BAGUIO CITY — The homosexual community in the city along with their families and supporters proudly paraded around the city’s central business district in rainbow colors last July 20.
Clad in their most flamboyant outfits, about 250 members of the Baguio Pride Network (BPN) holding colorful placards celebrated unprecedented openness and marched down Session Road and Magsaysay Avenue to show their pride despite discrimination by society.
“This is to signify our unified call for the end of discrimination against us lesbians, gays, bi-sexuals and trans-genders (LGBT),” said Julie Palaganas of the Lesbians for National Democracy (Lesbond).
“Majority of us come from the exploited and oppressed classes in society, but besides the common economic and social problems that we encounter, we are further burdened by a particular form of oppression called homophobia or the irrational fear and hatred of homosexuals, which is a result of ignorance and fear,” added Palaganas.
According to Palaganas the rainbow icon is used by the international LGBT communities to symbolize the freedom of sexual choice and gender identity and their inherent right as human beings and they therefore should not hide and deny who they truly are.
Friends and families
The pride parade was also participated by friends and families advocating for LGBT rights.
Holding a placard saying “I love my lesbian tita,” a 13-year old student Candy Caoili paraded with her lesbian aunt.
“I really love my tita whatever she is and I owe it to her because she has been teaching me not to be homophobic ever since I could remember,” Caoili said.
“I am here to support the calls of the gays and lesbians for equal rights. They are also human beings and part of society and should be accepted,” said Baguio City Councilor Elaine Sembrano adding that she did not have any second thoughts in attending the parade.
Meanwhile, Mia Rasalan who was raised by a lesbian aunt emotionally shared her experience during the program at the People’s Park.
“I was raised by a tomboy aunt with her partner and I am proud of it,” said Rasalan in her speech.
Local and international support
Windel Bolinget of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) and other members of progressive and militant peoples organizations in Baguio City also paraded with the homosexuals as part of the International League of Peoples Struggle (ILPS).
According to Bolinget the ILPS discussed the issues of the LGBTs in the recently held assembly in Hong Kong attended by international people’s organizations, non-government organizations and individuals.
“It is known as ILPS’ concern #18 and during that assembly we were able to come up with a resolution to uphold LGBT rights and fight against discrimination, intolerance and homophobia,” said Bolinget.
“ILPS adheres to the justness of the struggle of the peoples’ movement for the attainment of a society free from all forms of exploitation, oppression and discrimination. CPA as a member of ILPS joins forces with people who struggle for a free society, where every individual can be productive forces of society and reach for one’s full humanity regardless of one’s sexuality,” he added.
Palaganas said the LGBT group would be holding a similar activity every year.
The parade was followed by a pride party at the City Tavern with games, creative performances and awards. # Cye Reyes