Walk With Pride. March.


Last Saturday, December 6, gays, lesbians, transgendered, transexuals, bisexuals, bi-curious, and all other colors of the sexuality spectrum marched down the streets of Manila to celebrate their diversity. It was the 10th year anniversary of GLBT Pride and it was just as colorful as the past parades.

Lesbians march on at the Manila Pride March 2008. (Photo courtesy of Libay Linsangan Cantor.)  

Lesbians march on at the Manila Pride March 2008.

I missed the march, no thanks to traffic and an attack of allergies that left me groggy and Benadryl-drugged. My friends and I caught the program, however, and that was something. Participants, celebrants, curious uzis — and even bigots, I’m sure — were entertained and awed by svelte, graceful, and statuesque gay beauty queens.

It seemed like there were more participating groups this year than the past pride marches. I’m not sure though. I saw the following organizations and groups raise awareness and proudly wave the pride flag:

Proudly and totally dyke-y. (Photo courtesy of Libay Linsangan Cantor.)

Proudly and totally dyke-y.

Lunduyan ng Sining
UP Babaylan
UP Film Institute
Metropolitan Community Church
RH Bill Supporters
Womyn Supporting Womyn Center
Indigo Philippines
Remedios AIDS Foundation

[My apologies to the ones I missed. Send me a message if your group is one of those I missed so I can add you to the list. :)]

Surprisingly, it is only now, fourteen years after its first celebrated walk down the public runway that the LGBT community faced a group of anti-gay protesters. They carried banners and placards that denounced homosexuality and condemned our lifestyle. Signs that screamed, “Only Jesus can save me from HELL,” “GAY = Got Aids Yet?” and others clearly showed that the Filipino society is suffering from discrimination and bigotry.

According to Ging Cristobal of LeAP! “Actually, ngayon lang may ganyan. Dati wala namang ganyan eh.” The said anti-gay protesters numbered enough to split up into groups.

Anti-gay protesters at the march carrying placards. (Photo courtesy of Libay Linsangan Cantor.)

Anti-gay protesters at the march carrying placards.

However, despite the obvious show of disapproval and condemnation, there was not an ounce of violence that was expressed or inflicted on anyone that night. There was a scuffle sometime before the program started, but other than that, the anti-gay protesters didn’t do much except scowl (and probably shout out the occasional, erm, insults and protests). Truthfully, any gay person in Malate last Saturday could have fought back or retaliated. We are, after all, being discriminated on. But no. There was just too much love and acceptance in the air. See! We are genteel creatures, full of gay and rainbow love!

I would love to see a Philippine chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) march with the rest of us in the years to come. While there were several straight supporters (friends and family members, I think) who marched, there is no local group that I know of whose primary goal is to help and show support to family members and friends of gays, lesbians, and transexuals. [Please correct me if I am mistaken. 🙂 ] I think when our heterosexual brothers and sisters finally march with us in unity, then we can say that we are indeed making progress as a gay- and lesbian-friendly society.

In other news, there were simultaneous marches happening around the country. I have no news as yet as to how those went but I suppose they were as successful as the one here in Manila.

Congratulations to Task Force Pride for again another job well done! 🙂

All photos courtesy of Libay Linsangan Cantor.

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