Mindanao Pride's loud message in silent protest: 'Human rights for all'
MANILA, Philippines – Clad in black and carrying placards advocating for inclusivity, members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community in Mindanao were heard loud and clear even as they marched in silence on Sunday, December 22.
Veering away from the usual vibrant festivities that are expected of a Pride celebration, the 2019 Mindanao Pride March came in the form of a silent protest at the Rodelsa Circle in Cagayan de Oro City, where marchers wore black.
Mindanao Pride said the color signifies mourning for victims of violence, particularly hate crimes, who have not gotten any justice. It's also a representation of "those who were silenced and [are] continuously being gagged" for being "true to themselves."
While the protest is unlike other colorful Pride marches, Mindanao Pride said the peaceful and quiet mobilization stays true to its essence of helping advance the LGBTQ+ agenda.
Echoing the call "Tawhanong katungod sa tanang katawhan (Human rights for all people)," it highlighted the issues experienced by members of the LGBTQ+ community.
"Silence is the loudest way to protest, and [it] brings clarity and deeper understanding to the issues that we wish to put forward to the public," said Hamilcar Chanjueco Jr, founder of Mindanao Pride.
"But unfortunately, silence is also how the government and society answer to the community's problems, thus we are still on the side and excluded in decision- and policy-making processes," Chanjueco added.
Now on its second year, the Mindanao Pride March gathered LGBTQ+ advocates, human rights activists, and allies from the southern Philippines.
Through placards, they called for the passage of the sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (SOGIE) equality bill, and an anti-discrimination ordinance in Cagayan de Oro City.
According to organizers' estimates, more than 200 people joined the march.
Seeing the event as an opportunity to educate each other, the 2019 Mindanao Pride March culminated with a discussion on the issues involving the rights and welfare of the LGBTQ+ community.
Established in late 2017, Mindanao Pride pushes for the rights and welfare of the LGBTQ+ community in the region, while reinforcing the need to include their narratives in national conversations. – Rappler.com