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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

entry arrow5:39 PM | The Second Dumaguete Pride Parade

We did this before, once, in 2012 -- and although that was a fun and very historical event, we never really thought we'd be "allowed" to do it again here in Dumaguete. Thing was, the first one was organized by the City Health Office, and they invited us to make their Health Month Parade an LGBT Parade in support of HIV Awareness. But to actually mount one on our own? We never thought that could happen. (Ten years ago, this was a concrete impossibility in Dumaguete.)

But iSpec happened.

The LGBT/straight alliance in Silliman University was only founded very recently -- and this year, it decided to flex some more of its ambitions as an organization, especially in the aftermath of the Orlando massacres: first, they did a poetry reading early this month, which was a huge success. And second, they wanted to do a Pride parade.

If you must ask, a parade is important.

A parade means visibility. A parade means an actual commitment by people to give support to a cause by actually walking down the streets under the heat of the sun, to be witnessed by the rest of the city, their very presence saying: "I am with this cause. See me walk. And hear me shout." A parade means solidarity. A parade means a celebration, this one of difference. A Pride parade for gay people means a "coming out" that's close to spectacle. A Pride parade for straight allies means a recognition of the need for equality, a gesture of support where traditionally there has been none.

This year, for our first official Pride parade after its "introduction" in 2012, we start small. (We didn't even have a band! All we had was a loud speaker playing dance music!) But I love the turn-out. It was certainly more than we could hope for in an event that's still quite new for many, and something that's fraught with a taste for discrimination. I loved how there were more straight people -- even church people -- joining it than gay ones, which is indeed something.

Hopefully, in the years to come -- next year! -- we become bigger, so much bigger that our voice will not only be heard, it will be reckoned with. Congratulations to all the organizations and individuals who joined in! Congratulations to iSpec! Next time, let's have drag queens, and let's invite the beauty parlor gays!

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