A few days ago someone tried to insult me by saying “Asa pa kayong pumasok ang Ladlad sa partylist…Wag na kayong mag-ambisyon..”. Coming from a staff of another partylist whose own future looks very bleak, I simply took it with a grain of salt. At least I have faith in my own sector – the Filipino LGBT Community. I am not sure they still have the support of theirs.
Watching them all these years, I learned a few valuable lessons as well. Firstly, mere membership or holding of an ID card doesnt mean you have their complete support…especially if it was forced down their throats for a fee. People will come to your side on their own, after being convinced of your sincerity to serve and the feasibility of your platform. It only happens when they know you are truly a member of your sector and are willing to work for the interests of everyone. Most of all, you must make them believe that you are not motivated by self-interest of ambition alone. So if you ever get lucky and managed to win a seat, never say “I don’t owe you anything” knowing it’s the national federation that got you the votes.
For LGBTs like us, used to a hard life as we all are, we treasure a simple gesture of kindness, a welcoming smile, any sign of acceptance or approbation with no judgment whatsoever. I believe this attitude of humility and sense of gratitude is something our LADLAD nominees will bring with them when they get to Congress.
I am reminded of one dedicated LADLAD coordinator in Region III, who during a typhoon rushed to save a LADLAD tarpaulin at the expense of his own safety in the rushing floodwaters. Finding out about his situation, Danton immediately sent some assistance to him. That is more than i can say for this partylist representative who didnt even personally visit the wake of a loyal member, especially since that member died while campaigning for him.
I also remember how we all rallied to support our brothers and sisters in Baguio City when they were in the midst of the gay wedding controversy. I remember how we sent assistance to our Sendong-stricken brothers and sisters in Cagayan de Oro, in cash and in actual goods with the sense of urgency comparable only to DSWD. But be it narrow-minded councilors in Baguio or LGBT-friendly local legislators in Cebu and Davao, we send our LGBT voices over to them to express support and solidarity. And we are being HEARD, and being SEEN, all over the Philippines now. It is this national “fervor” we are now seeing in our Ladlad members and coordinators everywhere.
Clearly, while I see their sector breaking up, other associations from other regions getting COMELEC accreditation to represent their sector, I see a consolidation of ours. Leaving behind varied political ideologies in the meantime, we have come together as one bright and colorful community under LADLAD.
Yes, I dare to dream LADLAD will get a seat. Mabuhay ang LADLAD