In celebration of 20 years of standing up for equal rights through the annual Metro Manila Pride March, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community took to the streets in Malate, Manila on December 6th, joined by participants from Bulacan and Batangas, as well as straight allies, families, and friends, who marched along in support of equal rights and non-discrimination towards LGBT people.
This year’s march is a culmination of a three-month-long campaign launched by Task Force Pride (TFP), with the goal of paring down the LGBT movement to its core, which is love.
“In 1994, the Pride March was the first time that gay rights as a civil rights issue was ever tackled in such a public scale in the country. Every year since, LGBT people and those who support and love them come out to publicly and colorfully assert LGBT rights as human rights,” said Nicky H. Castillo, spokesperson of TFP.
For the last 20 years, the Metro Manila Pride March has been a large space to demonstrate the strength, vibrancy and resilience of the LGBT community. It began in 1994, the first of its kind in Asia, and has since been going strong, serving as a platform for the LGBT community in the Philippines to make their call for acceptance and equal rights heard.
This year, through the Metro Manila Pride March, TFP hoped to encourage more LGBT people to understand that they have a place to express who they truly are. “This year, we are also declaring Metro Manila Pride as a safe space for our friends and families to support the LGBT people they love,” Castillo said.
2014 involved a marked change in the way TFP has run the annual march. This year focused on sharing an informed perspective to the rest of the Filipino community and explaining that when it comes down to it, LGBT persons are part of our families and friends, are people we love and are people who are part of the rest of Philippine society.
“We need more than just one day to claim our space to celebrate our diversity and assert our rights,” Castillo said, explaining, “in addition to creating more spaces that positively promotes the diversity of our community. We also need to design a space that celebrates our wonderful straight allies, families, and friends.”
The organizations who participated in this annual march were Metropolitan Community Church Quezon City (MCC QC), Rainbow Rights Philippines, FEIST Magazine, Akei, Downelink Philippines, Equality Philippines, PinoyG4M, UP Babaylan, Proud to Be LGBT, Akbayan, Babaylanes, Bahaghari Advocacy Group, Bigger Manila, DAKILA Collective for Modern Heroism, Deaf Dykes United, EAGLE@IBM, ECOG, Filipino Freethinkers, GALANG Philippines, GANDA Filipinas, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Pinoy Deaf Queer, STRAP Manila, Kapederasyon, Kasimbayan UTC, Lesbian Alliance Bagbag, Ladlad, Lesbian Alliance Movement, MCC Makati, MCC Marikina, MCC Metro Baguio, Make Your Nanay Proud, One Bacardi, Pinoy Deaf Rainbow, Outrage Magazine, PATAS, Pinoy FTM, Pink Rockers, Queer Archers Alliance, Quezon City Pride Council, Spectrum, TLF Share, The Well, Trans Deaf Philippines, Trippers Philippines, Tiklop Society of the Philippines, United Philippine Amerasians, and UP College of Medicine One’s True Nature. Also present were contingents from the Commission on Human Rights, the Philippine Commission on Women, and the National Youth Commission. A complete list of participants can be found at www.bit.ly.com/TheyCameOutForLove.
This year’s message focuses on coming out for love and understanding. It emphasizes that the call for equal rights and non-discrimination come from, ultimately, a deep love for our family members who may be LGBT and our fellow Filipinos as a whole.
The 2014 Metro Manila Pride March is organized by Task Force Pride in partnership with Hewlett-Packard PRIDE, TELUS International, Brooklyn’s Pizza; with special thanks to Tripda.
“In the end, we want the send the message that the core of the LGBT advocacy is love. LGBT people, their friends, their families, and their supporters came out to march to assert that we are here for each other, calling for the recognition of our right to love, our freedom to love, and for the people we love. Because when it comes down to it, Pride is all about love,” Castillo ended.