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The case of B

Reasons why I love my queer friends

love is loveBy Isabelle Laureta

I was barely six years old. I had just transferred to a new school. All the kids around me knew each other. I watched them as they played and screamed and chatted. I knew no one. I turned to the boy I was seated with. Like everybody else, he knew most of the kids in the classroom. He was quite popular, and I heard he was a teacher’s son. I stared at him as he ate his snack—some fried breakfast food and rice. Why he was eating a rice meal for recess, I had no idea. Maybe that was why I was staring. But also, because the way he ate was very different from how boys I knew ate. He would take his time chewing, and carefully arrange the food on his spoon like it was the most delicate thing in the world. At one point, I coughed and, not being used to practicing manners all the time, I did not even bother to cover my mouth. Looking so annoyed, like I murdered his family, he turned to me and said, “Cover your mouth. I’m eating.” And that was how I met my first queer friend. Let’s call him B.

Over the course of my elementary and high school days, my friendship with B developed very far from our first—not to say awkward—encounter. He’d call me on our landline and make chika about anything and everything. He’d teach me different dance steps and would be kind enough to change them when it got too complicated for me to follow. He’d put a thick layer of baby powder on his face and scare our other classmates; their surprised reactions would floor us and make our eyes water. I love him. But not because he makes me laugh, or teaches me how to dance, or because he’s fun to be with. These are all wrong reasons. I love him not because being his friend benefits me—because to me, he, along with all my friends who are members of the LGBT community, is not a mere accessory. I love them because of something more. And so, before Pride Month ends and in light of the recent tragic events that transpired in Orlando, I’d like you to know the real reasons why I love, value, and cherish my queer friends. To all the members of the LGBT community who are reading this (and even if you’re not reading this), I wish my arms are long enough so I could give you all a big hug.


1. Because they’re the most talented and creative people I know.

I’ve always been in touch with my artistic side. I draw, paint, and pursue all things creative. But I’d still call myself lucky if I turn out to be half as creative as they are. In grade school and high school, B would always bag the first prize at poster-making contests. He’d be the one to design costumes for school pageants and I could only watch from afar while he was too absorbed in his element, drawing pleats and ruffles, sewing beads and sequins on fabrics I don’t even know the names of. He’d choreograph our school dances and even arrange the music himself. All of these at a very young age! I’d look at him and see that he was so happy doing what he did, so elated to turn all his creative juices into something so beautiful and tangible.


2. Because they shine the brightest in every room.

I don’t think I’ve ever met a queer person who emanates sadness. Well, I’m not too naive to realize that they have emotions and have it tough, too. But they clearly don’t show it. And that’s something I wish I could do—power through the bad days with laughter and happiness. I read somewhere that happiness is power, like how Harry Potter would shoo away Dementors with a happy memory. I agree. And if only we were living in Harry Potter’s world, Dementors wouldn’t dare go near queer people. That’s how happy they are. There’s a reason their symbol are the colors of the rainbow, because they make the ground they walk on colorful. And for that reason alone, my admiration for them overflows tenfold.


3. Because hate is not their weapon of choice.

They don’t hate because they know how terrible hate is. They’ve been hated so much for so long that they know better than to wish anyone the same fate. Instead, they fight by showing and spreading love. They fight by proving that love, in all its forms, is beautiful, not something one should be ashamed of. When we were in high school, the guys from our batch who thought they were so tough and manly would always tease B whenever he’d walk into the school corridors. They’d tease him because his hips would sway a little further to the side when he walked, or because the way he would talk was a bit on the feminine side. I’d see B snap at them at one point or another, but I never saw him in deep rage. The next day he’d still talk to them like nothing happened, help them with schoolwork, and treat them as friends. I mean, where in the world did he get that kind of disposition toward hateful people, right?


4. Because they are brave.

Imagine, you’re 10 years old, and you wake up one day feeling a little bit different. You don’t know what it is exactly, you just know you have to let it out. Imagine, at a young age, you try to figure out what’s wrong with you, because people around you are saying God only made two kinds of people, and you don’t fall under either of them. Imagine, along with all the other uncomfortable stuff growing up is throwing your way, you are carrying an extra weight of being uncomfortable with your own sexuality. Imagine saying all these to your parents and loved ones, having no clue as to how they would react, but you do it anyway because that’s the only way you can feel free. I see B getting teased by my schoolmates as he walks along the halls, and I think to myself, I don’t know if I could ever go through that without crying. Queer people experience all of these rounds of self-doubt and hardships and still emerge victorious. For me, they are the epitome of self-expression and they’re not afraid to do it. Now if that’s not what you call brave, then I don’t know what is.


5. Because they are human beings.

Like you and me. And maybe they’re different. But we’re all the same.