Reflections on Pride Month: Why Love Should Always Win | OneMega.com
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Reflections on Pride Month: Why Love Should Always Win

Reflections on Pride Month: Why Love Should Always Win

Weddings | June 29, 2021
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Jason Magbanua opens up about what he hopes to see for the LGBTQIA+ community—a world where all kinds of love are celebrated. #LoveWins

In the spring of 2019,  I was asked to film a tiny wedding in a very small island town of Aersokobing, Denmark.
Now Aero is not a top-of-mind location when you think of Denmark. In fact, you think of Copenhagen first, then Aarhus and Odense—in varying order.

But Aeroskobing is special for one particular reason—they allow same-sex marriages. This made it the perfect place for Mimi and Lhanie to get married in, despite the distance. After all, the legally binding union they sought after was criminal in the country they worked at.

Yes, it was (and still is) taboo in the country they call their homeland—our country, the Philippines.

Against All Odds

The first meeting we had over lunch at Blackbird is still very clear to me to this date. Mimi and Lhanie have been together for the longest time but found frustration in their inability to formalize the relationship in the eyes of the law—even more so the church.

There was also pragmatism involved in the decision. The couple had mutual investments and they wanted to be able to take care of each other financially in the long run. Mimi and Lhanie were adults who had the correct life choices in mind but were deprived of options.

And I felt that. 

I have filmed a thousand weddings, but only a handful of LGBTQIA+ ones—including Mimi and Lhanie’s.  And those were merely ceremonial, nothing legally binding. The drill is usually to get married in more open countries, then celebrate in places in the Philippines like Boracay with loved ones and people who accept the couple for who they are and what they represent.

The Pride Movement: Then and Now

In the fight for equality—heralded by the LGBTQIA+ movement—I’m not sure if anything will change within my lifetime. But at least, I can see strides in the movement. The openness I see today is vastly superior to what I’ve seen when I was in high school (which I maintain is still one of the most vicious and unforgiving times for the LGBTQIA+ community).

Today, most especially during Pride Month, many campaigns are built around pride and just as many brands have been supporting the community. However, I do hope that this not performative nor a mere trend.

Instead, I hope that we come to a point as a nation where we see beyond traditional heteronormative values. A person is free to choose who they want to be with—it’s that simple.

Similarly, in my own industry, I hope that LGBTQIA+ wedding celebrations are not fetishized. I hope that there will be no prejudice in favor of what the male gaze considers as “hot”. My insides churn whenever my colleagues assume that only lipsticks and femmes are allowed for such ceremonies.

Panget tingnan,” some would say. As if the parties involved were doing it for somebody else’s pleasure.   

There’s also a tendency to view such weddings as “portfolio” material or worse, a circus sideshow. But here’s the thing: it’s neither. Marriage, in all forms, is a celebration of love after all.

Hopes and Dreams

In the end, I hope that the LGBTQIA+ movement grows beyond a hashtag. Yes, I’ve been guilty of using #LoveWins a few times myself and I cringe whenever I remember that. But now, I want to be a better ally. Not just through the easy “social-media-like-button-way”, but with a deeper understanding of the complexities rooted in these issues and the challenges along the way.

I hope that ministers and officiants become more open on a personal level. I truly believe change won’t come through edicts handed from the top down—but instead from self-enlightenment and personal realizations. Whenever an officiant needlessly brings up a hacky line about Adam, Eve, and Steve, I tune them out. As if a basic rhyme scheme eliciting a few laughs is the foundation for rock-solid logic.

They can do better than that, don’t you think?

But most of all, I hope that in the future, couples who want to be together don’t have to google directions to tiny coastal towns in Europe. I hope that they can instead have their weddings in their homeland—and in a place like the Philippines.

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Jason has been a wedding filmmaker for more than two decades now. More than a videographer, he is a keeper of memories and a storyteller of personal history. 
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