The post-march program was already halfway done when I arrived in Nakpil. Exhausted, I accompanied Bern to a food stall. At least I already got to eat; Bern hadn’t eaten anything all day.
It was sad seeing so few people in the program. Most of them were probably the same people who attend Pride March every year, enjoying the photo ops. A perimeter was built around the Nakpil-Orosa area; the event charged an entrance fee when the actual program highlights started.
Shortly after I arrived, our group went into one of the bars for karaoke and beer. Later on, I was told that many of the people who were already in the party area were asked to pay the entrance fee outside the gates. We missed that because we were already inside a bar which was conveniently inside the venue.
So the Pride March boiled down to simply another means of making money. That was not unexpected. But the attempt at exclusivity to the area tasted of gross commercialism, I could feel it clogging my cynical gay arteries. Ironically, the bars probably would have had more people coming in if the organizers did not put up a stupid wall around the venue.
I was watching go-go boys doing poi while they danced on elevated platforms and thinking: What would Maoi warriors feel watching their fire-dance performed by go-go boys? It’s that side of gay culture I am not comfortable with: the gaudy sexuality, the trashy hedonism, the garish excess. Not that I think it should be part of gay culture. If other people like it, that’s their thing.
Maybe I just don’t like the idea of sugar-coating it with labels of advocacy.
After we left the venue with Lanchie, Juna and Alex, we were talking of what we felt about the Pride March parties. We felt like the organizers may be missing a point in gay advocacy. Most people attending parties are just there for the parties; they don’t care if it was for a cause. They won’t even remember what the cause was. I won’t dwell too much into it because if I was asked, so how should it go, then? I won’t know the answer either. Only that I think if you wanted to support an advocacy, you do it because you believe in the cause. Not because you’ll have friends joining you. Not because you’ll have people taking your photos. And not because there will be a party later with half-naked go-go boys dancing with their crotch at eye-level.