After hosting its first city-wide Pride in March, Davao City held its second Pride for the year this June, this time within the downtown area, a first for the home of President-elect Rodrigo Roa Duterte and the first local government unit in Mindanao to have an anti-discrimination ordinance that protects the rights of minorities including members of the LGBT community.
While the earlier Pride was hosted by UP Mentefuwaley of the University of the Philippines-Mindanao, this second gathering was organized by DAKILA Davao.
According to Melissa Claire Barrera of DAKILA Davao, “our intention was to really expose the Davaoeños about the existence of the LGBTQI community, and also to forward the calls to end gender-based discrimination and uphold gender equality.”
For Barrera, Pride gatherings “are very important since, first, they unify the different LGBTQI organizations and other organizations that support the community. Second, they show our power in social movements. We are heard when we are united. Also, it becomes an avenue or platform to educate other people about the LGBTQI community – our struggles and stories and victories, as well.”
Ziekent dela Peña of the United Lesbians of Davao, which joined the gathering, said that Pride was an opportunity to show “nga nakighiusa mi aron sa atong panawagang (that we’re united in our call for) ‘No to discrimination! Yes to equality and civil union!’”
Astrid Joy Padillo, also of ULD, added that the event was “historical”; though now also a “great avenue to push for our calls for equality.”
But holding Pride – even if two were already held in a year – is but part of the ongoing LGBT struggle, according to Barrera.
“It’s a continuous fight and it must happen in all sectors of society,” Barrera said.
The plan now is to continue doing the annual Pride March within the city of Davao, though also strengthening the networks of LGBT organizations in the community.