14 Jun To Me, the LGBTQ+ Community Means Family
“The LGBTQ+ community has always felt like home to me,” says Jasmine Manahan. “Queer relations felt normal to me.” (Photo courtesy of Jasmine Manahan)
By Jasmine Manahan, as told to Kimyatta Newby
Editor’s note: Jasmine Manahan, 20, is bisexual woman from Pinole who uses the pronouns she/they. As part of our Pride Month coverage, she reflected on family, religion and what the LGBTQ+ community means to her. This article has been written in a first-person style using Manahan’s responses in an interview with the author. It has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
To me, Pride as a concept is a shared experience among the queer community in which we have space to be happy and confident. It’s about being proud of who you are and what makes you, you. Pride is a celebration of culture, inclusivity and remembrance. It’s meant to be a safe space for everyone, regardless of identification. Pride feels like a big hug. We can’t forget those who threw the first stone such as Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera who were trans activists, sex workers and revolutionaries. Take pride in our ability to have pride.
The LGBTQ+ community has always felt like home to me. I’ve had relatives, especially on my dad’s side, who were queer themselves, which made queerness familiar to me. Queer relations felt normal to me. However, I was in spaces that were very homophobic, especially the church I attended. It was a traditional Filipino church that opened itself to families migrating to the U.S. But the space wasn’t safe for queer people. A moment that stuck with me was an Easter sermon where the preacher stated that love and marriage should be between man and woman. I think I went to the bathroom and cried. I felt ashamed, but on the other hand, I had a family who was a part of the LGBTQ+ community. It was hard to grapple between the two, wanting to embrace my religion but also my sexuality. Other people have similar experiences, and it’s reassuring to know I’m not the only one who faced these dilemmas. The LGBTQ+ community feels like home for me, and amidst my grappling, I always chose what felt like home.
I want to provide a huge shoutout to my family for migrating to the Bay Area after leaving the Philippines because it’s riddled with diversity. I am and grew up surrounded by different types of people and cultures. I’m aware of the privilege I have to celebrate Pride. I have almost always felt safe when it comes to Pride and the LGBTQ+ community. California is known for being so progressive. I’m grateful for being able to grow up in a place like that. However, it makes me so upset to hear about the anti-trans and -queer bills such as “Don’t Say Gay.” It feels like the country is purposely taking a step back to have more control over people. It makes me scared for future generations of queer kids. The queer community isn’t trying to harm or indoctrinate kids. We just want to express who we are and love who we love.