Yes, I'm gay. I probably was since the day I was born. On my 21st birthday, I sort of had my debut. I came out to my parents. A little drama from mom, and some indifference from dad. An above-average coming out. Almost perfect.

Nine years later, two weeks before my 30th birthday, I found out... I'M HIV POSITIVE.

And so my story begins... I'm BACK IN THE CLOSET.

Friday, July 02, 2010

The White Party

White PartyLast weekend? I was dreading it. It was to be a particularly not-so-usual one. This was one of the few times I would have rather not had the weekend.

A party? Am I supposed to be happy because I was going to a party? Well I wasn't.

What party was this? The White Party... in Malate.

The White Party. In Malate. Malate, I've been to before. But never really got the hang of it. It's... too pretentious. Too snooty. Too sleazy. Too gay even. Yep, that's how this twisted mind of mine works. And the White Party is like exponentiating the usual Malate weekend to the hundredth power. Gah.

Okay, I wasn't really going there for the party itself. I was going to be there to support the Take the Test booth which was going to be set up as part of the event. Note from E: Wear white and baby blue. White?! And baby blue?! Not exactly the best combination for a melanin-enhanced individual as myself. Read: MAITIM AKO. In white and baby blue? Glow in the dark!

And with that, even just preparing for that weekend was stressful too. I had to buy myself a new pair of white shorts. And without shoes to go with that, I had to get a new pair too. I was able to dig up an old light blue and white striped polo, but worried I'd be overdressed for my own sake, so I had a simple light blue shirt as back up.

So after a full day Saturday, with yoga and a quick dip in the pool in the afternoon, I was able to sneak in a couple of hours of sleep before heading off to Malate for the 10:00 pm calltime.

I got there early, as expected. And not knowing anyone there yet, I just stood out on the street waiting for word from E and our Take the Test boss. Was glad to see LuckyTrese pass by, but he was on his own romp for the night.

After a while, the boss showed up. We set up a tiny table with signs, while waiting for E who had the flyers, late as usual. Hehe. This time, no actual testing was going to commence. We were just going to give out flyers with a bit of HIV trivia, a list of testing centers, and the URL of Take the Test site for further information. E showed up after a while. And then it started... stage fright... and I wasn't even onstage.

I'm anti-social. You know that, right? So the prospect of having to face people by the droves was absolutely dreadful. The boss and E were game to do it. Good thing a lot of other friends were in the area willing to help us give out the flyers. One particular guy, a stranger actually, came over to help out, in exchange for being able to put his beer bottle down on our table. Hehehe, works for me.

I got assigned to fold the flyers. Okay fine, I volunteered to do it. I was able to give a few flyers away to passersby, but not without every ounce of anxiety I could muster.

How did people take it? Some just walked by, and some got curious wondering what we were about. Some took the flyers, some waved it off.

I think the worst was two guys who approached, extremely curious. We handed them each a flyer, but when they found out it was about HIV, they hurriedly gave it back as if they had an allergic reaction or would get infected by just having it in their possession. Oi. Sad, sad, sad.

And the best? One guy approached the table with some friends, and took a flyer telling us, "You're doing a good thing with this." That was nice.

Past 1:00 am, we closed shop. I think we gave out around two-thirds of the flyers... which, if we started with a ream of bond paper cut in half, would be somewhere over 600 pieces. Not bad.

From there, we headed over to a bar to meet some friends. Oh, I needed a drink badly... I still hadn't drank my ARVs yet. That makes me around 4 hours late. Shhh. So anyway, I finally downed them against a shot of some blue concoction which I'm not familiar with... sorry I'm really not an alcohol expert... I could live on just a pale pilsen any day.

After a short while, we headed to Bed, the bar I mean. I was not looking forward to it actually. Bed on a normal weekend is dense enough. On a White Party weekend? You guessed it. Packed! We headed in, at which point I actually lost sight of my friends for a few minutes. I stood midway up the stairs trying to make out any familiar face in the dimly lit room. Good thing I saw them finally near the bar.

Making my way to them, claustrophobia was already setting in. It's worse than the MRT at rush hour, because it was dark, and hot, and everyone was trying to sway to the beat. Geez, just give me my beer. From there we headed up to the second floor. I found an oasis when I chanced upon a vacant seat at the couches. When it's that tight a space, you appreciate even the breathing space you have between your face and your knees. Seriously.

Slowly, I was wilting away. I was tired. I was on ARVs. And of course, it was way past my bedtime. So I made my great escape, leaving everyone else behind. Walking out to get a cab, I glanced at my watch. It was 4:00 am. Really, it was time for me to go.

Honestly, I had no regrets. Being tired, getting harassed and all, it was fine. Was just glad to get the chance to be witness to Take the Test for the first time, if at least just by my presence. I just really hope we at least made a few HIV ripples in the crowd that night.

Other than that... my other thought would be... that I've had enough of Malate for another 5 years. Obviously! It took me a week to recover enough to blog it, right? And so the question remains... Inay... bading ba talaga ako? Just kidding! Proudly! Pwera Malate...


parking ticket said...

was about to go to the white party but the bf.. hmm..caught me!! haha.. kahit i had the perfect alibi for the night... He texted.. "Sabi ko na nga ba.. UWI!!".. So i smirked and headed home.. tsk tsk...:)

Trese said...

It was nice seeing you there though let me just say... di ka talaga naka baby blue... Hahahaha! And... 4hrs? Di ba more pa? :p

Ming Meows said...

oh, that was interesting! i would love to do that too!

PinoyPoz said...

@Park: If your boyfie caught you, does that mean that he was there at the white party too? Hehe.

@Trese: Shhhhhhh! Focus on the baby blue!

@Meowie: Sige next time, ikaw proxy ko!