#PARCINQGivesBack: The Golden Gays Project
For the Golden Gays — yes, that's what they're called — Manila's most senior troupe of drag queens never knew this latest chapter in their lives would become so rewarding or that life could become more meaningful for just being themselves.
The House for the Golden Gays has been legendary since it was founded by the late columnist, LGBTQIA+ activist, and icon in Philippine queer history Justo Justo in the mid-1970s. It was brought upon by the monumental cultural shift of the 70s and 80s, wherein gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transexual seniors in the queer community are often discarded and abandoned by their own families. It was a time of significant momentum, and tremendous pain as oppression was rampant and acceptance were rare.
Over the past few decades, the house and the group have remained actively entertaining young community members with lip-sync performances at bars in the metro despite their advanced ages. However, when Justo Justo died in 2012, the non-profit organization was forcibly closed. Unfortunately, some of the members were taken in by their families, but most were left wandering the streets, looking for ways to earn a living.
New Age for the Golden Gays
Justo Justo's death was a dark period for the Golden Gays, but with the help of activists and the community, they were able to get back on their feet and relocate. But just as they started standing on their own feet another challenge came to their path.
Currently, the non-profit organization is being led by its president, Ramon Busa, and they reside in a small 2-bedroom home in Pasay, no bigger than your standard studio apartment. In the meantime, while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge in the country, with nine members living in the house— the youngest is 59 years old, and the oldest is 87— they decided to put up drag shows online, which allowed them to survive from day to day.If they hadn't been drag queens, some of the Golden Girls might have been makeup artists or scavengers to pay the bills.
The Golden Gays Project
But much like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the Golden Gays once again experienced the glam and glitz of life with "The Golden Gays Project," under FRONTROW with the help of PARCINQ!
Spearheaded by philanthropist and a legend in the advertising industry FRONTROW's RS Francisco and celebrity makeup artist Gery Penaso, the Golden Gays were treated like queens on a very memorable afternoon, followed by an exciting night out!
On December 28, 2021, 15 residents of Home for the Golden Gays were welcomed to the FRONTROW Mother Ignacia office and were treated to a glam photoshoot by some of the country's best creatives from the LGBTQIA+ community.
Gery with the help of fellow celebrity makeup artists Aloja Carvajal, Bryan Cuizon, and Seph Madrid (with assistants Kevin Mallari and Jelly Abigail), along with hairstylists Jan Edrolosan and Dale Mallari. Completing the team are celebrity stylist Rodel Brinas, creative director Ryuji Shiomitsu, and Parcinq's very own Rxandy Capinpin as the photographer.
Glam and the Golden Glitz
We can all agree that we have come so far, so fast that it can be easy to forget what life was like for the members of the LGBTQIA+ community just a few short years ago. That is why it is important to look back and give the credit where it is due. With that "The Golden Gays Project," everyone involved agreed to honor the Golden Gays for being pioneers in LGTBQIA+ representation and paving the way for the younger generation to live their most authentic selves.
To help ease their everyday problems, FRONTROW pledged to shoulder the monthly bills of the Home for the Golden Gays. This includes their rent, electricity, water, and internet consumption. RS Francisco gifted the Home with a brand new 55 inch Samsung 4k TV and a Samsung tablet for their Christmas present. The queens also received FRONTROW's top-of-the-line health supplements, including the new LUXXE ImmunePlus, a very effective product to help strengthen the immune system.
Through Ryuji's initiative, the queens also received gift packs from Pagoda Philippines, containing everyday medical essentials. As an added bonus, hairstylist Jan and fashion stylist Rodel gave the queens all the fabulous wigs and glittery gowns they wore for the shoot.
As soon as the shoot got wrapped, RS then took the team and the queens—all still decked in their glamorous eleganza—to MANKIND in Timog for a titillating night where they met Queer Gen Z celebrity AWRA, who showed honor to the queens with a performance.
A few queens also gave impromptu performances—watching the OGs reclaim the spotlight was a moving experience for the team. It was an honor to watch the original Sarah G and Regine impersonators battle it out in a lip-sync medley. At the end of the day, not a dry eye was in sight as everyone present was overwhelmed with a feeling of gratitude for the time spent and the generosity shared with the grand dames of our LGBTQIA+ community.
Produced and Spearheaded by RS Fransisco, FRONTROW President
Photography by Rxandy Capinpin
Styling by Rodel Brinas
Creative Direction by Ryuji Shiomitsu
Make up by Gery Penaso, Aloja Carvajal, Bryan Cuizon, Seph Madrid
Assisted by Kevin Mallari and Jelly Abigail
Hair by Jan Edrolosan and Dale Mallari
Words by Mark Baccay
In Collaboration with FRONTROW
Coordinator Shahani Gania
Special Thanks to MANKIND and PAGODA