Metro Manila Pride breaks records in Southeast Asia
MANILA, Philippines – Drawing a 25,000-strong crowd to this year's Pride March and Festival, Metro Manila Pride now stands as the largest and oldest Pride demonstration in Southeast Asia.
With the theme #RiseUpTogether, the Pride March was more than just about creating a safe space for the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) community on June 30.
According to Nicky Castillo, one of the coordinators of the march, this year's Pride March aimed to empower communities to start pushing for pro-LGBTQ+ policies and advocate social justice for all. (WATCH: Meet the sign language interpreters of Metro Manila Pride 2018)
In an interview with Rappler during the Pride March festivities, Castillo said they want to "teach others how to become better activists, allies, and advocates for the community."
This year's Pride March was estimated to have attracted 25,000 participants – a number that had nearly tripled since 2017.
"I think [the numbers tripled] because of the increasing access to information. The information spreads so it's easier to disseminate it. More and more people are talking about our rights like the SOGIE equality bill. Since these issues are in the news, people are more aware [of the LGBTQIA+ community]," she said.
Established in 1994, Metro Manila Pride has provided avenues for allies and members of the LGBT community to celebrate themselves and stage protests about relevant issues. (READ: Get the message: Signs that caught our eye during Metro Manila Pride 2018)
Metro Manila Pride said it will continue its advocacy beyond the march. "Even though Pride has ended, remember that the work doesn't end there. Our voices, our presence, and our actions need to carry on past Pride." – with reports from Samantha Bagayas and Angelica Yang/Rappler.com