This year’s theme is “Here Together.”
MANILA — Rainbow flags, balloons and funky costumes gave color to the Pride March held in Marikina City yesterday, June 24. But a bright shade of red stood out, as one group denounced the spate of human rights violations and the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
The Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender (LGBT) Pride March is annually held in Metro Manila by LGBT Filipinos to uphold their right against discrimination and call for the legalization of same-sex marriage in the country. For its 25th year, the LGBT Pride March adapted the theme, “Here Together,” indicating unity of various groups in championing their rights as LGBT Filipinos.
“[A]side from providing venue for coming out and waving rainbow flags, LGBT Pride March is a good opportunity to bring forward social issues that are equally relevant to LGBT community, like human rights violations, martial law, and peace talks,” said the LGBT group Bahaghari in a statement.
Before proceeding to the Plaza de los Alcadez in Marikina City, members of Bahaghari gathered for a candle lighting in the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman to call for the immediate termination of martial law in Mindanao and the resumption of peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
“It is high time that the LGBT community be more determined not only in fighting discrimination against LGBT persons but also in raging against the oppressive system that bred poverty, injustice, and inequality,” said Professor Bernadette Neri who is also the Cultural Committee Head of the Group.
Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, who went to the gathering in UP, said that aside from condemning discrimination against the LGBT, the Pride March also advocates other issues. She commended various groups for linking their LGBT rights advocacy to sectoral struggles.
“We also advocate the passage of the Anti-Discrimination Bill,” Taguiwalo added, which she said would give legal recognition to the LGBT. Taguiwalo formerly taught women and gender studies in UP College of Social Work and Community Development.
In Marikina, the marchers were mocked from the sidelines by some groups that denounced the LGBT as “sinners,” and quoted Bible verses that were interpreted as condemning homosexuality. Some marchers carried placards which seemed to answer back, such as, “Jesus loves me” and “Bigots begone.” Some also quoted from the Bible, with “Our God is love,” from John 1, 4:8:16.
Various religious denominations, such as the Iglesia Filipina Independiente were also among the marchers, dressed in black clergy shirt and cassocks.
Aside from advocating LGBT rights, the rally also served to raise awareness on sexually transmitted diseases. Testmnl.org, a gay organization, called out for HIV awareness.
Text and photos by DANIEL BOONE and DANNAH DENISE AGUSTIN
With additional photos from MARY ANGELIQUE TACATA