On June 28th, 1969 the Stonewall Riots kicked of the gay rights movement in the US. In 1970 the first gay pride marches took place in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago – today prides are happening all around the world. TQU wants to know who the people are that are organizing todays prides and what the marches mean to them. See all Faces of Pride.
Faces Of Pride:
Lasia Casil || Guam Pride
What’s your name and age? My name is Lasia Casil. I am a transgender woman from Guam and I am in my 40’s.
Since when have you been involved with Guam Pride?
I co-organized the first Guam Pride event in 2016 with a bunch of friends. It was a small event on the beach with a DJ, cultural performers, drag queens and a bonfire. In 2017 I formalized the organization Guam LGBT Pride and started to reach out to sponsors and the local community to participate and support the LGBTQ+ community on Guam. It was a challenge because Pride had never been celebrated out in the open before here on the island. There were parties in the nightclubs, but I felt it was important to make it inclusive for all ages and the entire community to participate. Our first Pride last year had a few sponsors and the turn-out really surprised me. We just celebrated the 2nd Annual Guam Pride March & Beach Festival a few weeks ago and we had double the sponsors and participants than we had last year.
Why do you think Guam Pride is important? Same-sex marriage was legalized on Guam in 2015. I think it’s important to get the word out that there is a safe place here in the Pacific where the LGBTQ+ community can come and feel safe, vacation, relax and get married. I hope that we can sway closed minds to open up and inspire those in the neighboring countries and islands in Oceana to have confidence and stand up for LGBTQ+ rights and equality in their own communities.
What is one (or two) remarkable thing(s) that has/have happened at Guam Pride? I think the most humbling thing is seeing the youth come out and realize that they finally have a safe place to be themselves and celebrate. Last year gave a presentation at a community college. After my presentation a young woman came up to me and wanted to help with the event. She’s a graphic designer so I asked if she could help design our logo for this year’s theme #RainbowIsland. We made t-shirts, stickers, hats and posters to raise funds for the event. When I asked her what name she wanted to use so I could tell everyone she designed the logo she declined. She said her parents are quite religious and she was scared of being kicked out of her home if they found out she is gay. This broke my heart to find out the same fears I had 25 years ago when I was her age still prevail today. On the day of the Pride event she showed up with a couple of her friends. I could see her eyes light up attending her first Pride event. Since that day I’ve noticed her slowly coming out publicly on her Facebook page.
What do you do when you are not organizing Guam Pride? I am currently running for a seat as Senator in the 35th Guam Legislature and I manage a non-profit called Save Southern Guam advocating against irresponsible development on my beautiful island home, Guam. I also design my own jewlery line, Infinite Charm, based upon my travels around the world.
What do you like to do in your free time? I love to travel. I’ve lived in Tokyo, Munich, London, New York, Los Angeles, Bangkok and now back to Guam. I love being in nature, hiking, scuba-diving, cooking and exploring new cultures.
Is there something you would like to say to the rest of the LGBT+ community? Please have faith. It gets better. You are not alone. The wonderful thing about being our community is that we are able to create our own families when our real ones turn us away. Find your tribe. They’re out there and they are also looking for you.