Ang Bayan Ngayon » 30th anniversary of Stonewall Manila, commemorated

June 29, 2024

The group Bahaghari marked the 30th anniversary of Stonewall Manila, the first ever march led by gays and lesbians in the Philippines and throughout Asia, on June 26. The occasion stemmed from the Stonewall Riots that took place in New York in 1969, which is considered a key event in the global LGBT+ rights movement.

In the Philippines, the Progressive Organization of Gays in the Philippines (ProGay) and the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) Manila spearheaded the advancement of LGBT rights at the time. In addition, they brought to their march the general struggle of the Filipino people, particularly the implementation of the value-added tax (VAT) and rising oil prices that greatly burdened the Filipino people.

“Since then, Pride celebration saw substantial growth with broader public support due to the formations of LGBTQ+ organizations across the country,” according to Bahaghari. “Despite this, members of the community still experience gender-based discrimination in schools, workplaces and other spaces.” The situation of LGBTQ+ remains deplorable, according to the group.

One of the major cases is the killing of Jennifer Laude by an American soldier and the issues it raised regarding the presence of US troops in the country under the Visiting Forces Agreement. The Laude case served as a catalyst for the formation of Bahaghari, a national-democratic organization of LGBTQ+ and the successor of the Pro-Gay organization.

“Like Pro-gay and LESBOND (Lesbians for National Democracy), we must aspire for a better society to promote LGBTQ+ rights and also to liberate the Filipino masses from oppression brought on by imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism,” the group said.

Among the calls of Bahaghari are the passage of a law against gender-based discrimination and violence and for the defense of the rights of LGBTQ+ in society; the abrogation of the VFA, EDCA, MDT and other unequal treaties between the Philippines and the US; the scrapping of neoliberal policies, such as charter change, that further open the country’s resources to foreigners; the end to the privatization of social services; and an independent foreign policy.

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