The LGBT community of the Cordilleras as well as their allies marked the 10th Baguio LGBT Pride, right after the world marks World AIDS Day on December 1 and before the International Human Rights Day on December 10.
Themed “Celebrating a Decade that is #AllForLoveAndPride”, the event was organized by the Amianan Pride Council (APC), an advocacy network of various LGBT organizations, straight allies and business establishments in Baguio City. It was formed to organize the Baguio LGBT Pride Parade in 2015; and this year, Amnesty International Philippines spearheaded APC.
According to Gregory Rugay of the Metropolitan Community Church Metro Baguio (MCCMB), member organization of APC, while this is the 10th Baguio Pride march, it is only in recent years that it has gained traction, as more members of the LGBT community finally came out to show their solidarity.
“The community is finally coming out and making a statement as (one),” Rugay said, adding that this is important since “we want to be visible and we want our voice to be heard.”
This year’s gathering was, for Rugay, particularly significant because it was joined not only by members of the LGBT community, but by other groups that also experienced discrimination, including differently-abled people, Indigenous Peoples, youths and senior citizens.
“Kailangan ipagpatuloy ito (This needs to be continued) because finding our voice and making ourselves visible is just part of the work that we have to do,” Rugay said.
In Baguio City, the anti-discrimination ordinance introduced by Vice Mayor Edison Bilog is still being heard in the city council, and “while we are still awaiting for its passage, we won’t stop until society and the law see us as equals. We need to educate our ranks about our rights and the importance and benefits of equality. We also need to raise awareness about problems that affect LGBT individuals and the community itself; encourage them to help solve and do something about those challenges,” Rugay ended.
As an offshoot of this year’s Pride, the first-ever “Pride Boat” is now available at Burnham Lake, conveying messages on the push for rights of LGBT Filipinos.
ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF UP BABAYLAN-BAGUIO CHAPTER