Bahaghari LGBT Organization is scheduled to hold a nationwide action called VAKLASH! on October 11, with chapters all over the Philippines holding events that will celebrate LGBT Pride, while also calling for justice for victims of hate crimes and injustices, just as the LGBT community marks the first year after the death of slain transgender woman Jennifer Laude.
Themed VAKLASH: LGBTQ Backlashing against Hate and Injustice, the center of the event will be held in Brgy. Carmona in Makati City (a.k.a. Vaklash Ground Zero), where a Pride march will be held, followed by a candle-lighting event. Simultaneous events will be held in Quezon Province, Baguio City, Iligan City, Cebu City and Iloilo City, amon others.
According to Aaron Bonette, Bahaghari LGBT Organization spokesperson and Outrage Magazine’s youth representative, the death of Laude “highlighted the continuing struggle of the LGBT community against discrimination and hate crimes; and for recognition, respect, and equality. But amid the renewed awareness, and the rage and clamor, the social change that we need, like the wheels of justice in Jennifer’s case, continues to move slowly.”
The events at Vaklash Ground Zero will start at 3:00PM, with an ecumenical service to be held at the barangay hall of Barangay Carmona in Makati City; it will be led by the Metropolitan Community Church of Quezon City. At 4:00PM, the Pride and liberation march will commence. It will culminate with a solidarity program.
The VAKLASH! nationwide protest organizers are composed of the Bahaghari LGBT Organization National Secretariats, Bahaghari LGBT Organization-National Capital Region, EU Bahaghari (Enverga University), Bahaghari LGBT Organization-MSU-IIT (Mindanao State University-Institute of), Bahaghari LGBT Organization-Baguio, GSA-SAGE (Student Alliance for Gender Equality) Network, SAGE University of San Carlos, and SAGE Western Visayas State University.
LGBT people and allies, particularly in areas where VAKLASH! will be held, are encouraged to attend.
“This callous indifference to our plight and our calls for justice and change must not be endured any longer. Only through collective action can we achieve our victory in fighting for our rights. Our community must come out to the streets and start a ‘vaklash’. It will be a ‘vaklash’ against hate and injustice. It will be a ‘vaklash’ against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. It will be a ‘vaklash’ against gender-related violence. It will be ‘vaklash’ against the lack of a national policy that will protect the rights of our community,” Bonette ended.
VAKLASH means LGBTQ rising up to fight discrimination, hate crimes and injustice. The word is derived from: 1) “vaklush”, the Filipino colloquial term for gay, and 2) “backlash”, which means strong and adverse reactions by a large number of people especially to social or political movement.