Last June 29, DLSU capped off its Pride month celebration with its first Pride concert titled, Sinag: Pagdiriwang ng Ating Karapatan. Featuring a wide range of talented performers, the two-hour event served as an avenue to garner support for the rights and protection of the LGBTQ+ community, as well as encourage acceptance, support, and love for greater society.
Pride in identity
The exciting lineup of performances started off with a Harlequin Theatre Guild (HTG) play, Lisik. Through the lens of its lead character Addy, played by Devon de Vera (II, AB-CAM), gender and identity issues were put into focus. The play took place on three different birthdays of Addy, walking the audience through an ongoing struggle of reconciling with their gender throughout the years.
A valuable detail Lisik emphasized was the dictation and prescription of societal norms toward gender, portrayed through the use of toys and clothing. As a young girl, Addy was given an action figure robot during their birthday, earning ridicule from their childhood best friend, Cheska, who owned a doll. Despite the underlying notion of gender specificity, Addy never saw a conflict with their identity then. Later on, however, Addy grew to feel more disconnected from looking hyperfeminine and becomes even more confused over how they should be perceived.
Ultimately, Addy shared their feelings with their dad, dad’s partner, and best friend. In turn, their loved ones assured Addy that it is okay to question yourself and be different. As long as you are surrounded by the right people, you don’t have to worry about finding yourself; you are still loved and accepted.
Unapologetic steps in expression
Following the play, Karen Faye Chua, president of DLSU PRISM—an organization advocating for the rights of the LGBT community—delivered the night’s first solidarity message. Chua emphasized that the concert is not only a celebration but also a call to continue the fight for the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Bill.
The La Salle Dance Company (LSDC) Contemporary and Street then took the stage. Clad in pink, dancers delivered a bodied and playful performance to a Latin pop song under flashing colors of lights. Meanwhile, LSDC-Street gave a retro-style performance by dancing along to a mashup of pop and hip-hop hits from the 2000s. And at its very core, both dance troupes demonstrated the value of free expression, which is one of the many aspects of Pride.
One lively raffle game later, Lance Reblando, a trans woman singer, actress, and activist, delivered the night’s second solidarity message. She reminded people, especially those in the LGBTQ+ community, that being different is not something to fear. “Being different is our magic. [Huwag] kayong matakot maging kayo, kasi ‘yun ang magic niyo,” she assured the audience.
(Don’t be afraid to be yourself, because that’s your magic.)
Reblando proceeded to strengthen her message through soulful renditions of well-known melodies. Through Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody, Beyoncé’s Listen, and This is Me from the musical drama The Greatest Showman, she made it clear that we must not shy away from showcasing our truest identities.
At the tail end of the concert, Ja Quintana—a human rights advocate, singer-songwriter, and DLSU alumna—delivered the final solidarity message. True to the theme of the event, Quintana’s spiel banked on the very idea of Pride as a protest. She also reminded everyone that beyond LGBTQ+ rights, “There are still a lot of things to fight for,” one of which she mentioned being the SOGIE Bill.
Quintana moved on to perform original songs influenced by ethnic, jazz, and classical genres. With her original song Guliat—a Waray word that means “shout”—Quintana shone by showcasing her powerful alto vocals, intertwined with chilling lyrics that were in tune with her reminder to the audience before singing “Keep shouting because one day, someone will eventually hear you.”
Two other equally chilling songs came after. First was a folk-jazz, bossa nova original titled K—which was revealed to stand for kalayaan, katarungan, and kapayapaan, inspired by the values sprung from Philippine history and the fight to keep it alive. To finish her set, an interactive song with folk and reggae elements titled Bahaghari was sung. Wrapped in charmingly beautiful lyrics, Bahaghari was a dedication to the queer community, spoken by how love is found in different forms or colors, and supported by the cry “Palayain ang bahaghari!”
(freedom, justice, peace)
(Free the rainbow!)
After taking the stage, performers were awarded certificates of appreciation for participating in the Pride concert. And as a culmination, Audrey Garin—University Vision-Mission Week’s project head—delivered the closing remarks, reminding the audience of the purpose and main message of Sinag: to spread communal love and acceptance for the queer community and to join them in their ongoing crusade for equal rights.