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Raise Your Flag: PRIDE in the Philippines

Nowadays, June is known as Pride Month, or Gay Pride, which is the time people celebrate the lives, rights, and achievements of everyone in the LGBTQ+ community. This month is a time of joy and celebration filled with parades, workshops, seminars, parties, and more. Even Filipinos don’t skip out on Pride Month as both organizations and individuals alike dedicate June to the LGBTQ+ community in the Philippines. However, how did Pride Month come to be, and why is it so important to people all over the world, including Filipinos?

The History of Pride Month

The origins of Pride Month started in New York City on June 28, 1969. It began when police raided and arrested employees and patrons of Stonewall Inn, a bar for LGBTQ+ individuals. However, both patrons and bystanders fought back against the police since the LGBTQ+ community were tired of the harassment they faced from them for years. This event became known as the Stonewall Uprising which became the catalyst for the LGBTQ+ movement in America. Since then, LGBTQ+ activism became more prominent in the country as protests were held against authorities and politicians, and organizations were made to promote LGBTQ+ rights (Archie & Griggs, 2022; Wallenfeldt, 2022).

On June 28, 1970, a march was held to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising which became the world’s first Pride March. This march was not mainly a political movement; rather, it was a celebration of love and acceptance of one’s own identity. This one-day event of LGBTQ+ pride evolved into a monthlong one, becoming the Pride Month we know today (Wallenfeldt, 2022).

Pride Month in the Philippines

The Philippines started celebrating Pride Month on June 26, 1994. Members of the Progressive Organization of Gays-Philippines and the Metropolitan Community Church held a Pride March advocating for the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals and a Pride Mass right after. This became the first Pride March not only in country, but also in all of Asia (Cruz, 2016).

Pride Month in the Philippines has continued to serve that purpose in which it is both a celebration of sexual identity and a form of activism to promote the rights of those in the community. The event now has several activities involving people from different sectors. The celebration aspect of the event includes concerts and performances featuring artists, drag performers, and beauty queens, film viewings, and art exhibits on LGBTQ+ subjects. On the other hand, the activism aspect includes marches wherein participants hold up placards containing political statements. There are also speeches and calls to action from members of LGBTQ+ organizations that are about pertinent socio-economic. Participants come from many walks of life such as members of the church and indigenous groups (Florendo, 2022; Manila Metro Pride 2023, 2023).

LGBTQ+ Related Issues in the Philippines

Even though the Philippines is more accepting of the LGBTQ+ community compared to other countries, there are still several issues concerning them. For one, members of the community still face discrimination from different sectors, whether it be at home, school, work, or other public spaces (Cruz, 2016; Custodio, 2019; Hapal, 2023). This discrimination has led to bullying, harassment, and exclusion from the people around them including family members, teachers, and peers. In other cases, there have been hate crimes and gender-based violence against them as well (Custodio, 2019; Florendo, 2022). While there are policies and laws in place that are meant to protect them, they are insufficient since there are no clear guidelines or procedures for LGBTQ+ related issues (Custodio, 2019). Furthermore, the SOGIE equality bill has yet to be made into a law after more than 20 years (Hapal, 2023).

The Importance of Pride

Pride month is not just a celebration of one’s identity. It is also a way to seek support and communion with others. It is a medium for people to speak out on issues against the LGBTQ+ community in order to raise awareness on these pertinent concerns and call the government and authorities to action. Through Pride Month, LGBTQ+ individuals may feel that they do matter and that they may be uplifted and empowered against discrimination and exclusion. Both members within and outside the LGBTQ+ community can come together to promote love and acceptance and strive for a more inclusive culture where people can be free to be themselves.

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Archie, A., & Griggs, B. (2022, June 1). It’s Pride Month. Here’s what you need to know. CNN Health.

Cruz, T. (2016, June 25). Pride in the first Pride March. Pressreader.

Custodio, I. (2019). Commission on Human Rights.

Florendo, O. (2022, June 29). IN PHOTOS: Scenes from Metro Manila Pride 2022. CNN Philippines.

Hapal, D. K. (2023, February 11). In fight for equal rights, queer Filipinos build communities on social media. Rappler.

Manila Metro Pride 2023. (2023). Gayout.

Wallenfeldt, J. (2022, May 27). Why is Pride Month celebrated in June?. Encyclopedia Britannica.

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