On Saturday, June 24, some 7,500 members of the LGBTQ+ community and their supporters gathered in Marikina City for this year’s Metro Manila Pride March and Festival. Colorful floats, people in rainbow-inspired clothes and accessories, and big and small rainbow flags set the happy and safe atmosphere. Most of all, the unity was palpable as curious spectators were welcomed to join the parade and as a group condemning the community were peacefully tolerated by organizers and participants.
Known as the longest running Pride March in Southeast Asia and now on its 23rd year, “Here Together”—“calling for the community, its allies, friends, family, and even strangers, to come together in a safe space to celebrate love, rights, and pride.”
Nicky Castillo, Co-Coordinator of Metro Manila Pride said in a statement, “At the Pride March and Festival, we provide people with a space where they can express their true selves without fear. But this year, we also want to call on the non-LGBTQ+ people who support us to stand up, speak out, and march on for us. Our voices have been loud these last 23 years. But in our campaign for equality, we need more voices. We need your voices.”
Metro Manila Pride also brought its #PassADB (Anti-Discrimination Bill) campaign on the forefront.
Co-coordinator Loreen Ordoño also told InterAksyon, “It’s important to have these voices standing here together with us because we can’t do it alone. The non-LGBT folks are our family members, co-workers, schoolmates, etc who can help us in the fight against discrimination, hate, and can also help us lobby for the passage of the bill into law. We need their voices.”
Marikina has been celebrating its own pride marches for the past years; this is the first time it is hosting the metro-wide march and festival. As such, organizers of the Metro Pride March praised Marikina as one of those cities helping to create a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community.
Here are more scenes at Saturday’s Metro Manila Pride March and Festival.