top of page

"It's a sanctuary for the LGBT community and allies."

Biography

Constantino A., “Coco” Alinsug was born in 1971 in the Philippines He is Lynn’s first openly gay city councilor. He comes from a family that has a strong political and community tradition of service. Coco was the first executive director of the North Shore Alliance of GLBTQ+ Youth, NAGLY. Coco came to the US in 1996 and has been a resident of Lynn since 2003.

Watch Full Interview

Coco Alinsug was interviewed by Professor Andrew Darien on November 3,2023. He speaks about growing up in the Philippines, family, religion, moving to America, volunteer work, relationships, 47 Central, chosen family and community.

Coco Alinsug

Duration

45:14

Watch Interview Clips

Click an image to watch an interview clip.

It's not like religious here in America

Being religious and growing up, it's not like religious here in America, like this is what the Bible says you have to know it's just like your devotion to the patron saints or to your religion so we don't have that conversation with my parents and my grandparents about LGBT or being gays wrong we don't take that seriously there because it's more of devotion.

Coco Alinsug

Coco Alinsug

Religion

My family used to own the number one anti-Marcos newspaper.

My family, Cebu is always known as the opposition city, opposition province, so it's not a Marcus country. So my family used to own a newspaper, very popular newspaper, very well known, but it's also the number one anti-Marcus newspaper. So if you want to read about anything about anti-Marcus or the truth during the war, you go to Visayan Herald, which is owned by the Al-Nusra family. And every member of my family are involved with the newspaper either from business section or lifestyle or photographer anything they're all involved A

Coco Alinsug

Coco Alinsug

Activism and Politics

I moved to America to live my life as a gay man.

And remember, when I moved here, one of the reasons, and probably the main reason, basically I moved to America, is to live my life as a gay man. That is something that I couldn't do in the Philippines because of the reason that my family and my dad and so whatever I do probably I will date somebody or go out with my gay friends but it's all not in the open so we have to be away from my city. So moving here is basically an independence to me moving here for me to be me and part of being me and part of being opening up is for me to get involved with LGBT work.

Coco Alinsug

Coco Alinsug

Coming Out and Identity

I was heartbroken.

I was dating this guy. He was actually my domestic partner. So we were partners. We were not married. And like any other relationship sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't work so it didn't work for us I was heartbroken so I said you know what you know we have the same friends we're same neighborhood we know each other everywhere I go I always like I want to be away so I actually it's so funny I opened a map of the continental U.S. And identify cities and states that I have relatives or friends. And I've been to Lynn before, because I have an aunt here,

Coco Alinsug

Coco Alinsug

Marriage and Relationships

George asked me to be his events coordinator.

I'm such an outgoing person that he said like in fact so funny every time I celebrate my birthday I will have a party and George will say oh you need to have your party here because all the people at 47th Central will go to my house instead of going to his bar. So he will have a birthday party at the bar so all of us will stay there. But you know he asked me to be his events coordinator, So somebody that he would pay to organize like an event or a show. So I've always been an organizer and I was glad to do that for George and for 47th Central.

Coco Alinsug

Coco Alinsug

47 Central

You have your chosen family.

Although the bars have closed but we adapted to a different, I still have strong contacts with all my core friends. In fact this Saturday Peter and I were inviting them for dinner so they're all, they're from Lynn. Come here, we'll cook dinner, we'll watch a movie and you know talk about our memories at 47th Central. But that's the same group that we still have, we still talk about anything, challenges and issues that we're facing. That's the same group who helped me during the campaign period when I ran two years ago. So you have your own family, you have your chosen family and they are my chosen family, became part of my family.

Coco Alinsug

Coco Alinsug

Family

You are opening doors for others to follow.

Peter told me if you don't try it, how would we know? And you are basically opening doors for others to follow. So I am the first person of color ward counselor in the city of Lynn. I ward when I say ward which means ward one, two, three, because there's a person of color at large counselors before me but I'm the first out city counselor. There are LGBT counselors before me but they are not out. So for me to be out and tell the public that my husband, instead of, you know, it inspires a lot of people in Lynn not only the LGBT community, but the immigrant in general.

