Metroscene: Fostering Inner Healing and Empowering Our Inner Queer Child

Jun 30, 2023 0 comments

I have always found the concept of an "inner child" fascinating. Think of it as a metaphorical aspect of our being that remains frozen in childhood— all the emotions, beliefs, and memories we experience during our developing years existing deep in our being.

They say that our inner child profoundly influences us as adults, shaping how we navigate relationships, perceive the world, and feel emotions. Even though we may not be aware of it, our inner child silently whispers in our thoughts and actions as it carries the remnants of how we have become. 

For the lucky ones, their inner child is happy. Free of weary, doubt, and well nurtured. However, in our sad reality, this comes as a privilege and a currency to life for the rest of us. Not everyone can afford it. Not everyone associates their “inner child” with playfulness and fun. 

The LGBTQIA+ community is no stranger to this. International research has shed light on the heartbreaking reality that community members are more likely to have experienced childhood trauma and abuse before the age of 18 compared to their heterosexual peers. All the hiding, confusion, and fear of not being able to love or to be loved in the society that points at your queerness. 

That’s why for this year's Pride month, Metroscene wants to remind everyone that in the quest for a safe and accepting world, we must not forget to heal and foster the inner queer child in us. As we celebrate Pride, we bring you “mother” and “laro!” —our very first covers-– as a celebration and a reminder of our progress, and how prioritizing self-care, self-love, and inner healing is key to genuine happiness. 

Raising the flag for this pride month with Metroscene are this generation’s queer icons Sassa Gurl, Junjun Salarzon, and Ychan Laurenz as we pay homage to our fondest childhood memories of playing in the streets. 

Mother? Mother! 

Before the word "mother" took on its modern meaning in the LGBTQIA+ community, we Filipinos already have our own version, and she reigns supreme as the queen of the streets! Forget about pop stars and actresses; our queen is a force to be reckoned with. 

The streets hold stories like an archive of the past, present, and future. Every Filipino queer child has a story about the street where they grew up. The streets have witnessed our happiness, heartaches, fears, and triumphs, but most especially how we slay the game of Chinese garter.

In this Filipino game, "mother" was not just a title but a position of power, wit, and care. The mother was the one who jumped the highest, bending and twisting with unparalleled flexibility, all while leading the team to victory. The one who rescues her teammates and gives them a chance to play again by winning the round they had lost. Admit it or not, but we all wanted to be mothers. 

For our pride cover, Metroscene is honored to pay homage to the role of "mother" with the remarkable Sassa Gurl, who embodies bravery, wit, and the essence of a leader. Sassa Gurl's character represents the community's true spirit—fun, loving, and empowered. Her unwavering determination to speak her mind on important matters showcases her commitment to inspiring others. 

Though we may have outgrown playing the game in our streets, its concept of the "mother" remains relevant in our adult lives. Just as the nurturing "mother" symbolized community and bravery in our childhood, we can embody those qualities today. It's an opportunity to care for our inner child and foster a sense of community, guiding and supporting our peers. By embracing our true selves and offering guidance and understanding, we can liberate ourselves from the burdens of societal expectations that bring shame, uncertainty, and anxiety. Let us be the "mothers" who pave the way for self-healing and create a nurturing environment for everyone. After all, as the saying goes, “Dead mother, dead all.” 

Most importantly as adults, the streets have become wider for us, it is not only a mere playground anymore. It is now a battlefield that we can march on to raise our voices and foster education and love for society– for them to understand that we all belong in this traffic of life. Through these streets, we strive to convey the message that we all have a place in the vibrant rainbow lane.

Tara, Laro! 

They say, if you experienced neglect, trauma, or emotional pain, your “inner child” might seem small, vulnerable, and needing protection. You may have buried the pain deep to hide it and protect yourself — both your present self and the child you once were. But the sad truth is that whether you don’t remember, your “inner child” mind remembers. It keeps track of every moment of fear, abandonment, rejection, shame, and helplessness you have experienced. Yes, that scared and scarred child still lingers in our veins. 

How many of you have experienced the shame of being judged for liking things that are considered "for girls" or "for boys"? How many of you have felt compelled to suppress and hide your true interests simply because you feared ridicule and mockery?

From a tender age, we swiftly grasp the necessity of concealing certain aspects of our being. This early lesson instills profound anxiety and propels us to prematurely assume adult responsibilities as a means of self-preservation. Consequently, as adults, we find ourselves hindered in our progress, inadvertently sabotaging our own growth and prone to bouts of anxiety, depression, and self-condemnation.

As we embark on the journey of healing our inner child, let us embrace the world with open hearts and minds. Life offers many experiences, and it is time to let ourselves indulge in its beauty and joy. We have feared long enough and hurt too much. It is our time to be unapologetically us and play the games of life. 

We didn't summon the courage to step out of that closet just to drown in our own sorrows. No way! We deserve more than that—we deserve to thrive and find true happiness, living a life that's as beautiful as it is graceful.

As we embark on our healing journey, let us remember the importance of creating safe spaces for the next generation of the LGBTQIA+ community. We've walked through our own struggles, and now it's our duty to pave the way for a brighter, more accepting future.

Let's be the ones who break the cycle of trauma and pain. Instead, let's build bridges of love, understanding, and acceptance for those who will follow in our footsteps. Let's create spaces where they can express themselves freely, without fear or hesitation.

Metroscene wholeheartedly embraces and celebrates the vibrant spirit of the youth, empowering them to fearlessly express their boundless creativity. With immense pride, we join forces with Junjun Salarzon and Ychan Laurence, two exceptional young queer icons who embody the unwavering courage to embrace their authentic identities without apologizing. Together, our collective mission is to ignite inspiration and uplift others, fostering a world where everyone can radiate brightly in their true colors.

Junjun Salarzon's unapologetic self-acceptance serves as an inspiration to us all. Her unwavering commitment to being true to herself is a quality we should wholeheartedly embrace. Likewise, Ychan Laurence fearlessly shares her journey of self-discovery, freely opening up to the world. These remarkable individuals represent the future we must champion, and their qualities serve as invaluable lessons to impart to the next generation.

We want the next generation to grow up knowing that they are worthy of love and respect, just as they are. We want them to feel empowered to embrace their true selves unapologetically and without compromise. Let's show them that their identities should be celebrated, not hidden or ashamed of. 

As we persistently strive to safeguard our cherished space for those who will follow in our footsteps, let us never overlook the imperative task of nurturing and embracing our inner queer child. Throughout our journey, we have waged countless battles in pursuit of love and acceptance, but now is the moment for that radiant rainbow child within each of us to embark on a healing journey. It is time for them to bask in the warmth of love, both given and received. Happy Pride, Mga Mahal!


Photography by Miggy Broño (@miggybrono_)

Art Direction by Mark Elwyn Baccay (@markelwyn)

Fashion Direction and Styling by Dave Arden (@rdenstyleph)

Styling Assistant by Angela Correa (@itsangela_c)

Makeup by Mycke Arcano (@mycke.arcano)

Hairstyling by Lars Cabanacan (@larscabanacan)

Production Coordination by Chardy Baldoza (@Baldyosa)

Words by Mark Elwyn Baccay (@markelwyn)

Special thanks to our designers

ḢA.MÜ (@_ha.mu_)

LE NGOK (@le_ngok)

MONTECALVO CREATIONS (@montecalvo_creations)

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