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WATCH: Why It's Worth Fighting For The Right To Fall In Love, According To Five Couples

Love is a universal instinct—but have you stopped to think that it's a universal right, too? 



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Even today and by our modern world's standards, it's a right that can't always be practiced freely, especially for those in unconventional relationships (i.e.: anything other than a heterosexual relationship between a biologically born man and woman). 


READ: Dreams Of Love, Equality, And Acceptance: Mari Jasmine And Samantha Lee Tug On Heartstrings After Going Public With Their Relationship


In numbers, a startling 75 percent of youth don't feel free to choose their romantic partners, while an alarming 90 percent wish that future generations grow to become more open, tolerant, and accepting than theirs, according to research presented by Close Up Philippines.



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The story behind the statistics is a heartwrenching one; some people find someone they like, fall in love, envision a future with them, but it's one that doesn't always materialize. The reasons behind this range from parental disapproval, public shame, fear of falling out of one's social circle, cultural divide, or even worrying about the repercussions of one's relationship on their professional standing. 


READ: "Take Pride In Being Our Authentic Selves Every Day:" BJ Pascual's Heartwarming Message About The 2018 Metro Manila Pride Fest Will Make You Wave Your Rainbow Flag All Year Long


The list goes on and on when there shouldn't be a list at all.



This is exactly what Close Up Philippines is choosing to highlight with the #FreeToLove campaign, a movement that celebrates all kinds of love, couples, and relationships. With it, they hope to lay the foundations of a new Philippines where all Filipinos are free to choose who to spend their lives with, where love can reign supreme and prejudice and judgement become obsolete. 

To breathe life into the campaign are five real-life couples who fought for their right to love and be together. Each faced a different set of obstacles before finding acceptance and the bravery to declare their relationship official to the world, but each will attest that every step of the journey was well worth it. 

For your daily dose of inspiration, check out their stories below: 


Angie and Joey Mead-King

This couple shocked everyone when they revealed Angie's decision to transition from a man to a woman a few years back. The LGTBQIA+ movement was not as powerful then as it is today, making their decision to stay together and pursue Angie's desire to live life as a transgender woman all the more admirable. 




Chelsea Robato and Christian Busby 

The Great Wall of China—members of the Filipino-Chinese community will tell you that it's not just a historical site; it's a hindrance to relationships between that of a Chinese individual and an "outsider." This was the reality once faced by the Chinese Chelsea and Englishman Christian, but he in particular was persistent in scaling the wall, while she continued to pave the way for her family's acceptance of him. 




Beauty Gonzalez and Norman Crisologo

Couples can be judged based on their ages too. Take it from Beauty Gonzalez, who endures being thought of a gold digger or opportunist, and Norman Crisologo, who is labeled by some as a "DOM." They say that they continue to prove to those who judge them that it's real love that keeps them strong together, but if no one listens, who cares? What's important is only what they think of and feel about each other. 




Tim Yap and Javi Martinez

It's hard enough to have a Great Wall surrounding you, but the difficulty increases to infinite levels when you're a famous face whose most intimate life events are publicized and scrutinized to no end. For Tim Yap, it was tough, but not tough enough to deter him from proposing to the love his life Javi Martinez. The pair married early this year, and are now unafraid to show their love for each other. 




Issa Pressman and Marga Bermudez

Falling in love is effortless; but for couples from the LGBTQIA+ community, the need to come out and embrace one's sexual identity and orientation is the crucial, and often harrowing, first step to take before love can blossom. For Issa Pressman and Marga Bermudez who very recently announced their relationship, the experience was scary but in the end, was liberating and necessary.