With the end of the month of May – considered as the month of the Virgin Mary – members of the LGBT community in Zamboanga City in Mindanao expressed their Marian devotion with Parada de Flores (Parade of Flowers), an event that also eyed to: 1) increase the awareness about LGBT people; and 2) increase the participation of LGBT constituents in the community via an event that “highlights unity, solidarity and equality.”
MUJER-LGBT Organization, LGBT-TUMAGA, TLC Organization (though Pilarcita Fonollera) and the barangay council of Tumaga (headed by Jaqueline Julian, Yolanda Enriquez and Jake Fabian) helmed the Santacruzan parade.
“We are here to eliminate if not alleviate the stigma of discrimination through proper education, information dissemination and the eradication of crab mentality among people,” said Alvin “Toni Gee” Fernandez of the MUJER-LGBT Organization.
LGBT participation in Santacruzan is a touchy issue for the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines, with the Catholic Bishops Conference in the Philippines (CBCP) earlier expressing their opposition of such events. However, as stressed by many from the LGBT community, heterosexual people do not have exclusive claim over Marian devotion.
The idea, in the end, even through small efforts such as this, is to “eventually deal with “the possibility of gender parity among sexes,” Fernandez ended.