“Are these electoral candidates part of the rainbow? Are they going to stand up for LGBT rights as human rights and not as special rights?”
By BETTINA CATLI and BRUCE KYLE MALLO
MANILA – A multitude of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) gathered at the monument of Lapu-Lapu in Rizal Park to celebrate the 21st Metro Manila Pride March, calling out their fight for human rights and for love.
“The theme ‘fight for love’ is a call to all those who have loved ones who are members of the LGBT. Last year was a call to ‘come out for love’ but this year we call them to join the ranks and fight for their love, for the right to love, because all must enjoy this right and privilege in the country,” said Red Macalalad, head of Task Force Pride (TFP).
This year’s Pride March was specially jubilant, with the June 26 historic decision by the US Supreme Court declaring that same-sex marriage is a right of Americans.
The Filipino LGBT community, however, still face discrimination and violation of human rights. Various LGBT organizations did not only join to ‘fight for love’ but also against discrimination.
“It’s a fusion of many LGBT organizations to demonstrate our unity in calling for the government to recognize LGBTs totally and fully. The government should not be silent anymore when it comes to LGBT rights,” Macalalad said.
Among the groups that joined the march were Ladlad, UP Babaylan, and Kapederasyon. Some groups showed solidarity with the Tanduay workers who remain on strike.
“There are workers in the corporation who are transgender and gay, and they have been removed from their jobs unceremoniously. That is why Kapederasyon will not remain silent about this kind of issue,” Aian Perucho of Kapederasyon said.
The group said that they marched to show solidarity, and to encourage other LGBT groups to struggle against injustice, such as the hate-crimes and discrimination because of their gender identity and sexual orientation, citing the case of Jennifer Laude.
“We will never forget the Aquino administration because when one of ours had fallen, he did not do anything to give Jennifer justice,” Perucho added.
Macalalad also criticized the delay in the passing of the anti-discrimination bill which has been long overdue in the eyes of many. The bill had been filed during the 11th congress and has been re-filed during the 16th congress.
“These people who are positioning for candidacy in the elections, we must ask ourselves, are they the type of leaders who are pushing for equality and human rights? Is their understanding of human rights something to be equally enjoyed by many or only by the chosen few?” Macalalad said.
Macalalad expressed hope that the declaration of same-sex marriage as a right in the US may one day come true in the Philippines as well.
“The Philippines is a signatory of the International Declaration of Human Rights, and I think that all must understand what it really means that all of us have rights. We should process and talk about this as a people,” Macalalad said.