Over the rainbow | BusinessMirror


AS gay urban legends go, it was Judy Garland’s song “Over the Rainbow” and the Stonewall Riots in 1969, which occurred days after her death, that inspired gay activist Gilbert Baker to create the rainbow flag. Baker was encouraged by gay leader Harvey Milk to come up with a symbol of pride for the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade on June 25, 1978.

At the onset, the design had eight stripes: hot pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for magic and/or art, indigo for serenity, and violet for spirit. In the ensuing years, pink and turquoise were dropped because of scarcity of fabric in those colors.

Jake Zyrus

The flag that’s now flown worldwide in June, the designated Pride Month, follows the six colors of the rainbow as it appears in nature. But on June 8 this year, Philadelphia added black and brown stripes to its revised design to honor black and brown LGBTQIA members in the city.

Yes, what once was only the four-letter LGBT has added three more into its acronym. L is for lesbian (women who are attracted to women), G is for gay (men attracted to men), B is for bisexual (those attracted to both men and women) and T is for transgender (one who breaks gender norms) or transsexual (those who have physically altered their body to match their gender identity better).

Hanne Gaby Odiele

Q is for queer or questioning (very complex to explain but can mean anyone who rejects the gender-conforming labels). I is for Intersex (those whose anatomies aren’t exclusively male or female). And A stands for ally (friends of the cause or movement) or asexual (those who lack sexual attraction).

Now more than ever, the LGBTQIA community is giving more urgency to Pride celebrations worldwide. (Metro Manila Pride was held on June 24 in Marikina City.) Even with the gay purge in Chechnya, trans murders all over America and the flip-flopping stance of our President on LGBT issues (much like the frustrating political stance of the only transgender lawmaker in the land, Geraldine Roman), we’ll take comfort in small but significant victories.

Leo Varadkar, gay son of Indian immigrants, has just been elected the new prime minister of Ireland.

He follows other openly gay prime ministers, such as Xavier Bettel of Luxembourg, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir of Iceland and Elio Di Rupo of Belgium.

But it’s in pop culture where the gains are more pronounced. Designer Rocky Gathercole, whose inspiring life story will soon be dramatized in Maalaala Mo Kaya, sent a statement-making rainbow dress down the runway as part of his “Embracing Colors” Spring/Summer 2017 show in New York.

Meanwhile, lesbian designer Kaye Morales unveiled her KM Signature Pride Bags. “As an advocate for LGBT, I designed these bags which was launched in my spring/summer 2017 collection, called Identity. The rainbow colors reflect the diversity of the LGBT community. Let’s celebrate love and equality,” she declared.

The loudest declaration, however, was that of  the singer formerly known as Charice, whose coming out as Jake Zyrus created international ripples, tweeting: “I won’t let anyone ruin this moment. I won’t let anyone ruin my happiness. Thank you to all the beautiful write-ups about me.”

Hanne Gaby Odiele, the Belgian supermodel, is the most famous intersex person. “It was important for me to make this declaration now, based on where I am in my life. I want to live authentically as who I am and help to break down the stigma that intersex persons face—but also to use the profile that I’ve built through modeling to give back to those without a voice. I want to be there for people who are struggling, to tell them it’s OK—it’s one part of you, but it’s not who you are,” she told Vogue.com.

LGBT presence is making incredible strides in television: 13 Reasons Why, Orange is the New Black, Project Runway. In RuPaul’s Drag Race, we see gender fluidity, transitioning women and unique queens, such as the intellectual Sasha Velour, who could do a mean Marlene Dietrich.

More than mere decoration, the Fil-Am Conrad Ricamora is one-half of the complex gay couple (with Jake Fallahee) in How to Get Away with Murder, while Fil-Irish-American Darren Criss will slip into the role of gay Fil-Am killer Andrew Cunanan in The Assassination of Gianni Versace.

Gillian Anderson, who’s had relationships with both men and women, is the New God Media in American Gods. In one episode, she takes the form of Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie. “To me, a relationship is about loving another human being; their gender is irrelevant,” she once told The Telegraph.

Incidentally, the reigning Mr. Gay World is a Filipino, John Fernandez Raspado, a businessman from Baguio City. He is a vocal advocate of Love Yourself Inc. (for the Youth and LGBT-MSM), a model community of men who have sex with men (MSM), which has an ongoing pioneering effort called the Love Yourself Project, which “aims to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS among the youth and key affected population through awareness, counseling and education”.

Itong pagka-panalo ko ay hindi lamang sa aking pamilya at mahal sa buhay, ngunit para sa mga baklang katulad ko na may prinsipyo at layunin na pinaglalaban,” Raspado said after his victory in Spain.

Image Credits: Ahleks Fusilero, Rocky Gathercole Facebook, & Entertainment Weekly, Original Tune, Numero Russia

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