The LGBTQIA+ community will once again raise their rainbow flags with RISE UP TOGETHER, the 2018 Metro Manila Pride March and Festival on June 30, 2018 at the Marikina Sports Center. Now on its 24th year, the community and its allies are invited to gather and march together for solidarity across sectors to affect societal and policy change.
This year’s march and festival theme is RISE UP TOGETHER—a call for its community members and allies, friends, family, and colleagues, to work together for policy change and Pride.
Explaining the transition from the event’s 2017 theme, Mikhail Quijano, co-head of the organization’s Communications and Campaigns Committee states that “#HereTogether was a call for the community to unite. It was a call for hope and solidarity, and to feel good in the presence of each other. Now that we have come together, it’s time to #RiseUpTogether, to learn and move together to affect change and policy.”
For the second year in a row the event will be held in Marikina City. The local government prides itself in being an LGBTQIA+ friendly city, with City Mayor Marcelino Teodoro throwing the full support of his office behind the event.
As the first Pride March in Southeast Asia, and the second ever in the continent, the Metro Manila Pride March and Festival aims to empower and invigorate LGBTQIA+ people by celebrating the growing community and equipping them with the tools and knowledge to become better advocates.
“Pride is a protest and a celebration. We celebrate because this is one of the few spaces where anyone, regardless of their SOGIE, can live their truths freely without fear. We protest because it is one of the largest platforms available to us where we can bring attention to issues that matter the most to the community,” adds Quijano.
This year’s March and Festival continues its call for the passage of the SOGIE Equality Bill, as well as cultivating among the community and its allies, an environment of advocacy, learning, and empathy for LGBTQIA+ people and all marginalized sectors.
Discrimination biggest issue for LGBTQIA+ community as support for SOGIE Equality Bill grows
In an survey conducted at last year’s Metro Manila Pride March and Festival by Rainbow Rights Philippines in partnership with Metro Manila Pride, findings showed that more than half of the LGBTQIA+ respondents experienced discrimination because of SOGIE. Of the 400 attendees surveyed, an overwhelming 98% expressed their support for the passage of the SOGIE Equality Bill, a measure that seeks to penalize discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
“At this year’s Pride March and Festival, we continue our call for the Senate to pass the SOGIE Equality Bill. This legislation protects people from SOGIE-based discrimination in crucial areas like employment, education, health care, and many others,” says Nicky H. Castillo, President and Co- Coordinator of Metro Manila Pride. “These protections are needed by all LGBTQIA+ people but is
especially urgent for marginalized LGBTQIA+ individuals because they are the most susceptible to these abuses.”
Aside from calling for the passage of the bill, the organization also calls for the community and its allies to advocate more for the even more marginalized sectors within the LGBTQIA+ community.
“Pride is for everyone. Every year since 1994, we march for the people who came before us, for those who can’t, and for those who stand with us today,” continues Castillo. “But as we grow bigger and as inequalities persist, Pride needs to be more about the most vulnerable among us. With #RiseUpTogether, we want to talk more about the issues within the community—the poor, the Indigenous People, the Persons with Disability, and other marginalized LGBTQIA+ persons. To truly #RiseUpTogether, we need to stand up for the most silenced among the silenced.”
This year’s festival will open at 12 noon with the Proud Street Fair, an open marketplace for LGBTQIA-owned businesses, followed by an afternoon of performances and solidarity speeches from participating organizations. The welcome address will be delivered by Marikina City Mayor Marcelino Teodoro, who has graciously hosted the historic event for two years in a row. Lagablab LGBT Pilipinas, a network of Filipino LGBTQ organizations, individuals, and allies that are at the forefront of campaigning for the passage of the SOGIE Equality Bill, is scheduled to deliver the Keynote Speech. The 2-hour Pride March proper begins at 4PM, and will be followed by a post- march evening program filled with various dance, drag, and musical performances.
Metro Manila Pride is a volunteer-managed, non-partisan, non-profit organization, dedicated to creating safer spaces for the LGBTQIA+ community. With a growing group made up of people from various walks of life, Metro Manila Pride remains dedicated to creating a future where the Filipino LGBTQIA+ community is empowered, respected, and able to live without discrimination and prejudice based on their SOGIE. For more information, visit their website at www.mmpride.org or email them at [email protected].