Not even a festering pandemic will stop Filipinos from finding ways to celebrate Pride during the colorful month of 2021.
Reiterating that Pride celebration is a protest, this year's Metro Manila Pride (MMP) is staging several online activities to bring attention to the rising cases of LGBTQ+ discrimination and human rights violations during the pandemic. MMP is Southeast Asia’s largest Pride festival.
With its 2021 theme “SULONG, VAKLASH! Sama-samang Pag-aklas Ang Ating Lunas,” MMP aims to highlight calls for gender equality and intersectional solidarity through their initiatives during Pride month.
“VAKLASH'' is a play on the word “pagbaklas” or dismantling the system that oppresses the LGBTQ+ community and other minority groups. Several organizations, including Philippine Anti-Discrimination Alliance of Youth Leaders (PANTAY) Pilipinas and Bahaghari, have also adopted the call in their own this month.
Similar to last year, MMP will be staging its annual Pride march and festival online. It is set June 26, a Saturday.
Leading up to the virtual event are several activities focused on celebrating queer creators, raising discussions on LGBTQ+ issues, and even teaching how to make protest art.
Check out MMP’s activities below:
Other groups are also hosting a diverse array of events that you can join to celebrate Pride.
Under its #UMatter campaign, LoveYourself will stage two main events celebrating queer artists and performers, as well as seek solutions to the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
From June 3 to 4, it will hold a forum on regional solutions for HIV health care in collaboration with International AIDS Society.
Invited speakers include health experts and officials from the World Health Organization, UNAIDS, the Philippine Department of Health, and other health organizations around the world. HIV healthcare community workers and advocates from Southeast Asia, including Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach and Miss Trans Global 2020 Miss Mela Habijan, will also join the event. To join, sign up at bit.ly/IASxLYSymposium.
This will be followed by its #PrideStartsWithU concert on June 5, from 4 to 6 pm. The diverse concert line-up stars drag performers and queer artists, including Popster Bench, the drag queen behind the ‘Tala’ sensation. It is co-presented by Spaces MNL, the Philippine Financial & Inter-Industry Pride, Accenture, and P&G. It will be streamed on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/174006317972844.
UP Babaylan is accepting letters for their 2021 edition of Pride Letters, a safe space where queers can send their message to all queer people, queer youth, closeted queers, trans people, any other group within the LGBTQ+ community, and even their families and friends. Send your #PrideLetters here: tinyurl.com/prideletters2021.
In light of recent cases of LGBTQ+ discrimination, UPLB Babaylan will hold an online conference on the LGBTQ+ situation in Southern Tagalog on Monday, June 7. Moreover, a virtual candle lighting rally to commemorate LGBTQ+ victims of violence will be held on June 24. It will later hold the Southern Tagalog Pride March on Monday, June 28. You may watch the event livestreams on the Southern Tagalog Pride Facebook page.
You may also view a wide range of queer artists’ artworks from photographs, illustrations to stories, and poems in the fifth edition of UPLB Babaylan’s Pride Series exhibition on their Facebook page.
Bahaghari will be leading two education discussions aimed to dispel misconceptions that queer individuals cannot be religious. On June 15, Bahaghari will discuss and debunk the Clobber Passages, which are scriptures in the Christian bible that are commonly used to denounce homosexuality, via a Twitter Spaces session.
It will be followed by a Google Meet webinar on June 23, which will focus on the relationship between LGBTQ+ and religion. The session will also be livestreamed on Bahaghari’s Facebook page. Sign up here to join the sessions.
Watch Pride masterpieces such as Miss Bulalacao by Ara Chawdhury, Ang Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita by Sigrid Andrea P. Bernardo, and French film Portrait of a Lady on Fire in the second edition of PelikuLAYA, an LGBTQ+ film festival led by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP). The now-yearly initiative will run until June 30 and can be accessed for a monthly fee of P99.
Register and subscribe at www.fdcpchannel.ph to view their diverse offerings of Filipino films and Pride selections.
FDCP will also hold four diverse panel discussions on the experience of Filipino LGBTQ+ in media and society. There will be four film talks available for viewing across FDCP platforms from June 12 to 17:
Aside from movies and talks, the FDCP will also host the “Yo, Gay!” drag yoga session on June 20, where participants can also get a chance to win special prizes.
The celebration will be formally closed with a program titled “Awra!: Mga Awit at Rampa para sa Ating Makulay na Komunidad” on June 30 at 7 pm.
