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.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Oi, What a weekend it was. All as usual. Walked the Lil Bastard as soon as I woke up. Had breakfast. Gave the Lil Bastard a bath. Took my own shower. Went to the grocery with mom. Had lunch. Yoga for Life day, but this time, without the yoga. Yep, Yoga for Life without the yoga. Today was going to be different. We would be walking instead of yogaing. It was the 2010 LGBT Pride March.

The LGBT Pride March. LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. I belong to the gay part, of course. I’m not lesbian, because I’m not female. I’m not bisexual because I’m not sexually attracted to females. And I’m not a transgender because I’m still all male body parts, no more, no less.

Gay. I’ve never been ashamed of being gay. Not even if most of the paminta population was up in arms declaring they were “bi” when they actually were really gay. Not even if and when the stereotypical gay was the parlorista, keribels. I’m gay, and proud of it. Bakla ako, may reklamo?

I was always out to prove that there are so many forms of being gay, and I was the discreet kind. I never dressed up in women’s clothes... okay fine, I did once when I was fielded to a beauty pageant by my college organization... but on a daily basis, I am still all man. And even if I was the “penetrated and perpetrated”, as my officemate would call it, I have never had the desire to sport a vagina or labia.

Unashamed, but I’ve never needed to shout out to the world that I am gay. As such, this year, I joined my first ever Pride March, as part of the Yoga for Life contingent.

Now Yoga for Life is in no way particularly targeted towards gays. But the reality is that most straight men would either underestimate the effort needed to do yoga, or cower at the possibility of them walking out of the class in a tantrum of I-can’t-do-this. Oi, men and their manhood. That being said, majority of those attending Yoga for Life are men... let me qualify that... men who have sex with men or MSM. A frustrating fact that the straight women who join us have to face. Hehehe.

That being said, whether Yoga for Life belongs in the Pride March is a resounding yes, if not just for the fact that both Yoga for Life and the gay community advocate acceptance and tolerance. Not to mention, this year, the Pride March was to be jointly celebrated with World AIDS Day.

So Saturday afternoon, instead of heading to Makati, I headed to Tomas Morato. This is the first time I remember that the Pride March was not being held in Manila, Malate being the unspoken home of the gays. And being a Quezon City boy, I was glad and proud that QC finally hosted the event. And I actually hope it steals it away from Manila altogether.

I was anxious, because I am never comfortable in crowds, not to mention the extra pretense of a gay crowd. Remember, we are the ones who brought scrutiny to the whole new level of okray. So, I was dressed in my usual comfortable clothes, purposely veering away from any attention-grabbing garb to keep myself under the radar. All I had was a backpack of essentials, plus our Yoga for Life banner in hand, as the cab dropped me along Morato.

I needed to wait a few minutes before the rest of the Yoga for Lifers got there, a few minutes of awkward paranoia, shielding myself both from the sun and from being noticed by others. Upon being prompted, I walked to the meeting place, ready to see my comfort zone.

Greetings and hugs aside, we stowed into a coffee place craving for some protection from the afternoon heat while waiting for the parade to start. Some more Yoga for Lifers trickled in one after the other. Soon we were about ten, thereabouts.

The sounds of percussion drew us out of the café, and we were ready to march loud and proud. Yogi Bear and Babe were there of course leading the pack, dressed in black outfits, a cross between sleek and sultry. The Yoga for Life banner. Some fuchsia balloons. And then the rest of us. Most of us were actually Pride virgins, which may have explained the mix of excitement and anxiety... but really, everyone was game, and we were just all out to have fun and proud to represent Yoga for Life. Then the parade began.

We walked. I spotted Carlos Celdran walking by us, and our Yogi Babe approached him to join us for a picture. He was game! The energy was high. We were following a float of trannies, and their music and antics were keeping the energy high. It was a great place in the parade to be.

We walked. Now I knew that media would cover the event and all. So was I scared of getting exposed as part of the Pride contingent? Not really. Being gay is the least of my issues. What if my mom sees my face on TV? Well, she knows I’m gay. Other people? So what?! My HIV status? Well it’s not like it’s tattooed on my forehead, is it?! I was just hoping I don’t get interviewed... else I might just faint. Hehe.