Coco Alinsug

Coco Alinsug

Activism and Politics

I was this flamboyant kid growing up.

So there was no formal coming out. They just basically knew. I was this flamboyant kid growing up. I love what we called theater. I love dancing, I love singing, I love the stage. They were just very supportive of me in that way. But I have conversations with my dad growing up and they knew and he will say, I want you to marry, I want to see grand... That's his way of saying, nope, I'm against you being gay. I want to see grandchildren and if you want to go out with your friends and not in our town, not in our city, go somewhere."

Coco Alinsug

Coco Alinsug

Coming Out and Identity

I'm a staff of the president.

So I am also a political appointee. So during those times, it was the presidency. After Corazon Aquino, the next president was Fidel Ramos. So I was his staff at Malacanang. Malacanang is like the White House of the U.S. So I'm one of the youngest staff. Like I'm that guy that, can you photocopy this? Send that there. But I'm still a staff of the president. And it was just, my parents were so proud.

Coco Alinsug

Coco Alinsug

Activism and Politics

Volunteer work with HIV causes.

And during those times, you're right, the height of HIV, so there's a lot of opportunity for me to work and volunteer work with HIV causes or distribute condoms or talk to, mentor somebody. And I've done that at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center. And then when I moved here, I continued it with the Gay and Bi Men's Health Program in Beverly.

Coco Alinsug

Coco Alinsug

HIV/AIDS

It's a sanctuary for the LGBT community and allies.

It's a sanctuary. It's a sanctuary for the LGBT community and allies. I mean, that's the period of time where you cannot, although there's pride parade, but they cannot, especially in Lynn, they cannot go out and, you know, It's a place where you can be yourself, so you go there and just meet friends.

Coco Alinsug

Coco Alinsug

47 Central

We don't have to hide anymore.

It makes me sad and at the same time happy And I will tell you why. Sad because it's part of your life. You know, it's, it's, there was an adjustment, it was difficult, the adjustment stage. But at the same time, it's also, I'm happy knowing that it's a signal, it symbolizes acceptance. The reason why all these bars have closed is because the LGBT community is out now, like we can, it's out in the mainstream, it's more accepted now, We don't have to hide anymore. And that's the idea of the bars, the clubs, is for us to hide in a sanctuary, a safe environment. Also in the advent of apps, like you know people will tend to have their parties at somebody's homes now and have drinks there, watch a movie or instead of going to a bar. So it's good or bad.

Coco Alinsug

Coco Alinsug

Community and Change

Add more letters there!

Personally, I'm all about inclusion and I'm all about expanding and advocating and empowering different communities and individuals. I think as the years progress it keeps changing. Go ahead, add more letters there, but it still start with those first four letters, L-G-B-T, five letters, L-B-T-G-B-T-Q, that really is the compass of the whole of the community.

Coco Alinsug

Coco Alinsug

Generational Perspectives

Continue the advocacy work.

They were talking about censoring books that are going to the Lynn Public Schools. It saddened me because if I'm this kid, LGBT kid, and I could not find any book that will answer some of my questions, then there's a problem there. And a lot of people who are pushing that are people who are very religious and active in various churches. And it's the same approach that they're doing years and years ago and it's just a cycle that keeps going back and forth. So if we are not being proactive and getting involved, then we will be defeated. So that's my message, continue the advocacy work.

Coco Alinsug

Coco Alinsug

Discrimination and Violence

Photos and News Events

ULP Logo Round 2024.png

© 2023 United Lynn Pride Inc
United Lynn Pride Inc. is a 501(c)3 Tax Exempt Non-Profit Organization

EIN: 88-4123340

#UnitedLynnPride
Connect with us on Social Media

Facebook_logo_(square).png
-11590303444ezlkboanlo_edited.jpg
bottom of page