines is an organization that promotes gender equality with assistance from the Embassies of Belgium and Canada in the Philippines. Other partners include Terre des Hommes and Mindanao Pride. #EndRainbowViolence is also part of SPARK! Philippines’ larger #RespetoNaman campaign.
Image Elvin Ruiz
Art Alexandra Lara