“Ang Pride, ang Pride ay protesta!” everyone at Pride March 2019 chanted.
It was my first Pride March (yay, me!) and I went with our sister publications and other colleagues from Hinge Inquirer. As expected, it was a space where various organizations let their voices be heard. Of course, it was also one big party for the LGBTQ+ community and their allies—all 70,000 of us, to be exact.
Despite the rain, the march pushed on with performances (on and off-stage), speeches, and mini-protests. If you weren’t able to go yesterday, here are some of the advocacies that were highlighted:
Members of the LGBTQ+ are constantly subjected to discrimination and prejudice by the people around them, which may affect their mental health. According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, “LGBTQ people with mental health conditions may also find themselves fighting a double stigma. Many will experience prejudice based on their sexual and/or gender identity as well as the stigma associated with mental illness. Confronting these challenges and mental health symptoms with an LGBTQ-inclusive therapist can lead to better outcomes, and even recovery.”
But what is unacceptable is to treat their gender identity and sexual orientation as something that needs to be cured. This is a dangerous mentality to have, especially here in the Philippines where, as far as we know, conversion therapy isn’t banned. As Roy Dahildahil of the Mental Health Cluster said onstage: “Your sexual orientation, identification, and expression are not mental disorders. You are not a disease that needs to be cure, nor a mistake that needs to be corrected. You are not a problem!”
Roy Dahildahil of the Mental Health Cluster: “Your sexual orientation, identification, and expression are not mental disorders. You are not a disease that needs to be cured, nor a mistake that needs to be corrected. You are NOT a problem.” #ResistTogether✊?️? pic.twitter.com/FLwPKEbttD
— ?Metro Manila Pride (@mmprideorg) June 29, 2019
As Niccolo Cosme would tell us in one of our cover stories, religion plays a big role in the acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community in the Philippines. At the Pride March, some of us saw anti-Pride protesters from the religious sector. There was even a viral video of a heckler who was disrespecting a member of the community outside the venue.
Meanwhile, many allies reminded LGBTQ+ people that they aren’t sinners. We saw attendees carrying signs with #LoveVersesHate, which contained messages of love from the Bible. This is a response to so-called religious people who use the scripture to discriminate against their neighbor.
Rev. Rolando Comon of Kaduwa Movement Equality also gave a speech onstage where he talked about babaylans (healers) and how Filipinos have gender-neutral indicators. “Ang lalaki at babae ay hindi kasarian kundi pagkakakilanlan. Ang ama at ina ay tinatawag nating magulang. Ganun din na ating ate at kuya ay kapatid. Ito ay pangalan na walang kasarian bagkus ito ay isang pagkakakilanlan.” (“Male” and “female” aren’t genders, they are identities. We call our father and mothers our parents. Our older sister and older brother are our siblings. These are names with no gender, hence, they are identities.)
Rev. Rolando Comon of Kaduwa Movement Equality through Compassion/Templong Anituhan ng Luntiang Aghama/Luntiang Aghama Natural Divine Arts Shrine of Healing Inc. gives a solidarity speech for the Faith, Religion Cluster #ResistTogether✊?️? pic.twitter.com/oOpm9NZ1n6
— ?Metro Manila Pride (@mmprideorg) June 29, 2019
Breaking the stigma around HIV/AIDS
HIV/AIDS cases in the Philippines are on the rise, and the afflicted are getting younger and younger as well. We now have the HIV/AIDS Policy Act, but the fight to break the stigma still continues. Especially with people thinking this disease is only an LGBTQ+ matter or something people who engage in premarital sex would get. As Mikhail Mata of Positibong Pasigueño said, “Ang paglaganap ng HIV ay di dahil sa mga bakla [o] dahil makasalanan ka. Ang paglaganap nito ay dahil sa patuloy na stigma at diskriminasyon!” (The prevalence of HIV is not because of the gays or because you’re sinful. It continues to exist because of the stigma and discrimination attached to it!)
”Ang paglaganap ng HIV ay di dahil sa mga bakla [o] dahil makasalanan ka. Ang paglaganap nito ay dahil sa patuloy na stigma at diskriminasyon!” —Mikhail Mata of Positibong Pasigueño#Pride2019 #ResistTogether pic.twitter.com/PVpy6MSnxB
— Preen.ph (@preenph) June 29, 2019
The SOGIE Equality Bill, which aims to address gender-based violence against the LGBTQ+ community, wasn’t passed in the recent Congress. Sen. Risa Hontiveros they will have to re-file it this year, and hopefully, it does get passed this time. (Almost two decades have gone by already, come on!
While we still don’t have a set law in place for the whole country, there are cities and provinces here with anti-discrimination ordinances. The latest city to pass one is Marikina City—we know this because Mayor Marcelino Teodoro signed it at the Pride March stage. YES!
Fighting for the Lumads
This is the reminder you need that Pride isn’t just an event for the LGBTQ+ community. If you want to fight for equality in this country, you should also look at the other marginalized in our society. One example are the Lumads from Mindanao who’ve been driven out of their homes and subjected to much violence in this administration.
Totoo. Isa ito sa pinakapaborito kong nangyari sa Pride kanina. Sayang hindi ko navideohan lahat kasi hindi ko pala napindot yung record nung una. #StopLumadKillings #EndMartialLaw #Pride2019 https://t.co/AiY1DifW4i pic.twitter.com/JUJySVMx4C
— Jaia #SaveSanRoque (@jaiayap) June 29, 2019
BONUS: Shoutout to the moms and dads!
We don’t know about you, but we see this as both an act of kindness and a protest demanding acceptance of all LGBTQ+ members. Sen. Risa Hontiveros wasn’t the only one going around giving mom hugs to everyone. There was also a group of parents who were offering hugs to everyone, as well as words of love and encouragement to every person who were shunned by their families.
Pride is finally living one’s truth w/o fear.
Pride is finding work & going to work w/o discrimination.
Pride is our children not getting bullied for who they are.
Pride means members of the LGBTIQ+ community getting the healthcare they need & deserve w/o judgement. pic.twitter.com/pnapazum4i
— risa hontiveros (@risahontiveros) June 29, 2019
We salute everyone who participated at the Pride March, and we hope everyone follow your examples!
Featured image courtesy of Pexels
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