Weaves are for all and wearing your tribe is an expression granted to all. We firmly believe that your tribe is built upon who your heart resonates with. In June of this year, we launched Weaving Pride- a campaign built on the grit, bravery, honesty, and finesse of the members of the LGBTQIA community. Our 6 ambassadors openness allowed us to weave through conversations on individual, cultural, and national identity, deepening our understanding as we continue to discover new facets to true identity and our place in a nation that is currently at a crossroads.
Our Multi-hyphenated Pride ambassadors Jude Bacalso (Host/ Travel Writer/ Aquatic and Terrestrial Biologist), Margo Frasco (Theater Actress/ Director/ COO), Carlo Villarica (Entrepreneur/ Podcaster/ Husband and Father), Meryl del Gallego - Martinez (Financial Consultant/ Civil Engineer/ Wife and Mother), Isan de Jesus (Poet/ Mental Health Advocate/ Enabler of Empathy), and Van Go (Physical Therapist/ Youtuber/ Transman) came together and discussed what pride means to them. The dynamic discussion shifted from topics like owning their Filipino-ness to the politics of pronouns and perception.
"As early as four to five years old, I already saw myself as a boy. Growing up, I went to an all-girls school, so I was constantly asked to wear girly things. I had to wear dresses to formal events. I've never been comfortable with that. In highschool, I saved up my allowance to buy my own clothes” shares Transman Van Go. This symbol of self understanding and really looking inwards, digging deep and coming out with a true definition of self- is something that all our ambassadors nodded to and felt.
“Today, I learned that I had a label as well. I'm a cisgender. I didn't know that", says Podcaster and father of two Carlo Villarica. "To be fair, cisgender people have rarely ever had to come across a label. Society has dictated that he simply is- straight.” Carlo pauses, as if weighing how that statement sounds, and adds, “I guess, for anyone, it's a conscious effort to live life the way you want to, right? Live your truth and be yourself. This is my self.”
“Regardless of history- all are in agreement of the fact that having a support system is imperative to self discovery. Looking in to yourself leaves you vulnerable- and having family (and chosen family) be there as you go through the motions makes it a lot easier. As cliche as it may sound, I'm most proud of my family. I grew up with five older siblings, all girls, six girls. It can get pretty crazy but at the end of the day, we accept each other's personalities", shares mom Meryl del Gallego.
Director Margo Frasco says with tears welling up her eyes, “Filipino families, and our traditions. I get teary-eyed just talking about them, it's crazy! When I saw ANTHILL’s Princess Ant with her father earlier, that made me miss mine. With family, you always get to come home.”
Mental Health Advocate Isan de Jesus, (in a Bangiitan cover wear) adds, “As a Filipino society, we care so much about our families, and that's because our families represent us. We care, but I think we need to turn the care up higher to have a sense of empathy for others. Care only reaches your immediate circle. It doesn't reach those that desperately need it. Culturally, the Filipino family has always been known to be tight-knit and accepting- but for those whose paths have challenged the extent of that acceptance- education in true empathy is paramount.”
The conversation is eloquently ended by Jude Bacalso saying “As a Filipino, I weave pride into my life by weaving local stories, writing about those that don’t have a voice and have never been heard of. If you tell their stories, you infect them with a sense of pride as well. We have to be reminded that pride is also a verb. It is to be acted on, worn and spoken about."
The conversation is long and dare we say loaded. As the Philippine Legislation debates on the controversial SOGIE bill. Hopes lie in the fact that society is now more informed than ever- that we do not lose sight on the true purpose of the bill. To protect everyone’s Sexual Orientation (SO), Gender Identity (GI) and Expression (E) from discrimination. SOGIE has always been mentioned as an exercise in PRIDE. It is not. SOGIE is TRUE PRIDE. SOGIE is too- a verb. It is expression and education and the purest practice of human empathy.