Every year at June, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT+) community gather around the world to walk in the Pride March, an event to celebrate the culture and fight for equal rights. It’s held every June to commemorate the Stonewall Riots, a series of demonstrations by the community when police raided a gay bar in New York City in 1969. In Asia, the Philippines holds the record for being the first country to do the Pride March in 1994. For sure, with the number of people we know from the community, we have no problems with coming out.
But not every gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, and everyone else on the colourful gender spectrum is out. Some still stay in the closet, safe in the idea that no one knows their true orientation. And you know what? That’s okay. Even if we live in the age of coming out and empowerment, there are times when it’s completely fine not to come out.
Those who stay in the closet usually stay there because they don’t live in supportive communities, whether at home, at church, or at work. They remain hidden because they live in a homophobic environment, one where they aren’t allowed to be their true selves. And while it’s easy to say that your family and friends should accept you for who you are, not everyone has the luxury of having a progressive community.
Those who have come out may think that those in the closet are leading repressed lives. After all, living freely with your truth means not having to hide or lie about anything. But we are living in a country where religion wields major power and some of us tend to be judgmental. You only need to meet your titas during reunions to know what we mean.
You can still live a happy and fulfilled life even if you have to make a few white lies about your dating life and marriage plans. Your sexuality isn’t the be all and end all of your existence and you can still pursue your passions and succeed in whatever you’re doing regardless of your gender identity and expression. After all, isn’t that better than having to deal with judgment, persecution, and even violence, sometimes from the people you love?
The process of coming out can be hard for some members of the LGBT+ community. Each person has his or her own journey and it’s not something that anyone can control or dictate. It’s just that some journeys take longer than others.
At the end of the day, the acceptance that you really need is the one that comes from yourself. And if you have that, everything else is just a slide down the rainbow.
Happy Pride to all our brothers and sisters in the LGBT+ community!