After 2 years, Pride March returns in PH

Josiah Antonio, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 26 2022 12:28 AM | Updated as of Jul 04 2022 05:44 PM

Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+) community gather to attend the QC Pride Festival held at the Quezon Memorial Circle on June 25, 2022. The local government unit estimated around 30,000 attendees for this year’s pride festival which includes small businesses expo, HIV testing, COVID-19 vaccinations, and the traditional pride march in the afternoon. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+) community gather to attend the QC Pride Festival held at the Quezon Memorial Circle on June 25, 2022. The local government unit estimated around 30,000 attendees for this year’s pride festival which includes small businesses expo, HIV testing, COVID-19 vaccinations, and the traditional pride march in the afternoon. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — After two years since the COVID-19 pandemic, Pride March on Saturday returned to the streets, amid hopes on the SOGIE Equality Bill finally becoming a law. 

According to Metro Manila Pride president Nicky Castillo, more than 8,000 members of the LGBT community joined the event, as of 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

Castillo said that she’s glad to see the LGBT community return with Pride March to assert their rights, as pandemic restrictions eased.

"Definitely nakakatuwa, nakaka-overwhelm in a really good way na people have showed up and have rallied around the Metro Manila Pride March in a festival like this especially after being isolated from each other for two years," Castillo said. 

"People have come out in a show of force, letting the rest of the Philippines in the community that we’re still here. We’re still here to call for the passage of the SOGIE-specific anti-discrimination bill, we’re here to call for the upholding human rights and protecting human rights, and also here to be with each other, especially after we have been separated, cut off from a lot of our support groups for because of the ongoing pandemic," she added. 

Bahaghari's Rey Valmores-Salinas, meanwhile, looked back at her arrest with 19 others two years ago for conducting a Pride March in Manila during the pandemic.

"Nangako po kami na balang araw, kami ay magbabalik kasama ang iba’t ibang miyembro ng LGBT community at ngayon ‘yung pangakong ‘yun ay natupad na makita ang libu-libong miyembro ng LGBT community na handang sabihin na ipapaglaban namin ang aming karapatan at hindi tayo magpapabura," she said. 

WHAT'S NEXT 

In a video message, Sen. Risa Hontiveros said she will refile the SOGIE Equality Bill, which seeks to give equal rights to every Filipino regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression. 

"The drumbeat to equality is getting louder and louder. I can feel it, equality is on the horizon. You are more than Pride Day or Pride Month. You have every right to exist as you are in the day-to-day. You deserve the chance to be yourselves and feel at ease everywhere. You deserve to be safe," Hontiveros said. 

"Hindi tayo natinag, lalo tayong tumapang at proud na proud akong lumalawak talaga ito. So, as promised, we will not stop until the SOGIE Equality Bill is passed into law," she added. 

Hontiveros said that future generations would benefit from the bill by being free from discrimination. 

"Praktikal lang naman ang hinihingi ng SOGIE Equality Bill, ano ba naman ang hingiin na maging ligtas ang mga anak natin na maging patas ang ating healthcare system, magkaroon tayo ng maayos na hanapbuhay, na tigilan na ang diskriminasyon at karahasan sa mga LGBTQIA+ na kapatid natin," the senator said. 

"I know how much this means to many of us Filipinos, to the younger generation, searching for acceptance, to advocates who have devoted their lives to fight for equal rights, to family and friends who only want to see our loved ones live with without fear of stigma and discrimination." 

MOVING FORWARD

Valmores-Salinas said they will continue to lobby for the passage of the SOGIE Equality Bill during the term of incoming President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. 

"History, nakita natin talaga na ang pangulo mayroon talaga siyang hawak sa supermajority both in Congress and the Senate so malaking bagay talaga ang pagsuporta ng isang pangulo sa isang panukala and now that we have an incoming president-elect na walang plataporma at all, let alone ng isang platform para sa LGBT community," she said. 

"We expect na kagaya na noong anim na taon kay Rodrigo Duterte iichapwera na naman tayo bilang mga miyembro ng LGBT community pero siyempre hindi nangangahulugan na hindi tayo lalaban. Patuloy pa rin ang paggiit na ipasa ang SOGIE Equality Bill."

While it may be another uphill battle to pass the SOGIE Equality Bill, Castillo believes that the LGBT community can do more to drumbeat the passage of the bill.

"Gamitin nating itong lahat, ‘yung impormasyon, itong pag-unlad para kumbinsihin ‘yung mga people in power to do their jobs and to pass these laws."