As the LGBT community observes Pride month this June, the US Embassy community in Manila joined participants of the #Loveis Facebook campaign to show support for equal rights. Activities included chalk art, and the unveiling of the rainbow flag in the Embassy compound.
On May 29th, US President Barack Obama proclaimed June 2015 as LGBT Pride Month. Obama noted that “all people deserve to live with dignity and respect, free from fear and violence, and protected against discrimination, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.”
The same Obama proclamation, nonetheless, noted that “too many individuals continue to encounter discrimination and unfair treatment.”
Discriminatory acts/unfair treatments include: conversion therapy for minors even if the overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that it can cause substantial harm; bullying and harassment in classrooms; finding welcoming and affordable housing; and the disproportionate burden HIV has on communities of gay and bisexual men and transgender women.
Obama stressed the need to champion protections and support for LGBT persons around the world because “we know LGBT rights are human rights.”
The relationship of the US Embassy in Manila with the LGBT community in the Philippines was recently highlighted when 26-year-old transgender woman Jennifer Laude was found dead in a motel in Olongapo City, Philippines, with the primary suspect in her killing an American, Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton. The Embassy has, however, been observing Pride in the country by hosting an annual Pride reception; just as it has been pushing for the inclusion of LGBT issues in its policies and programming.