Love, as many say, is a universal language. At one point or another we’ve all received and expressed love. But there are many people out there who have been denied this because of one thing—their sexuality. Thankfully, there is no place for this prejudice in my family.
My mother’s best friend is a man who is in a very committed relationship with another man. They’ve been together longer than my parents have been. Growing up, I only saw them as two men who I loved like family. They shower me, my mom, and the rest of my family with the same love. I never once thought it strange or weird. They’re like parents to me. It just so happens that they’re two men!
As I grew older and started becoming more aware of the world, I saw the hate and discomfort others felt towards those in the LGBT+ community. Here I was, a naive little girl, seeing for the first time people who abuse, hurt, or even murder other people all because they don’t fit into their standard of “normal.”
My parents never explained to me same-sex love. They never had to. They never thought it wrong that I be exposed to members of this community. All they ever taught me is that love has no boundaries. They taught me that this love is felt by all people, races, ages, and yes, sexual orientations.
This culture of hate kills
I know not many are fortunate enough to have parents like mine. There are those out there who have been cast aside because of who they are and who they love.
My parents have always been willing to have discussions with me about these topics. But in other homes it is something to never be mentioned. For some parents it is something to be ashamed of. For some individuals the pain of being forced to deny their truths is strong enough to make them take their lives.
Hate has killed enough people, either by their own hands or by another’s. We must take a stand now. There must never be another Orlando.
Suicide is a harsh reality. For many people it has been drilled into their minds that what they feel and who they are is wrong. Many of them then lose their self-worth and and self-acceptance.
Bullies don’t help either. That they could come from your workplace, school or home makes things even worse. Sometimes their horrid words could be that last push one needs. Believe me, I’ve been there. And I never want to go back.
Hate has killed enough people, either by their own hands or by another’s. I’m tired of hearing news about violence against those who have done no wrong except be different. Why would anybody want this? We must take a stand now. There must never be another Orlando.
A straight ally at Metro Manila Pride
When I first heard of Metro Manila Pride and its upcoming festival I was just so happy. Happy that this was actually happening and happy that I could be a part of it. When I asked my parents if I could go they said yes and asked me: “Are you…?”
My father explained and said that he and my mom were fine with whatever my answer will be. That all they want is for me to be happy. I told them: I am straight but that doesn’t mean I can’t join this battle. That I can’t be a part of this crusade for change and acceptance. I decided long ago to join this fight. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do.
My parents never explained to me same-sex love. They never had to. All they ever taught me is that love has no boundaries.
Being at the Metro Manila Pride Festival last June 25 was exhilarating.
It was my first time in Luneta and seeing Rizal Monument left me awestruck. When I got to the festival, I felt a surge of emotions: excitement, joy, freedom. Seeing the past and the present merge together was a beautiful sight. It was full of people from different walks of life coming together and being themselves without fear.
The amazing people who organized this created a huge safe space full of smiling faces and laughter. Everyone (even the adorable dogs) seemed happy to be there.
While I did receive a free “LOVE” pin as a souvenir, I do regret not being able to stay long enough to even take a family photo. Nevertheless, it was an experience I’ll never forget and one I wish I could repeat soon.
Let live and let love in
This community has welcomed me and showed me nothing but love. That’s why I would like to urge others to stop being indifferent. Some think that this issue doesn’t affect them so it doesn’t matter. To them I say: This might not be a part of your life now but it can be in the future. Anybody can identify as LGBT+ down the road: your loved ones, future kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, friends, even you.
Do you want them to live in a world filled with hate? Do you want them to live in fear of who they are? Do it for them. This can be a part of your life – Let it.
My parents came to the festival with me to support me in doing what I love and believe in. Family can be and should be a part of this. Let love be a part of your life. Let love guide us in this. It’s better to let love in today, than regret it tomorrow.
Let love in, because love is love and there is nothing better.
Chloe Xerez-Burgos is 18 years old, she enjoys listening to music from different genres, drawing and painting (albeit being a novice at both), and reading as many books she can. Chloe loves animals, especially cats (she has five cats right now). Currently, she helps out in a family business creating hand-crafted items.