Suspension of Disbelief

Archive for June 2013

LGBT Pride Month—more than just about street parties

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VERA Files and Yahoo Philippines | 13 June 2013

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Festive street parties, parades and marches usually mark the annual celebration of Pride month in June by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in the country and elsewhere.

“But Pride Month is not just about parties,” Michael David Tan, executive director of Bahaghari Center for LGBT Research, Education and Advocacy, stressed. “What we want to do in Bahaghari Center, or in the LGBT community in the Philippines in general, is to change [public] perception and [instead] look at the conditions and situations of the LGBTs more closely.”

In recent years, LGBT organizations have resorted mainly to plain street parties to celebrate Pride Month, which do not fully convey the real meaning and message of such celebrations in the country.

This year, Bahaghari Center and the Progressive Organization of Gays in the Philippines (ProGay Philippines) aim to promote a more thorough LGBT acceptance and education in the coming Pride celebrations.

“We want everyone to know that LGBTs are not just about being happy-go-lucky or the stereotyped ‘softies’; we are just like everyone else [entitled to equal rights],” Tan said.

The LGBT community is holding the annual Pride celebrations to let everyone know that they are asking for equal rights (not special rights) in their daily activities— in schools, offices, public establishments like malls and restaurants, and many other places.

For instance, early this year a high school teacher in a province brought her girlfriend to one of the weekend school activities. After a couple of days, the principal asked the teacher to submit her resignation, saying that the school decided to revoke her employment for fear that she might teach the students the wrong kind of lifestyle.

Last year, Dr. Andres Gumban, 63 years old from Bacolod City, was bashed and then stabbed to death 35 times by two male sex workers. The worst thing about the crime was the recording of the incident by one of the teen suspects via his mobile phone, which eventually spread online.

The police said the suspects admitted they were drug users and that they had bad experiences with gays, which eventually turned them into gay haters.

“People need to know about these things, that LGBT killings and everyday discrimination have been happening in our country,” Oscar Atadero of ProGay Philippines said. “We (LGBT organizations) have been monitoring these kinds of instances, and yes there is really indifference when it comes to the treatment of the LGBT community.”

Pride Month is usually the only time when LGBT killings, discrimination and other issues are given enough attention. And so in the month of June, LGBT organizations in the country hold awareness programs in different locations, organize small festivals, and other related activities, which aim to empower LGBTs aside from merely showcasing their talents.

“We’re planning to have more extensive programs and festivals in the coming years, so as when Pride Month comes, people from all over the country can really learn and experience how diverse the LGBT community in the Philippines is,” Tan added.

The month of June was chosen by the LGBT community as their Pride Month because of the series of violent activities against the gay community, leading to demonstrations against the police that happened in 1969 at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, USA.

In the Philippines, the first Pride celebration was held on June 26, 1994, coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. LGBTs, led by ProGay Philippines and the Metropolitan Community Church Manila (MCC), marched and paraded along EDSA to Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City.

Through the years, the celebration of Pride Month in the country has evolved from just holding marches and parades within Metro Manila or in several provinces, to a more dynamic celebration involving improved partnerships with the local government (such as Quezon City and Makati). Thus, the celebration is becoming more and more effective in advancing the equality movement.

In 2003, organizers of the Philippine Pride events decided to move the annual Pride March from June to December to mark other significant events, namely: World AIDS Day (Dec. 1), Philippine National Lesbian Day (Dec. 8) and International Human Rights Day (December 10).

 

(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”)

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A bland ‘Rapture’

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Outrage Magazine | 09 June 2013

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Rapture 02

Rapture

Just more than a month after Malate went on comatose, members of the pink community started roaming around Metro Manila to look for alternatives where they can spend their weekends and sometimes their weeknights. The truth is, the magic of O Bar Ortigas didn’t enthrall the entire pink community, only some of its members. And the others, many of whom most people would like to label as the BED crowd, didn’t bother to go back to O Bar Ortigas after one or two visits. Hence, the turn of events resulted to an even greater faction of the pink community.

