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July 23, 2018 | by  | in Buklod VUW |
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Buklod VUW

Sa loob ng Bahaghari (Inside the Rainbow)
According to legends of the Igorot people, a very powerful tribe living in the northern mountains of the Philippines, the bahaghari (rainbow) is a road from the sky that the god Lumawig built for his wife and child so that they could visit a man on Earth without difficulty. Because the road was built out of love, it became beautiful and colourful.
In most Philippine mythologies, the rainbow is associated with love. That is why it is saddening that the members of the Rainbow Community in the Philippines are not accorded with the same love as the rainbows of folk legends. While most Filipinos tolerate the presence of the LGBTQIA+ community in the country, they are usually alienated from mainstream society, and relegated to “second-class citizens”.
The Philippines is the largest Christian nation in Asia, and one of the largest Catholic countries in the world. Fundamentalist Christians in the country view queerness as a sin, and usually would be the first to throw stones at the Rainbow Community. Because of this, many queer Filipinos, particularly the young ones, find themselves struggling on a daily basis. Coming out, or even accepting one’s own queerness is always a gamble, because being rejected from families and society is a real possibility.
Aside from the Catholic Church, the Filipino Rainbow Community has also faced difficulties in dealing with the government and policymakers. President Rodrigo Duterte has been flip-flopping in his stance on marriage equality. Boxer Manny Pacquiao, a junior member of the Senate, called gay people “worse than animals”. And even the very first transgender legislator, Geraldine Roman, dropped her support of marriage equality in the name of political survival.
For most queer Filipinos, being inside the rainbow is a struggle, especially as the sources of oppression are institutionalised. But the solidarity within the rainbow is very strong and members find solace in each other. Despite these struggles, it is still beautiful sa loob ng bahaghari.

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