The United States Embassy in Manila celebrated Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month with a reception in Cebu. Hosted by the US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip S. Goldberg, this marks the first time the reception was held in Cebu, a pioneer in advancing LGBT rights in the Philippines, passing the country’s first-ever anti-discrimination ordinance in 2012.
Over 100 guests attended the reception, including leading LGBT rights activists, government officials, local business leaders, and friends and allies of the LGBT community.
In his welcome message, Goldberg reiterated the US’s commitment to support the Philippines in the advancement of LGBT equity. “We firmly believe that human rights are universal – meaning that gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights. We stand with you in seeking tolerance, respect, and the freedom to express yourselves without fear,” he said.
During the reception, Goldberg also highlighted the ongoing work of the “Being LGBT in Asia” project spearheaded by the United States Agency for International Development. This project has been instrumental in encouraging networking between LGBT people across the Asia-Pacific region, developing an understanding of the capacity of LGBT organizations to engage in policy dialogue, and spurring community mobilization. The project also led to the writing of a national report on the plight of LGBT people in the Philippines, among other countries; the Philippines report was done by Michael David C. Tan of Outrage Magazine.
While in Cebu, Goldberg also met with Cebu Governor Hilario Davide, the president and students of the University of San Jose Recoletos, the American Chamber of Commerce Cebu, and local HIV and LGBT groups.
The LGBT Pride Month reception is a tradition of the US Embassy Manila, in solidarity with the international community, in upholding and protecting the rights of LGBT persons around the world.