Here’s How You Can Participate in Making Next Year’s Pride March Even Better
by Inside Manila Contributor, July 22, 2019 1:50pm
Art by Dani Elevazo
Rainbow paraphernalia everywhere, partners hand-in-hand, music, and a whole lot of positivity filled Marikina Sports Centre for this year's Pride March. It may have seemed like just another day, but for allies, it was their chance to express themselves authentically. And it was an opportunity for the LGBTQIA+ community to stand among people that understood them the most. Rain or shine, the Metro Manila Pride pushed through, and it exceeded expectations.
Before the actual march began, all 40,000 rainbow wristbands ran out, and that's a great thing on the organizers' part. However, there were attendees who weren't too happy about it—yikes! Although there were hundreds of online posts from people that enjoyed the parade, there were those who didn't have quite the best experience due to "lack of proper organization."
But let's take a moment to remember that the entire Metro Manila Pride organization was caught off guard with the number of people and other unforeseen obstacles as well. They had prepared for an estimate of 40,000 people and had to take care of 77,000 instead. A good problem, if you'd ask us.
The organization took to Twitter to show their love and gratitude. They extended their apologies to all who didn't experience the parade to its full effect due to certain safety measures. The organization also mentioned that they were open to any feedback and criticism, which will be taken into consideration when planning out next year's pride parade.
Since the Metro Manila Pride organizers did their part in reaching out and being understanding towards people's complaints, here's how you can do the same by keeping certain things in mind when attending Metro Manila Pride.
Read the Handbook
We know, we know. You’ve probably heard this about a billion times, but it helps in preparing for the parade. Knowing the rules is especially important in knowing what you can and cannot bring to the venue, like cigarettes and pets. The handbook also stated not to bring plastic into the venue, which of course includes plastic water bottles. Let’s keep the area eco-friendly and trash-free, friends!
Pride is supposed to be a safe space. It comes with rules and regulations that protect not only those who are attending but also the environment. A digital copy of the handbook is available on Metro Manila Pride’s Facebook page. The handbook also mentions the program flow, chants, the lineup of performers and speakers, which gives you an idea on what to expect upon attending Pride.
It’s a Protest, Not a Photoshoot
We believe in expressing yourself in whatever way makes you comfortable, but remember that Pride is so much more than waving rainbow flags and rocking Pride-inspired outfits. Yes, the Pride March makes an excellent backdrop to your Instagram pictures. And it’s worth mentioning your posts help in spreading the word about the existence of a Pride March. But let it not be our top priority or the main reason we wish to attend Pride. Those flags are more than just accessories and backdrops; they symbolize an entire community and a history of struggles.
On June 29th, we witnessed a lot of rainbows, but we also welcomed the rain—literally and figuratively. With the intense downpour came muddy patches of land that managed to ruin everyone’s shoes. And while we understand that it can be quite the hassle, having the perfect #PrideOOTD to pose an Instagram picture shouldn’t be that much of a big deal.
Take a moment to put your cameras down to live in the present. Co-exist with every people out there who came to support and fight for something bigger than all of us. Your Instagram followers will understand, we promise.
It’s Not Always Rainbows and Butterflies
Here’s a daily reminder that behind the colors, music, and chanting, Pride is STILL a human rights protest. Some of us tend to get too caught up with the idea that Pride is just a celebration. While that may be true, it most importantly is a place to express dissent against injustice and oppression that members of the community have faced. If you find yourself struggling to get through the entrance because of the large number of people or confronted with hate-speech, if you feel uncomfortable because you were drenched in the rain, or if you, at any point, felt like Pride was exhausting, then what you were experiencing was an actual Pride Parade.
Sorry to burst your bubble but Pride isn’t all that pretty; it was never intended to be. But just because something isn’t smooth sailing, doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. The community has come a long way, but the fight isn’t over. The bill hasn’t been signed, and there are still people of the community marching while still in the closet. For those who are attending next year’s Pride, forget the discomfort and disappointment, march despite the rain and mud, and hurdle your way through the crowd. What matters is that you. showed. up. Your presence and support counts.
The Volunteers Are Human, Too
For those that didn't know, the Metro Manila Pride organization is made up entirely of about a hundred volunteers who served as the building blocks of the entire event. They contributed their time and energy because they believed in the cause and what having a Pride march would mean for the people of the community.
Other than working on-ground, there were also volunteers behind the scenes that helped in promoting the event, being part of logistics, talking to safety enforcers, etc. So there's no reason for anyone to blame them for the event not being at par with their expectations. The volunteers are not being paid to stand in the rain or lead the march. They have no reason to stand still and take all the mean things that people have to say about the event, yet they did. We're talking about a limited number of volunteers whose responsibility was to take care of 77,000 people within 12 hours, FYI. So when you attend Pride, make sure to hug and be kind to the volunteers because they're doing this for you.
An even better idea is to volunteer for next year's Pride and help improve on the things that this year's Pride lacked. Instead of complaining about all the things that went wrong, let's do something to make it right. Metro Manila Pride opens applications for volunteers in April. You can follow their office Facebook page to keep updated.
When it comes down to it, you don't need to attend Pride to show your support. If there's something you want to do, anything you want to say, or if there's a change you're willing to make that could help the community in their fight for human rights, now's the time to start. We hope this article not only makes you mindful but also makes you want to attend Pride next year.
As with everything, there is always room for improvement, and it comes down to learning from one's mistakes. So, instead of picking out all the things that went wrong, let's take note of all the things that went right —The organization expected 40,000 people, 77,000 showed up. People of the community expected friends but ended up with Family. For the haters that have nothing good to say about Pride, you may sashay away!
Written by Manisha Mirchandani for InsideManila.ph