Open Pride letters to read all year

Published July 5, 2020, 9:18 AM

by Kerry Tinga

These crowdsourced epistolary revelations and intimations for Pride Month are now available on UP Babaylan’s website

There is beauty, skill, and art when it comes to writing an open letter. It can seem like a contradiction, written in an intimate fashion but widely circulated and published for the public to read. Whether addressed to someone or to no one in particular, in the end it is really for anyone who resonates with the open letter’s message. 

“A very long time ago, those before us risked everything so kids like us can breathe comfortably in our own skin. You are a wonder, your existence in this world is someone’s greatest legacy. May our colors someday shine with the sun.” writes Gie, a pansexual college student from Negros, in a submission to the Pride Letters initiative. The piece is titled “An Open Letter to Closeted Kids Whose Eyes Reveal Their Struggles.” It has been liked and shared hundreds of times over social media.

The Pride Letters initiative encouraged netizens to submit open letters that would be shared online for Pride Month. The concept came from the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman’s Babaylan organization as a way to recreate the experience of solidarity with the LGBTQ+ advocacy and movement online due to the cancellations of Pride marches in June. It was executed through partnerships with the Baguio chapter and Clark chapter of UP Babaylan, along with the Philippine Anti-Discrimination Alliance of Youth Leaders (PANTAY) and the Youth Advocates for the Philippines.

“We wanted to reach out and send messages of love and hope to our community, especially in these uncertain and turbulent times,” said members of UP Diliman Babaylan. “In our call for submissions, we emphasized how we should let our queer siblings know that they have a home and a family in the community. We affirmed that equality is a family value and that love, respect, inclusion, and acceptance make a home.”

The open letters published on Facebook were addressed to a variety of groups, from queer teens to the parents of LGBTQ+ children to members of the trans community. The organizers of the initiative thought it would be a slow start but they were pleasantly surprised to find many people submitting entries.

The open letters are now available to read on UP Babaylan’s website, divided into sections: Letters for the LGBTQI Community, To Those In the Closet, To Those Who Are Not Accepted, To Those Who Are Questioning, To Specific Groups in the Community, and Personal Letters. The website includes letters originally posted on the Facebook pages of the youth groups involved in the initiative, as well as other previously unpublished open letters that will touch any readers’ heart.

“You are beautiful,” writes Vic in a letter entitled “To Queer Kids Who Are Yet To Roam the World with Their Wings,” “You are worth it. Always. And there’s nothing, no one, who can stop your wings to soar higher, to fly further. I can see you. You are loved.”