#30DayWritingChallenge: Memorable strangers.

Day Thirteen: Memorable strangers.

The last time I visited the lolas of the Home for the Golden Gays, they gathered in a small dance studio in Pasay, owned by one of the city councilors.

I enjoy visiting the lolas. They are always full of life when they are together, despite their situation after their former benefactor, Justo Justo, passed away. So as much as I enjoy seeing them, visits to the Golden Gays also give a sad, sorry feeling because I realize how little I can actually help them.

Pasay dance studio.

During this particular visit, there were young kids in the studio, practicing for a dance competition. The studio takes in students from among the lower and lower middle class families living in the area. The kids study various types of dance for free.

It inspiring, watching these kids dance, especially for someone who wasn’t gifted in highly-coordinated motion. They practiced their waltzes and rumbas, gliding easily along the shabby dance floor.

The studio takes in these students to keep them away from vice and bad company. I don’t know how effective the program is in practice; I know from experience that well-meaning projects like these are more optimistic in their aspirations than how things eventually turn out in real life.

Pasay dance studio.

While it is true that one can be taught how to dance, not everyone can dance with seemingly effortless grace. I do hope that many of these kids grow up not forgetting how to dance.

The 12th White Party Manila chooses the Home for the Golden Gays as beneficiary.

From the Home for the Golden Gays website:

White Party 2013

All eyes are on Malate, the heart and home of Manila’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) nightlife as it celebrates the 12th White Party Manila on June 29.

This year, the organizers of the organizers of the 12th White Party Manila choose an LGBT institution to donate some of the proceeds of the event.

“It was unanimous among the members of the 12th White Party Manila when we chose Home for the Golden Gays to bring joy to our lolas who are in need of our love and attention,” according to Raffy Aquino, Secretariat for the 12th White Party Manila.

Internet sensation and well-known Youtube celebrity Sebastian Castro graces the event as the face of White Party Manila. The openly gay model-singer is an advocate of gender equality, widely accepted by the Filipino LGBT community for being proud of his sexuality.

Started in 2001, the White Party is the largest annual gathering of LGBTs and avenue for celebrating equality, unity, and acceptance. Chelu Productions, in coordination with the Malate Business Association, spearheads this year’s White Party celebration alongside several organizations promoting LGBT-related advocacies.

Che’lu Productions donates a portion of the proceeds to the Home for the Golden Gays. A booth for the Golden Gays is also present at the White Party for guests to share their blessing to the lolas of the Golden Gays.

The street party starts at 8PM featuring the latest club music from select DJs, with guest performances and special production numbers. General admission is Php 200 (entrance only) and VIP tickets are at Php 1000 with unlimited drinks.

The 12th White Party Manila chooses the Home for the Golden Gays as beneficiary.

What is happening to the Home for the Golden Gays?

I became involved with the Home for the Golden Gays in 2011 when PinoyG4M and Akei visited the Home. The Home is a place where elderly gays and lesbians (hence, “golden gays”) can stay if they have nowhere else to go. After speaking to its secretariat, Ramon Busa, and with the approval of its founder, Justo Justo, I offered to create a website, Facebook page and Twitter account for the Home for the Golden Gays to expand their online presence and make it easier for other people to help the Home.

Justo Justo passed away in May 2012 and Ramon Busa took over as the president of the Home for the Golden Gays. Shortly after Justo Justo’s passing, the residents of the Home moved out of his family home and into a new (but much smaller) apartment in Pasay.

I still post updates to the website and Facebook page, especially when Mr Busa requests that I add some content. My help to the Home is purely voluntary and the expense of renewing their website’s domain name is my small personal donation to the Home.

For some time now, I noticed new updates coming from the Facebook page that I did not upload. These were mostly photos from outreach projects made in the Home in 2012, when Mr Justo was still alive. I did not mind those photos because they are, after all, activities made in the Home for the Golden Gays.

However, I saw in my feeds an update from the Facebook page warning people that Mr Busa is no longer affiliated with the Home for the Golden Gays. Naturally, I was puzzled and I looked into the Home for Golden Gays Facebook page to see if there are similar posts.

HGGI Facebook Page 2013-01-21

Not only were there similar posts, I also found out that I was removed as a page manager. Based on the new profile, relatives of the late Mr Justo are now the new page managers.

The fact that I was removed as a page manager without warning upset me. But more than that, I am worried how the family can claim the name of the foundation while at the same time allow the Home’s residents to move out from their property. How can they call claim the name of the Home for the Golden Gays without the residents? Without the Golden Gays?

 HGGI Facebook Profile 2013-01-21

More: I sent a message to the new Facebook page managers and this was their reply.

Takbo ‘Te: Run for Equality

Takbo 'Te: Run for Equality

Takbo ‘Te: Run for Equality

Sunday, 18 November 2012
5:30 am
UP Academic Oval

Takbo ‘Te is an advocacy run that calls for Gender Equality; and the Promotion and Protection of LGBTQI’s and Women’s Rights. It also seeks to raise awareness on emerging trends of gender violations – such as gender discrimination, harassment, and gender-based violence happening in different ICT platforms.

Takbo ‘Te is a benefit run for the Home for the Golden Gays — a home for the elderly who are members of the LGBT community — and for next year’s S.T.E.P. Camp – a seminar-workshop for gender advocates from different organizations in Universities and Communities.

To register, please visit: http://tinyurl.com/ptbltakbote

Do you feel like sharing some blessings this Christmas? Here are some suggestions.

It could be because of how so many Christmas songs are reminding us to be loving to and share with other people this holiday season by subtly implying that we are not as altruistic for the rest of the year.

If you want to share some blessings to other people but don’t know how to go about it, here are three suggestions:

1. Donate some used books to the LitBoat Project.

LitBoat is a book campaign to set up common libraries in several communities in coastal areas. LitBoat sets sail twice a year by providing programs that uplift the literary sensibilities of underserved sectors using creative approaches. When the LitBoat goes to a community, it leaves behind not only books and materials that the community can use for free, but also seeds of dreams that will grow and last for several generations to come.

Probably one of the best gifts one could give to others is literacy. It does not cost much, it could be passed on to other people, and it allows the recipients to acquire and build upon existing knowledge.

The First LitBoat Solidarity Night will be held this Saturday, 17 December 2011, 7pm at Chef’s Bistro in Morato. If you bring three storybooks for children and young adults, you could enter Chef’s Bistro for free and enjoy a music and poetry from several performers.

2. Give some gifts for the elderly at Golden Acres.

LitBoat All Aboard

A friend of mine is organizing an outreach program at Golden Acres on Sunday, 18 December. They will be holding a mass followed by brunch with the residents.

The elderly in Golden Acres will appreciate donation pledges for these items:

Instant coffee
Powdered milk
Adult diapers
Canned goods
Soap and shampoo
Detergent soap
Old clothes

The Golden Acres Home for the Aged is in Misamis St., Bago Bantay, Quezon City. If you are interested to pledge items, you could contact me at +63 915 303 6322 and I will relay your message to my friend, Alison Co, to arrange the logistics.

Alternately, you could also:

3. Give gifts for the Home of the Golden Gays.

Similar to Golden Acres, the Home of the Golden Gays is a residence for elderly gays and lesbians located in Pasay City. The residents of the Golden Gays welcome visitors to their home.

Should you wish to help the Home, you could reach them through:

Mon Busa
Landline: +63 2 826 3859
Mobile: +63 919 859 8086
Email: homeforthegoldengays@gmail.com

They also have a website you could visit.

Holiday guilt-trips aside, there isn’t enough love going around the world so a little more couldn’t be bad.