Quezon City is starting to produce several bars and clubs that attempts to cater to the pinkcommunity.

As we all know, years and years ago, Quezon City has been known to be one of the places for the heterosexual crowd. Then people started flocking to different places like BGC, good old Makati, Eastwood and other places in Metro Manila. And so Quezon City slowly transformed to become one those kinds of places where a great selection of venues is available for anyone’s palate.

Rapture 07

Rapture

Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, a new sing-a-long and stand-up bar opened in Cubao, Quezon City; it is called Rapture. It is located along Aurora Blvd., just a couple of streets away from Palawan 2.

If some of you have been to Palawan 2 or to any sing-a-long and stand-up bars in the Metro, Rapture attempts to imitate the feel of those bars.

The facade of the bar looks very inviting, it almost seems like you’ll most likely experience extreme happiness when you enter.

Once inside, you discover that the place holds 170 seats for its guests, with tables and chairs positioned very close to each other.

On a Saturday, the place can be very crowded, so that if you arrive past 12 midnight, you won’t be able to find an available seat for you and your friends, and you’ll have to wait until a group leaves – this may be because of their no door charge strategy after two in the morning, even on weekends.

Rapture

Rapture

And just like any other sing-a-long and stand-up bars, they have drag performers acting as hosts, seemingly to make sure that the guests are well entertained in between performances. There’s nothing special about their punchlines, though. In fact, there’s nothing really “funny” about the jokes they’ve been throwing back and forth from each other – which may be because most, if not all, of their one-liners revolve around ridiculing people just to poke fun of the mishaps and shortcomings of their heterosexual co-hosts and some of the guests. Don’t get me wrong, the jokes and punchlines are funny at times, but after being saturated by Vice Ganda’s one-liners almost everyday, there’s nothing funny and original (anymore) when someone maligns someone onstage.

Their liquor selection is very limited – but they offer cheap prices for their drinks, and you can get a bucket of beer for a very low price.

A quarter of the area is separated from the main area of the sing-a-long and stand-up bar – this is where KlubDude, their version of a “dance club”, is located.

KlubDude

KlubDude

Their release, which states: “…where the only furniture installed are high cocktail tables. The absence of chairs enables guests to move around freely and socialize with others…” rings true: this place really is bare and empty. At four in the morning on a weekend, their guests prefer to just stay in the sing-a-long stand-up area instead of standing in the humbly-sized dance floor area.

The set-up of KlubDude may have worked if their show in the sing-a-long area ends early, so that their guests would transfer to the dance floor, just like in Palawan 2.

Rapture Cafe Bar also has pageants and competitions left and right – Ms. Gay Rapture, Mr. Rapture, Rapture Idol, and many others. It seemed like they want to make sure they provided all kinds of entertainment possible. And that’s really good.

But, it is rather sad for someone who grew up in the world of Malate, or in O Bar or in BED Bar or other similar bars to conform to what’s only (if not many) available gay spaces like Rapture offers.

LGBTs go out with their friends, with their partners, or sometimes alone to experience an undeniable and real extreme happiness and delight – it’s not because they are elitist or “choosy”, but it’s more because of personal preference. Among others, maybe it’s to listen and laugh at jokes that don’t ridicule anyone, and be at a suitable and safe environment for anyone.

Rapture

Rapture

Nonetheless, maybe above everything else, Rapture Cafe Bar and KlubDude may be considered as some form of “advancement” in the LGBT community, as it is another gay space where the community members can hang out and express themselves. Who knows, it may also be a place where one could find their next best hook up or their next possible relationship prospect.

 Rapture Cafe Bar and KlubDude are located at 903 Aurora Blvd. corner Harvard St., Cubao, Quezon City, Metro Manila. For more information, call (+63 2) 441-1769, (+63) 917-8989306 or (+63) 939-9032103. 

 

(Outrage Magazine remains the only publication for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the Philippines.)

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