MANILA, Philippines – Coming out and navigating life in a world that continues to be prejudiced against the LGBTQ community isn't easy.
It's even more difficult for many when they think about how their family – and parents, especially – would react. More often than not, it's a journey.
And this pride story, of Twitter user "Isko Speaks," proves that it's a journey that can be worth it.
In a tweet that's since been shared and liked by thousands, he talked about his dad's experience while attending the 2018 Pride March in Marikina City.
"Isko Speaks," who is bisexual, is in Japan for an internship, so his sister decided they would go to the Pride March for him.
"The moment my sister told me my parents went to the Pride March with her, I was already really happy. Still, a part of me thought that maybe my dad's sole purpose of going there was to bring and fetch them, so I messaged him. Then for some reason he opened up, and talked to me about his experience," he said in a message to Rappler.
During the Pride March, his dad spoke to participants – members of the LGBTQ community and their supportive parents. It was a conversation with a University of the Philippines (UP) student that apparently sparked his dad's long message.
"I just wondered if you have ever slept with a heavy heart thinking that I have lost my love for you," his father said, after talking to a college student who said she wasn't accepted by her family after she came out.
"I may not always show it but please always remember, I told you this when you were young and it still stands: Your fight is mine," his dad went on to say.
Here's a copy of their exchange (but mostly, it's his dad talking) as posted on Twitter:
Dapat sa car lang ako at antayin ko lang ang mommy mo at si achi. Pero bumaba na lang din ako. (I was supposed to stay in the car and just wait for your sister and mom. But I went down eventually.)
Iyong nakausap namin from UP. Mabait, binigyan kami ng water at nagkuwento na. (I spoke to someone from UP. She was nice, she gave us water, and started talking.) She talked about her family and how she is not accepted but she is at peace with herself. Have you ever talked about me that way?
Ignore that. I just wonder if you have ever slept with a heavy heart thinking that I have lost my love for you.
"Isko Speaks": No dad. That's good. Inabot ba kayo ng ulan? Umulan daw po I saw lang haha. (Did you get rained on? I saw it was raining.)
I had dinner. May payong kami. Andaming may placards kanina.... (We had an umbrella. There were many people carrying placards earlier.)
Natututo pa rin ako araw-araw at salamat sa pasensya (I'm learning everyday and thank you for the patience). Thank you for not disrespecting me for all the times I wronged you and the likes of you. But I do know this and thanks to your mom for reminding me all those moments when I am very clouded with my own judgment: you are my son and I will love you through and through.
Mahal kita kahit sino man piliin mong mahalin (I love you no matter who you choose to love). I may not always show it but please always remember, I told you this when you were young and it still stands: Your fight is mine. Hindi lang hanggang suntukan. Kahit ano pa iyan. Tandem tayo. Carbon copy, as your titos and titas will say. (I'm not just talking about physical fights. I mean all fights. We're a tandem. You're my carbon copy, as your uncles and aunts will say).
Hindi ikaw 'yung napariwara. Ako. Napariwara ako bilang tatay mo. (You never went astray. I went astray as your dad.) You are the same loving son and I hope the judgment of other people, including mine, never hardens your heart because that is one loss for humanity if that should ever happen.
I am taking my time and doing my best to educate myself so I can also be an instrument of change and better understanding for other parents who struggle with the same internal conflict. So we can love you, our kids, better. The way we intended to.
Every month ba ang parade? Sana makasama ka pag-uwi mo. Maraming parents kanina. Nakapagkuwentuhan din. All smiles on everyone's faces. Hindi lang ako nakabihis nang akma pero marami akong natutunan. (Does the parade happen every month? I hope you get to join when you come back. There were a lot of parents earlier. We got to speak to them too. All smiles on everyone's faces. I just wasn't dressed appropriately but I learned a lot.)
Sabi sa akin nung isang dad, masaya siya kasi babae at lalaki naman so puwedeng-puwede pa rin kami magka-apo. I should start thinking about that. Biro lang :) Baka magalit ka. (One dad told me he's still happy because it's still a male and female so they can still have grandchildren. I should start thinking about that. But that's just a joke. You might get upset.)
Andami kong sinabi hindi ka man lang nag-reply. Basta sinunod mo naman 'yung sinabi ko na mag-engineering ka in UP. Ipasa mo ang boards, then ok na iyon. (I've already said so many things and you haven't even replied. But you took engineering in UP like I said. Pass the boards, that's all I ask.)
My dad went to pride with the intention of driving my sister but went home with much more. Protests, both peaceful and disruptive, changes hearts. To those who joined today, thank you. Hindi pa tapos ang laban. Got a long way to go but this is a start. pic.twitter.com/bL0jyEHokh — Isko (@iskolarspeaks) June 30, 2018
Talking to Rappler, "Isko Speaks" said his relationship with his dad hasn't been the most ideal since he came out. So, suffice to say, he was left in tears after reading his dad's long messages.
"I know how much of a struggle it has been for him to fully accept me so this means a lot. My dad rarely sends me long messages too, haha. I think the last time he did was when I graduated in high school, and the next was supposedly for when I graduate from college, but hey, it came early I guess," he said.
And if you're wondering if he ever did reply, don't worry. "Isko Speaks" said his dad called him after getting seen-zoned.
"I was too busy crying to reply," said the college student. – Rappler.com
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