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30th anniversary of Stonewall Manila, first Pride march in Asia-Pacific marked

Many of the leaders of the first Pride in the Philippines, including Mama Allan Tolosa and Fr. Richard Mickley, have since passed away. “But their memory lives on through us. We, the newer generations of LGBTQI+ Filipinos, are challenged to follow their example. We must speak out on issues plaguing Filipinos today,” Bahaghari stated.

National LGBTQI+ alliance Bahaghari marked the 30th anniversary of Stonewall Manila, the first Pride march in Asia-Pacific.

On June 26, 1994, ProGay Philippines and Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) in the Philippines helmed a march in Quezon City. Dubbed as “Stonewall Manila” or as “Pride Revolution”, it was held in remembrance of the Stonewall Inn Riots and coincided with a bigger march against the imposition of the Value Added Tax (VAT). This has the distinction of being the first Pride-related march in Asia and the Pacific.

“The organizers of Stonewall Manila from the ProGay and the MCC correctly and rightfully identified that LGBTQI+ issues are people’s issues,” said Reyna Valmores, the transgender chairperson of Bahaghari. “Stonewall Manila was a march for equality and against discrimination, but it was also a march against high prices of oil and against the imposition of value added tax, both of which are a cause of suffering for ordinary Filipinos, including the LGBTQI+ community.”

For Bahaghari, issues of importance include saying “NO to harmful policies like Charter Change and the construction of foreign military sites”, as well as saying ” Let us march together and say “YES to a SOGIE Equality Law, YES to higher wages for all regardless of gender, YES to the defense of our sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea.”

“The situation of LGBTQ+ Filipinos echoes the situation of ordinary Filipinos, especially those in the marginalized sectors. Pride must be a call to action for the community that when united, the people in power have no choice but to listen to. Narito tayo hindi lamang para idagdag ang boses sa lumalaking panawagang ipasa ang isang pambansang batas laban sa diskriminasyon, kundi para rin tumindig kasama ng malawak na masang Pilipino na nangangarap magkaroon ng isang Pilipinas na walang pagsasamantala at walang maiiwan sa laylayan,” concluded Valmores.

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