We walked. Shortly we encountered some guests, protesters to be exact. Waving bibles, disapproving condoms, and declaring “God did not make you gay”, it was laughable, especially since there were just three or four of them there. Old issues that for me were non-issues. Geesh, nothing better?

We walked. A lot of people came out to watch, from the residences and the buildings we passed. Our Yogi Babe was outrageous, approaching people encouraging them to do yoga poses for photo ops. From street kids and fab femmes, to policemen and titillating trannies, to hiphop dancers and construction workers, she was just out to get them! Oi, straight female wins over the gay contingent on this one. Hahaha!

We walked. It was hot. Scorching hot. Not gay friendly. Make-up melts, you know. And oiliness, they say, is next to ugliness. And sweatiness is next to confiscation of the gay license. Argh. But seeing everyone still all out in spite of that was great. It was good too that the streets along which the route ran were pretty wide, compared to Malate where I imagine the density of people would’ve added to the afternoon heat. QC rules!

We walked. Tomas Morato. Eugenio Lopez Drive. Panay Avenue. Timog Avenue. One last turn back to Tomas Morato, and we saw the home stretch. The protesters were back, the same ones we passed going the other way. Namaste. Peace, peace, peace. Some other city should host their march.

We walked. Oi, just a few more blocks... Finally, we made it back to the starting point, a good hour or so of walking under our belts. Geez, an hour?! All for pride. All for pride.

We got a breather before the program started as the darkness of the night set in. A few more Yoga for Lifers joined us, better late than never. As the show started, I think my energy went off with the setting sun. I was pooped! I couldn’t wait to rest. But we wanted to wait until they acknowledged the groups who participated in the event. As fate would have it, they made the announcements in alphabetical order. Yoga for Life? Oi, we were third to the last out of sixty groups. Oh well, we’ll take it.

After some part of the program, including speeches by Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, both putting Quezon City behind the advocacy of HIV & AIDS awareness and LGBT rights, some musical numbers, a cameo by Journey frontman Arnel Pineda, the descent of seemingly godmother to the gays Risa Hontiveros, and a short segment allowing our Yogi Bear and Babe to talk about Yoga for Life, I split.

I had actually promised the hubby we’d meet, considering the proximity of the venue. But I had tipped him off after the walk about how tired I was already, and had already called our date off. But I thought I’d just push myself a little bit more, and ended up in a cab to his place. I was tired, sweaty, sticky and smelly, but still got the hugs, the kisses, dinner, a movie, and arms to fall asleep in. Mmm. Not a bad way to end the Pride weekend... Happy and Gay!


the geek said...

Pushed the door, I'm home at last,
And I'm soaking through and through,
Then you handed me a towel,
And all I see is you,
And even if my house falls down now,
I wouldn't have a clue,
Because you're near me.

-the last paragraph made me sing, j. :)

Ming Meows said...

kakainggit naman. kelan kaya ako magpapride march?

Von_Draye said...

omgee!! You know what?! me and my MCCErs were really curious about your group. Yoga for Life made them think, (I was doing yoga before... I'm on hiatus)thanks for posting this and more power to you guys! Lots of people were in awe when you were up the stage!

one LOVE!

PinoyPoz said...

@Geeky: Not really familiar with the song, but lyrics do seem to fit, eh?

@Meowie: It's definitely an experience. I recommend doing your first time with friends... first time at Pride I mean. Hehehe.

@Von: Thanks! You should join us sometime :-) End the hiatus!

Anonymous said...

Hi, just want to post this news..not sure if this is true or not.

Man Officially Cured of HIV

"For the first time, a man has been declared officially cured of HIV. The remedy may nearly have killed him, but it opens a door—just a crack—to hope that we may someday kill off the scourge for good....."


Anonymous said...

dec. 4, pride march, is a day ill never forget. it's the day i took my first ever AIDS test, and found out that I was HIV-positive.