#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.

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.