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by Lionel Emil Javier |

Written & Produced by: Ditonart

The rain pours in and the lines reach the other side of the complex. Nobody’s shoes are safe from the puddles that fills the streets nor are the latecomers graced with nearby parking. It would be normal to write off these conditions as inconveniences, but the thing was, this day was far from normal. Whatever excitement those gray clouds lacked, this year’s Pride March goers made up for with their rainbow umbrellas, colorful clothes, and an enthusiastic spirit so vibrant it made it easier to ignore the day’s seeming inconveniences.

Rainbow flags left and right; some attached to a pole, some wrapped around like a coat,
some painted on their faces, but all worn with absolute pride.

Friends traveled in groups and couples proudly held hands; all proudly parading their own story. I celebrated with them through the lens of my camera. Stopping in the middle of the mud that grazed my shoes, standing tall in the mild rain and moving through the crowds of people covered in pretty much every color you could find on a color wheel, I went through the motions just to snap these moments of same sex couples celebrating their right to uphold their identity and love each other without judgment. But the celebration wasn’t just limited to couples and lovers. The spirit of pride lived through friends supporting their friends and even parents supporting their children. Others used this day of self-empowerment to voice their spirit of nationalism. You could see it in their eyes. You could hear it in their voice. The best part of witnessing it all was getting these movement defining moments on camera. At some point, their confidence was so contagious we just had to ask for a picture with some of them. Each time I’d ask a couple, a group of friends, or anyone all dressed up for a picture, they’d put on the biggest smile my camera’s lenses have ever seen, flaunting all the colors of their outfit, posing like they know that this day is theirs. And indeed, it was.

Amidst the lively music that filled the air and the community that graced the arena, I thought to myself that I wouldn’t have to celebrate my sexuality the way they do simply because I never had to fight for anything the way they do, and we know they are fighting a continuous battle for this. How they didn’t hold back on expressing themselves freely about who they are, giving no room for self-doubt, and being united altogether – seeing all of that really inspired me.

As kids, we walk through life carrying our own flag, representing the entirety of who we are, what we do and what we aim to achieve. Some carry it attached to a pole, some hung like a cape, some wrapped around one’s neck or wrist. Regardless of how it’s presented, we go by life encountering these different flags of various sizes and colors; standing tall and marching on.