#30DayWritingChallenge: Something that made me angry.

Day Twenty-Nine: Something that made me angry.

For a few years, I helped organize the Metro Manila Pride March. It’s called Metro Manila Pride now because it expanded beyond the marching. It was, at the same time, the best, the worst, and the craziest thing I ever did.

What a lot of people, even those who attend the parade, don’t realize is that the organizers often don’t have a lot of money for the whole thing. Not counting the program that is set after the parade (where participating organizations expect to give a speech on whatever that org stands for), the permits, the publicity, the registration materials, and all those stuff people don’t notice but are needed to bring about the entire thing cost money.

Every year is a miracle.

Needless to say, organizing the entire parade is stressful work. And that’s not unsurprising at all. But there are some things that needlessly add to the stress. Sometimes, you just wish you can punch some people in the face.

Pride March 2012 by Bardo Wu

It was the first time we’re doing the parade in Makati. There were less than twenty full-time organizers, and our attention were divided among several things at once. Many things that can go wrong were already getting there. Our nerves were starting to fray.

For example:

The tent supplier for the street fair in the parade grounds backed out the night before the parade day. An alternative supplier had to be found literally hours before the event.

The same thing happened with the sound system provider.

I missed this action because during the night when the emergency meeting was called, I was exhausted and asleep. My boyfriend at the time, Bern, attended for the two of us. I may not be in speaking terms with Bern right now, but in all fairness, he covered for me at during that major emergency.

On the day of the parade, we had more problems. The tent that were ordered were smaller from the tents which were initially specified in our plans. They were also arranged differently from our original layout, forcing me to redo the entire layout on the spot.

The electrical wiring that was supposed to have been set up in the area early in the morning was not installed until noon, causing rants from one of the street fair vendors. He did have a legitimate reason to be angry: he was selling ice cream.

All these were quite an experience and really taught me first-hand about organizing events. Murphy’s Law was raining down upon us but we somehow managed to pull things off. But as I’ve said, there were things that needlessly add stress to an already stressful situation.

The parade was arranged so that organizations will be placed in alphabetical order according to the org names. During our planning, we thought about how to arrange everyone, and the organizers agreed to follow an alphabetical order. It’s fair for everybody that way.

The Metro Manila LGBT movement is made up so many orgs with different political leanings. Compound that with the fact that these groups were mostly composed of gays and lesbians: everybody can be quite catty. The last thing we need are people complaining about favoritism.

But there was an exception: the Ladlad Partylist.

The 2012 Pride March was held before the 2013 election year and Ladlad was campaigning to win a seat in Philippine Congress. It was one of the few times the Pride March became partisan: we were campaigning for Ladlad. And Ladlad was the org to lead the parade.

Hours before the parade started, one prominent LGBT leader approached me and asked if the gay “clan” he was part of can be at the beginning of the parade, next to Ladlad. And I told him, no, the orgs will be arranged alphabetically. I thought that was that.

He approached me a few more times, making the same request. He told me how their group always leads the parade every year. I gave the same answer every time. He approached the other organizers who, in turn, referred him back to me.

Finally, he asked the chairperson of Ladlad to talk to me and request for that arrangement.

It turned out that this clan was a supporter of Ladlad and their number will add to Ladlad’s contigents. The other organizers also approached me and asked that we give way to this clan and let them lead the parade.

I hate it when people use connections to get what they want at the expense of others. I saw that what this person wanted was prestige: to be ahead of everybody else. That they are chummy with Ladlad. That they were well-connected.

Kissing next to Pride Protesters by Dani Ochoa

It was an insult to what the Pride March was all about.

Eventually, after some angry outbursts from me, I gave in. I was too disgusted to hold my ground.

Ladlad didn’t win the elections. I can’t say I’m too sad about that.

Metro Manila Pride March 2012 photos were taken from Rappler.com.