BAGUIO CITY -- REP. Teddy Casiño joined lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activists community from this city and the Cordillera in the region’s fifth June LGBT Pride celebration with calls for the passage of the Anti-Discrimination Bill authored by the Bayan Muna congressman.
The annual pride event was spearheaded by the Baguio Pride Network, an alliance of various LGBT groups and individuals, as the culmination of month-long activities to commemorate the 42nd anniversary of the Stonewall riots that led to the global LGBT rights movement. With the theme “Live. Love. Be. Justice Today, Equality Forever.” the Grand Pride Parade snaked through the city streets under the monsoon rains.
Rep. Casiño praised the LGBT communities in the Cordillera for pushing for equal rights and said that the local movement was one of the inspirational factors that led him to file House Bill 1483 in Congress that would outlaw discriminatory acts against Filipino LGBTs.
Cye Reyes of the Baguio Pride Network said that the main aims of this year’s Grand Pride Parade include the implementation of better legal and social environment for the Cordillera LGBTs because of the increasing incidences of discrimination in the region’s schools and workplaces. The group cited the need to push for a local version of Casiño’s bill in the city council.
The Baguio Pride Network also issued a press statement expressing outrage at Bishop Carlito Cenzon’s attack on homosexual couples who recently wed in religious ceremonies in the city.
“While we commend Bishop Cenzon for taking a principled stand against casinos and mining in the Cordillera, we take exception to his statements about gay and lesbian couples seeking religious blessings. LGBTs, whether single or in committed relationships, are hardworking productive members of society who provide valuable financial and emotional support to Filipino families.”
The BPN alliance asked Cenzon to focus his moral indignation instead on more pressing issues such as low wages, corruption in government, and political oppression.
Newcomers to the Pride parade include student members from ProGay Laguna who said joining the parade for the first time was an exhilarating experience for young LGBTs. Jan Erik Abay, a student leader of the University of the Philippines in Los Banos, said that it is important that Pride parades be done in different communities all over the Philippines to combat homophobia, so that young LGBTs can find safe spaces to express their sexual orientation and gender identity.
Human rights and civic organizations led by the Cordillera People’s Alliance and groups from Manila and other cities of Luzon threw their support behind Baguio Pride Network and pledged to campaign for the Anti-Discrimination Act. ###