Sex: a subject historically known to raise hushes and cause blushes whether in regards to your orientation or the reproductive (although sometimes unproductive) function has had a shift.  We live in a world where previously abhorred inclinations are now becoming increasingly socially acceptable and depending on where you live (in this case London) you are more likely to witness the love exchanged between two men or two women.  There was once a time as a child when I walked alongside my archetypal loving parents when my wide eyes widened further by seeing men kissing in Brighton.  Controversial.  Since this moment though, I have witnessed various coupling orientations that still never fail to bring about divided opinion in the UK.  It is healthy though, everyone at least HAS an opinion, it is just when it is uninformed and bigoted that it becomes troublesome.

On the invitation of my friend Chel, a man who is as close to me as family and having left the Philippines fifteen years ago to become a nurse in the UK, I was proud to show him my support at Gay Pride in London.  There were two reasons for me attending, not just about sexual liberty but also for cultural identity, supporting the Filipino Gay community (Filipino LGBT UK) in the parade for its 2nd year.  The work and effort involved in organising such a group is phenomenal and Vice President Arnel of the Filipino LGBT association (led by President Joel) explained that it completely relies on volunteers to aid its cause, like many of the groups that have come together since the first Gay marches over 40 years ago.  He continued to explain the logistics as we waited for the parade to start (surrounded by four corners of human peacocks that induced a contented smile that their creations could be visually consumed for at least one day) explaining how key members took on certain roles, one in particular being the Artistic Director Arnold, whose creative talents ensured stunning outfits and attention to detail made the Filipino troop so very impactive that day as we walked through the streets of London from Baker Street to Trafalgar Square.

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Another feature that drew eyes towards the Filipino group was the addition of traditional Filipino dancers, performing typical folk dances from the Mindanao region.  By combining bamboo and drum beats, fully costumed ladies carried head baskets in rhythm, some with glasses in each hand and on their head, accompanied by the centrepiece performance by a petite beauty with long metal finger cuffs that she twisted gracefully through the air whilst balancing on two thick bamboo sticks on two men’s shoulders.  This was a spectacle not only of sexual advancement but cultural evolution, as like many that travel abroad, it is not only a trial to integrate with your sexuality but with your immigrant status too.  The Filipinos do not take life too seriously though, ever with a smile and with one chap bounding around, swishing his hair excitedly and flashing his camera for the forever-ready-to-pose Filipinos at his bidding, chants of ‘Its better in the Philippines!’ resonated alongside the hum of festival noise.  Shrieks of delight and smiles were 360 degrees by the huge number of crowds that lined the streets with their cameras and phones ready.  It was an almost regal experience on the parade side of the fence, particularly when banners of 60 years of the Queen’s reign presided above our heads.  The euphoria was mightily encouraging too and Chel was in a wave of happiness that I was honoured to share with him.

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This distinctive shift I have found to be encouraged and increasingly embraced within the homosexual community is still distinctly unchanging within the heterosexual community though.  Inhibitions are still impossibly rife and what I once considered as a cultural affliction seems more and more to be just a simple case of repression.  One thing I observed at one of the Pride Festivals was the etiquette and civility displayed.  Of course there were vain groupings that just wanted to draw attention to themselves (however when you are surrounded by half naked men with bodies of sculptural beauty it is difficult not to) but the majority were polite, clean and non-aggressive.  Perhaps it is a hormonal behavioural piece then as at various ‘straight’ festivals and clubs, I see far more reckless behaviour with exhibitions of extreme drunkenness and ineloquent exchanges leaving me far more disgruntled.  One peculiar area I find intriguing is how many more compliments one can receive within a (male) gay community than within a heterosexual one.  Unless alcohol has infiltrated every pore within a London barfly, it is rare that I will get indication of being pleasing company to a stranger, however the words flow far more freely when I am in alternative territory.  There are other factors I realise though that affect this human behaviour because a homosexual man has no ulterior motive with me, his compliment is simply that; a compliment.  And this is equally possible why I am able to freely praise and affirm the beauty and intelligence amongst my female friends, because I too have no ulterior motive.

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So repression and insecurity is still ubiquitous it would seem amongst the straight community, so why are we not in protest about it?  Why must we conform to tradition or culture and mute our tongues when we see someone attractive or witness talent that deserves affirmation?  Creatures of habit or personality traits can be blamed however the key to unlocking them always seems to begin and end with the addition of stimulants in various form.  The other argument I find substantiated too is that youth aids another padlock to expression, age and wisdom being the aspects that release us from this prision. I do not claim to be entirely forthcoming myself (although I cling to the excuse of perpetual occupation) but I am trying to evolve.  I find behaviour is adapted to the company I am in, so if the person I speak to is more timid I will adjust accordingly.  It’s all about making people around you feel comfortable, by allowing others to just BE THEMSELVES instead of slipping into the stereotypical male or female traits (i.e. if you excuse the simplicity, ‘grunt, grunt’ or ‘squeal, squeal’).

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I encourage conversation that goes beyond weather-talk or transportation issues, I also seek to penetrate the deeper, more internal issues as these are the ones that haunt us, that so restrict exchanges at gatherings.  It’s not to encourage an outpour worthy of a psychotherapy session, there is a time and place for that, but surely we want to really know the person we are talking to so we can make sense of the narrator in our head. Or perhaps that’s just me.  Either way, we should encourage more liberation between heterosexual men and women.  We should be able to look each other in the eye and say what we are REALLY thinking.  There is no harm in this, there should never be a consideration of motive either (which is possibly what puts us off the most I think) as ultimately we should state that plainly too if we do have ulterior reasoning (imagine the possibilities of not fretting whether there is an attraction there or not.  Spare yourself the procrastination).  And I am encouraging positive behaviour too by the way, it would be a travesty if we were to identify flaws.  That is just mean.  No, positivity breeds positivity and with this, a more secure sense of self.  Which hopefully will be the end gain for a campaign of our own ‘sexual revolution’, to embrace who we are and be HONEST (without needing a drop of alcohol to do it).  Or just wait until you are retired to appreciate the beautiful people under your nose because we all live forever, don’t we?…

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