You’ve probably seen enough viral videos of people coming out to their parents and if that’s what you’re expecting from me today, then you must know that I never dared to do that because I’ve never been a brave kid growing up. I came out by just replying a sad face emoji to my dad and that was all my parents needed as a confirmation that I am gay.
This is a story of how I came out after attending my first Pride and it all started back in June of 2018.
MY FIRST PRIDE
I couldn’t remember what made me decide to go celebrate with the LGBTQ+ community and wave my rainbow flag from here and there. But I will never forget how that day gave me so much love and courage.
Pride, turns out, is more than just a march, festival, and an outdoor event. It is a celebration of who you really are, social and self-acceptance, achievements, and legal rights. It is not being ashamed to walk down in public holding the hands of the one you love and with people around you not giving a damn if that person holds a penis or a vagina because it didn’t and does not matter.
It is marching with people who are fighting the same fight and I’ve never felt so belong in my life. With all the happy smiles and free hugs, going there was life-changing.
COMING OUT TO MY FRIENDS
I think I was 16 or 17 years old when I came out to my close friends. I did it by texting them personally and individually, tailoring my message to the personality of my friends I was texting. Some were serious and some were just a laugh. But whether it was that I sounded serious or not, I courageously put all my focus on my then blackberry phone because that was all the bravery that I got. I just couldn’t do it in person and I know I didn’t have the balls for that. The response from my friends was funny as hell telling me that they knew it all along.
And if there’s a lesson that I will tell to a little child who’s still afraid to come out of the closet yet, it’s getting the courage to tell to that one friend who you think will understand and will never judge. Everything else will figure itself out.
Coming out to my friends first has given me a daring spirit to face the hard days. I learned how to build and to strengthen my self-esteem one day at a time.
COMING OUT AGAIN AFTER PRIDE
The effect of going to my first Pride was epochal. I remember getting home late and waking up after 3 hours because I had to come to my opening shift and I wasn’t even tired at all. I think the amount of sleep was out of the question when your soul was deeply fulfilled. True that positive vibes can get you almost through anything!
So I spent my shift that day happy and positive. My colleagues and I even raised the rainbow flag inside our backroom.
I remember posting a photo over Facebook about it because my heart was full and was overflowing with love and joy. When my shift ended, I opened my phone and saw a message from my dad asking me what was my post all about. I replied explaining about Pride and my dad told me, “Are you one of them, son? Me and your mom are here to listen.” I felt like breaking down and crying and embarrassed all at the same time. I didn’t reply and I just stared at the message blankly. And then a new message, still on my Dad’s messenger window, “This is mom, your dad and I love you.”
There was nothing else I could say but replied a series of sad emojis. There was another reply, I don’t know if it’s mom or dad, “Why are you crying? Did we say something wrong?”
I was all shocked and I was afraid the whole commute going home but I was welcomed with warm hugs the moment I reached our home’s front door.
Anxiety and Depression Support Philippines posted that story and next thing I know many of my friends and social media acquaintances are tagging me saying how proud they are!
The post went pretty much viral and I will never forget the beautiful caption they put:
The days after I proudly waved my rainbow flag for the first time was like opening my eyes from one wonder to another on a magic carpet ride and singing Aladdin’s A Whole New World. Because it clearly put me into a new fantastic point of view where no one will tell me ‘NO’, where to go or say that I was only dreaming.
It was a powerful protest and I will do it over and over again.