■ Chester Higuit
The call for social justice knows no gender.
I have seen every gender in every march, either for women’s rights, workers’ wage hike, peasants’ land ownership, student’s free tuition, or rights of the LGBT community. The people’s march carries the vox populi, and I ‘ve heard its colors spread along the streets, every time I join the marches.
It was lavender on February 14 last year, One Billion Rising Revolution. I walked with hundreds of women along the academic oval, campaigned for gender equality, and denounced domestic violence, double standards, discrimination, and objectification. I suppose it’s a yearly activity for women alone across the globe, but I noticed quite a number of men in the mobilization. I considered myself one of them.
It was fuchsia during Women’s March, when millions of people regardless of gender held hands towelcome the Presidency of Donald Trump by flooding the streets. They condemned Trump’s disrespect toward women and together defended their rights. I would have been among them millions, if only I were in America that time.
And then it was scarlet. It was during the march of national minorities—Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya—when I saw her. I focused my camera to her as she raised her fist. She’s a woman of honor. I love seeing her hold their banner as they walk along the streets, campaigning for the stop of development aggression on their lands. She was an Igorot calling for peace, abolishment of militarization, and respect for their rights. After capturing her photo, I joined their march.
I saw a parade of colors during Pride March. I joined the protest, but I barely recognized him. He wore a black night gown and blonde wig, not his usual pants and polo-shirt he used to wear when leading the students’ movement for free and accessible education. He’s gay and a leader. Placards and banners echoed the shouts that he and other genders had been singing. The pride of every gender was there, calling for gender equality.
The voices were gray during the march against human rights violations.I saw her mother embracing her portrait. She was raped, killed by an American soldier who visited the country for military exercises. And then another photo, now of a man murdered in Hacienda Luisita. Meanwhile, Karen and She’s mother walked alongside each other, carrying the pictures of their missing daughters. Together, they all lit candles at the end of the commemoration program.
I’ve seen every gender in revolt, and I’ve seen them in equal footing. When a woman suffered domestic violence or when a man suffered oppression, either man or woman goes to the streets, and I know they stand to defend whoever was oppressed or marginalized. Whenever there’s abuse of power we resist. Every march of ours calls for justice. ■
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