Gays and lesbians in Baguio City held a colorful parade to signify their call to end discrimination against them. Homophobia is the result of ignorance and fear, the group said.
BY CYE REYES
Posted by Bulatlat
Volume VIII, Number 25, July 27-August 2, 2008
BAGUIO CITY (246 kms. north of Manila) – The homosexual community in the city, along with their families and supporters proudly, paraded around the city’s central business district in rainbow colors, 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.
Julie Palaganas of the Lesbians for National Democracy (Lesbond) said, “This is to signify our unified call for the end of discrimination against us lesbians, gays, bi-sexuals and trans-genders (LGBT).”
Palaganas said, “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.”
Palaganas said that 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.
Baguio City Councilor Elaine Sembrano who attended the parade 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.”
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 [lesbian] 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 people’s organizations in Baguio City also joined the parade as part of the contingent of the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS).
Bolinget related that the ILPS discussed the issues of the LGBTs in the recently held assembly in Hong Kong. “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 a productive force in society and can reach one’s full humanity regardless of one’s sexuality,” he added.
The parade was followed by a pride party at the City Tavern with games, creative performances and awards. (Bulatlat.com)