Each year more and more people seem to join, a Manila-based friend said to me as we looked on at the LGBT Pride March last Saturday. Crowds filled the intersection of Tomas Morato and Scout Lozano in Quezon City, as marchers assembled under a breezy afternoon sky.
A woman walked past wearing a placard that read, “Tomboy Love;” another woman held a sign above her head, “Freethinkers for Fabulousness!” and a car rolled down the street with a banner out the window: Jesus Loves Everyone. A contingent of men marched under the Akbayan banner with the message: Straight Men Support Gay Rights.
Some progress is being made in the Philippines, though discrimination is still pervasive and a conservative Catholic ethos permeates daily life. Earlier this year, the LGBT political party, Ang Ladlad, headed by Danton Remoto and some 25,000 strong, participated in national elections for the first time. Global Post reported on it here.
But much work is ahead, as groups such as Amnesty International and Akbayan reminded people at the Saturday march, which also drew attention to World AIDS Day. The Philippines has a relatively low prevalence of HIV cases, however, as the Philippine Star points out, nearly a fifth of the cases since 1984 were reported this year alone.
The annual march is organized by Task Force Pride. Some of the other groups at the march included the Rainbow Rights Project, University of the Philippines’ Babaylan and The Society of Transexual Women of the Philippines.