By JESSICA PAG-IWAYAN
A natural phenomenon, a rainbow never fails to show us nature’s beauty, reminding everyone that there’s always something magical to look forward to after the rain.
In culture and society, the rainbow flag symbolizes the LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer) community, a group of colorful, creative people who are continuously fighting to achieve equality and acceptance.
Every June, members of this community from all around the world celebrate Pride Month, marching out in the streets, holding colorful protest posters, waving their rainbow flags, for people to hear and see what they are fighting for.
One with them, Manila Bulletin Lifestyle through the Rainbow Spotlight series trains the light on the talented artists of this community where they share their stories toward self-discovery, and on how they use their creativity to champion art and advocacies.
Rainbow Spotlight Artists
Biromantic pansexual painter Ian Inoy says that accepting his true identity liberated him, paving the way for the young artist to freely express himself, his thoughts, and emotions through his artworks.
Gay drag queen and performance artist Francis Siapno Lopez br
Meanwhile, cisgender male poet Alfonso Manalatas openly admits that, to this day, as he still hides his gender preference even to the people who matter to him. His story also reveals the challenges some members of the LGBQT+ community go through if they are members of a heteropatriarchal family. Alfonso also shows how all of his experiences contribute to the poems that he writes. (Image by Kim Lim)
Lastly, bisexual female tattoo artist Kimberly Mae De Jesus bares herself in her fight for acceptance from her very own family while battling with bipolar disorder. Kim doesn’t allow these challenges to stop her from expressing herself and even uses her artistic platform to shout for equality and acceptance.
Far from over
They are just some of the creative individuals who have proudly accepted who they are and are now using their voices to fight for rights that should be given to everyone regardless of their sexes and gender preferences. The battle is far from over.
Worldwide, LGBQT+ people are still experiencing discrimination from their family, at school, in the workplace, and even in the community.
Locally, even though the Philippines is considered as a gay-friendly country, the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) bill, also known as the Anti-Discriminatory Bill, still remains just a bill despite getting wide support.
And the debate about this matter is still long, as everyone is firm on their respective stand, informed by different backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs. Then there’s also deeply embedded notions on what is right or wrong based on society standards and religious beliefs. But just like the different colors of the rainbow that make it breathtakingly beautiful, its every individual’s uniqueness and differences that make our world a colorful place to live in.
May we all soon find peace and freedom as we all get equal rights, living together in harmony and without prejudice.
To equality and acceptance!