The closing program will feature a musical performance, a fashion show from members of the LGBTQ+ community, and a free one-time screening of the restored version of LGBTQ+ cult hit “T-Bird at Ako'' starring Nora Aunor and Vilma Santos, as presented by the ABS-CBN Film Restoration Program.
This year’s UP Diliman Pride is themed “#SamaAllPantayAll: Sumusulong, Yumayabong Ang Pride sa Panahon ng Pandemya" in recognition of the continuing fight for equal rights amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
To kick off UP Diliman Pride, the UP Diliman Gender Office (UPDGO) and the Open Table Metropolitan Community Church will host a webinar on the SOGIE Equality Bill and Freedom of Religion on June 19, to be livestreamed on Zoom and their Facebook page. The UPDGO will also host an online protest and celebration program on June 25, to be broadcasted on their Facebook page.
Other events hosted by UPD units can be found here:
In line with MMP’s #SulongVAKLASH rallying cry, Philippine Anti-Discrimination Alliance of Youth Leaders (PANTAY Pilipinas) will be hosting “#DASERV: The LGBTQ+ Reclaiming Political Spaces” on Wednesday, June 23. It aims to encourage the LGBTQ+ community to participate in the upcoming elections and engage with government.
In partnership with YouthResist through its Democracy Academy Online, this event will be attended by queer figures in politics and law. #DASERV is part of the Equality Initiatives Program of PANTAY Pilipinas, which aims to emphasize the importance of political spaces to the LGBTQ+ community and the relevance of LGBTQ+ representation in policy-making and governance.
The LGBT Psychology Special Interest Group of the Psychological Association of the Philippines will host a webinar on Friday, June 25, aiming to debunk misconceptions surrounding conversion therapy by sharing evidence-based perspectives on the matter, as well as LGBTQ-affirmative practices.
Titled “Love Needs No Treatment or Repair,” the webinar will feature a talk from Nadine Nakamura, a professor at the University of La Verne’s Department of Psychology and co-chair of the American Psychological Association Task Force for Revising the Professional Practice Guidelines for Working with Sexual Minority Clients. She will be joined by reactors from the Ateneo de Manila University, Philippine Guidance and Counseling Association, and UP Babaylan.
Illongos and other allies can also join JCI Metro Iloilo Dinagyang’s “Chukchakan” discussion on sex, gender, and discrimination on Saturday, June 26, at 1 pm.
Justin Francis Bionat of Youth Voices Count will discuss the salient provisions of the SOGIE Equality Bill, while Rogie Balino of Amplify Youth Academy and Advocacy Center will dissect issues on sex and gender amid the pandemic.
The webinar is in partnership with the UP Visayas College of Management Student Council, West Visayas State University (WVSU) Development Communicators’ Society, WVSU Forum Dimensions, and the Iloilo Pride Team.
To encourage healthy queer discourse, newly-formed youth group Pride in the Streets is hosting a webinar titled “QUEERERASURE: A Discourse on LGBTQ+ Misrepresentation” on Friday, June 25, from 3 to 6 pm.
The discussion will dissect the misrepresentation and trivialization of queer stories, misleading public acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community, and exclusion of trans narratives in media and public spaces.
Learn more about sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) with Amber Quiban, Director for Policy and Campaigns of PANTAY Pilipinas, in APC Bahaghari’s webinar titled “BEKIbulary: Ang Chika ng mga Badet!”
The webinar will be held on Microsoft Teams on Wednesday, June 30, 5 pm. Register here to join the event.
Join various LGBTQ+ influencers from Mindanao as they discuss queer issues and talk about their own stories about love on Wednesday, June 30, at 8 pm. Among the speakers are Pia Paolo, Tifanny Sambaan, Jason Naps, Mackie Verga, Prince Salva, and Kirk Virtudazo Popiolek.
On the last day of Pride Month, Bahagsari UP Manila, Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) Kasarianlan, and Benilde Hive will host a forum on the recently passed Manila anti-discrimination ordinance.
The forum aims to educate students, employees, and Manileños about SOGIE and gender rights. It will be hosted through Zoom on Wednesday, June 30 from 2 to 5 pm.
Joven Jacolbia is a Rappler volunteer studying organizational communication at the University of the Philippines Manila (UPM). He is editor-in-chief of Assortedge Media and Research and Education Head of Bahagsari UPM.