CEBU, Philippines—A long distance relationship (LDR) is difficult for any couple. But it is not impossible.
This was proven by Cebuano gay couple Jev Parilla and Sherwin Sulla, who both conquered the common notion about LDR setups.
“I believe my love story proves that long-distance relationship does work,” Jev told CDN Digital in an interview.
“My partner and I have met through a common-friend few years ago, that was when I was working for a media network as their DJ. Since he is also a Cebuano, we had a lot in common which also made our relationship progressed easily despite being miles apart and due to the pandemic,” said Jev.
Jev and his husband, Sherwin, were separated by distance and time during the first three years of their relationship.
However, this did not stop their love and hope that someday, their union will be forever.
The patience paid off as the couple tied the knot in a civil wedding in Australia last May 22, 2022.
“We are very grateful and blessed to be in a country where we feel accepted and legally supports same sex civil unions. We just had our civil union ceremony a couple of weeks ago and now settling in very well as newly wed here in Darwin.
Australia is one of the few countries around the world that have officially legalized same-sex marriage.
The couple is now based in Darwin, Australia, both working successfully in their respective fields.
The society is gradually opening up to differences. Jev has a fair share of this experience.
“I didn’t feel the need to come out to my family as I always believed that my family knows me very well since the time I was born. In a Filipino household we never talk about being gay as it is either too confronting or a taboo topic,” said Jev.
“However, when I started a serious relationship with my now partner Sherwin, I braved myself to talk to my parents about my current relationship, which gave them a hard time to accept due to their religious convictions. It is a long process of coming into terms about my choices in life and up until now it is still a work in progress within my family,” Jev added.
Coming out can be a gradual process indeed.
When asked what he has to tell an LGBTQIA+ youth, Jev highlighted the importance of being true to oneself.
“Personally, I think it is not our sexuality or our gender preference which is really the issue why there is concealing of who we are to our own families and that there is the need to “come out” per say; rather it is the society that does not accept anything other than what they considered conventional to Filipino norms and imposed a hostile environment to young people who are feeling a disconnect between what the world define as being normal.I think if we just have to be inclusive to the LGBTQIA+ people starting from our own families, relatives, and friends regardless of other people’s culture, race, and background. “
“To the young people who may have struggles about your identity; there is nothing wrong with you, you are uniquely you and there is no need for you to conform just to blend-in. Express yourself by being you in all aspects of your life and do it in a day to day basis. Begin to see all people in a broader spectrum and not just black or white,” he said.
As we celebrate the Pride Month this June, CDN Digital is one with our family and friends in the LGBTQIA+ community.
The Pride Month is dedicated to the uplifting of the voices and culture of the LGBTQIA+ and the support of LGBTQIA+ rights.
For Jev, the celebration shouldn’t be superficial and restricted exclusively to the month of Pride. He believes that expressing one’s true identity goes along in all aspects of one’s daily life.