The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) community of the Cordilleras marked its 11th Pride.
Assembled by the Amianan Pride Council, and led by the University of the Philippines (UP) Baguio student council, this year’s gathering celebrated legal progress made vis-à-vis anti-discrimination – in February, Baguio City passed a local anti-discrimination ordinance five years after it was first filed, and fines up to P5,000 government or private employees who obstruct a person’s access to work, accommodations, public services or even political undertakings because of his or her SOGIE; and in September, House Bill No. 4982 (or the SOGIE Equality Bill) passed the House of Representatives.
Themed “Itultuloy ken Iballigi: Struggle for Human Rights & Equality“, this year’s gathering wanted to emphasize that “we will continue, we will carry on to win/triumph,” said Gregory Rugby, former head of the Amianan Pride Council.
For Rugay, despite these achievements made for and by the LGBTQIA community, “as long as we have not achieved full human rights and equality, Pride marches will always be relevant. While we celebrate victories won by our years of work… we can not deny that many of us are still suffering the brunt of stigma and discrimination.”
Among the other issues that this year’s Baguio Pride also wanted to highlight are “the continuing lack of anti-discrimination policies in other parts of the country that leave our brothers and sisters vulnerable to homophobic atrocities without protection of law, issues of bullying which still needs to be addressed, religious bigotry and religious chauvinism that will always be a threat to total equality, body shaming which many homosexuals are victims not only from the heterosexual community but from our very own ranks as well, and lack of legal protection afforded to people in same-sex relationships.”
“We may have been unofficially recognized and tolerated, but we could never actually say that we are accepted if we do not enjoy the same rights as others. So the work continues, and we will go on marching, making Pride always relevant to those who value human rights and equality,” Rugay ended.