Constricting conventions inspire creative rebellion. The gay community has been exemplary at this. By limiting identity through religion, law, and prejudice, Manila’s queers have found clever ways to live out loud—and often, through a carefree night out.
To capture 28 of B/PROUD’s #100HappyGays, B/BLOG headed to Cubao hotspot TODAY x FUTURE, where a predominantly LGBT crowd puts the art in party.
At FUTURE, the nightly themes are as crafty as the DJ sets. Drag queen makeup is a masterpiece. Revelers that span viral videographers to accessory designers spill out onto the street, cavorting and conversing.
This is where the outsider, the outsize personality, and the out-of-the-box thinker go to dance, Pale Pilsen in hand and body vibrating to Robyn. It’s hard evidence of the gay’s irrepressible spirit. One that believes it can dance its way to a tomorrow where no one in the day cares if you’re marching to your own beat. At least in the night, at this tiny bar in Cubao, the future is absolutely bright.
Support the campaign and tell us what being gay means to you today. Our hashtag: #100HappyGays.
Jujiin Samonte & Paulo Castro
31, Videographer & Human Black Endorser // 30, Singer, Videographer, and Human Black Endorser
JUJIIN: “What gay is today: Party. Freedom. Love. Strength. Celebration.
PAULO: “Being gay doesn’t make me any less of a person, neither does it make me any special.”
20+, Stylist & Super Starlet
SHAHANI: “People are more open to expressing themselves now. We are very lucky that we live in a country that tolerates homosexuality. Kasi in other countries talaga, it’s so backwards, they kill people. Brunei has just passed a law that you can stone to death people who are gay. The liberty that is given to us, we take for granted. We don’t learn more about ourselves, our sexuality. People need to be educated more. We have to accept na everything’s going global, we have to accept other people’s views.”
Santi Obcena, Judd Figuerres, and Ziggy Savella
30, Fashion Designer // 23, Videographer // 29, Fashion Designer
SANTI: “Gay today is something that’s very flexible. Something that cannot be put into a box. Something that cannot be defined. It is ever changing. It is about freedom. It is about being free.”
Austin Castaneda & Mike Lavarez
Event Organizer, Production Designer & Stylist // 26, Fashion Designer & DJ (Panty Monsters)
MIKE: “I think we’ve become more knowledgeable and educated about our rights as a collective. So we’re more aggressive and more vocal since there’s also the influence of social media. We’ve become stronger and confident. There’s more courage in the idea of it.”
Miguel Llanera, Rain Reyes, and Mikee Rayos
23, “Hateful Person” // 23, Student // 24, Pre-school Teacher
RAIN: “It’s something intrinsic in everyone. Certain people express it, others don’t. Like us, we express it in a different manner as compared to the ‘pa-girls.’ We call them pa-girls. And we’re called pa-min.”
MIKEE: “It’s a lifestyle and everyone lives it differently.”
Mav Bernardo & Cenon Norial III
24, Visual Merchandiser // 22, Fashion Photographer & Creative Director at ADHD Magazine
MAV & CENON: “Gay is expressing ourselves.”
Willar Mateo & Anton Belardo
24, Fashion Designer // Artist & Designer
ANTON: “There’s no such thing as a gay stereotype anymore. You can be manly or girly and still be attracted to someone girly or manly. Wala na yung branding names namin like pa-min, or pa-girl.”
WILLAR: “Yung gay parang ‘di na siya masyadong taboo. Ayun, slowly na-aaccept na siya ng Philippines. So ayun, ngayon na-acquire na nila yung paminta.
Cid Constantino II, Inah Evans, and Kristian Lising
27, Part-timer // 24, Customer Care at Dell & “Barangay Queen” // 24, Corporate Zombie & DJ
CID: “Gay today is so fashionable.”
KRISTIAN: “I think gay today is a label that people give us but people forget that we are more than just gays. It’s part of who we are, it’s not who we are entirely. It’s just part of who we are.”
Carl Clemente & Angelo Ramirez de Cartagena
Senior Copywriter at J. Romero Advertising // Fashion Associate at Mega Magazine
ANGELO: “Gay today is expressing yourself and being free to be who you are regardless of what people will think and will say. And that includes family, your friends, and society.”
CARL: “I think being gay today is your sexual preference. I still define it as somebody who goes for somebody of the same sex. And everything else about this person is purely philosophical. Like you can have an effeminate person who’s into the opposite sex. So I think being gay is somebody who goes for somebody of the same sex. And everything else is you know, just a product of progress because we can all subscribe to what anyone subscribes.”
Petersen Vargas, Mike Magallanes, and Lui Acantilado
21, Film Graduate – UP Diliman // 27, Visual Merchandiser // 27, Graphic Artist at MicroSourcing
PETERSEN: “The best thing about being gay is enjoying freedom. Right now we’re in this phase na parang may tolerance na siya. And since there’s tolerance, gay people have the freedom to be who they want to be. So it’s just fun to be gay because you can see gay people be who they want to be.”
Paul Jatayna & AJ Omandac
24 & 29, Accessory Designers & Owners of OS
AJ: “It’s hard but basically it’s loving the same gender as you are. It’s simply that. And there’s nothing unnatural about it.”
PAUL: “You can’t put gay in a question anymore, I think. Because gay is and has always been gay. I don’t know if it makes sense but it makes sense in my head.”
Raph Donesa, Julianna Force, and Toni Lim
22, Student at DLSU // 23, Public Relations Associate & Stylist // 23, Student at ADMU
RAPH: “I just think being gay is being strong. I mean to face your life with all the criticisms or whatever, and you can survive from that, I think you’re being strong. If the person doesn’t like you, wala, girl. Brace yourself nalang, may ibang a-attack.”
RAPH, JULIANNA, AND TONI: “There’s no gay rule. In the gay world, it’s every bitch for herself. It’s a free market. If you’re not strong enough, you should go.”