"Ang hindi lumingon sa pinanggalingan, hindi makakarating sa paroroonan."
“A person who does not remember from where he came will never reach his destination."
I used to hate my nose. Comparing what I saw in the mirror to my classmates, it didn’t fit the aesthetic I had grown to appreciate in suburban Virginia. But, when I was a teen, my mother told me I had my Lolo’s nose. Over time, as I learned more about him and his experiences, the struggles that he and the family faced long ago, it taught me that my life is more than just my genetics and my choices. It is also the sum of the lives of those who came before me, who shaped society to be ready for my arrival. The decisions that my Lolo made, in a way, led me here today.
Similarly came Rose Bamberger, Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, and Lawrence v. Texas. What happened then primed the world for what we celebrate today. Where would Pride be without their courage? You are because of those who came before. How can you truly be proud of yourself until you know who you are?
In learning of my history, I know myself. In knowing myself, I have grown to love myself. I love. And I am proud. I won’t let you transform me, to put a lens between you and me to better fit your vision of what is more “acceptable” in your eyes. I am proud, and I celebrate myself unapologetically. My brokenness. My fortitude. My imperfections. My greatness.
Pride is more than standing up together en masse. It is not merely agreeing with each other. Pride is celebrating uniqueness in the stark face of homogenizing culture. Pride is knowing that, as complex and profound a person I am, every other person out there is just as much. We are gifted to have so many different colors in our rainbow, so many experiences in the world of which we will never know unless we listen. These differences bring vibrancy to our world. Let them tell their story.
I am proud of who I am today and the work I’ve put in to get here. And I have my Lolo’s nose.