CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – “This is not just a march, this is our protest for equality and rights,” said Hamilcar Chanjueco, Jr., the founder of Mindanao Pride as he took the stage of the first Kadaiyahan Festival held Sunday, December 9, here.
“This is not to show how colorful our communities are. We protest for our rights against discrimination,” Chanjueco said.
Kadaiyahan is the Visayan word for diversity and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) community. The LGBTQI are at the forefront of fighting for acceptance, not just tolerance in Philippine society.
Nearly 3,000 LGBTQIs as far as Iloilo City came to join the Pride March, to show their support and their struggle against a discriminating society.
Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler
The Kadaiyahan festival claimed to be the first Mindanao-wide Pride March, but many on social media pointed out that Davao City previously had 3 Pride March events to their badge.
Kadaiyahan Festival serves as platform to call for action on issues relating to gender equality and LGBTQI rights
Carlo Gabriel Evidente and his Iloilo pride team flew all the way from Iloilo to show their support to the community here.
“We came here to show our support to the LGBTQI communities here in Mindanao, we are here because we are the same,” Evidente said.
Rights organizations also showed up to support their call for equality and acceptance. Balaod Mindanao, Amnesty International, a representative from the Netherlands Embassy, Spark Philippines, Legal Rights and Resource Center, Commission on Human Rights were there chanting with the members of the LGBTQI.
Senator Risa Hontiveros also came and joined the march. “There is still so much to do for your struggle, we all have the right to a flourishing life,” Hontiveros said.
Photo by Angelo Lorenzo/Rappler
“You deserve to say I’m LGBTQI and I am a Muslim, I am a Lumad, I am a Christian,” Hontiveros said.
Representatives from the LGBTQI from the Lumad and even Moro people also came.
The Senate's Anti-Discrimination bill (HB 1271) and its counterpart in the House of Representatives HB 267 has been languishing for 20 years without a sign of it being pass into law.
“We will continue to fight for acceptance and equality," said one of the participants.
CHR lawyer Pilipinas Palma said that the LGBTQI rights are human rights and people must give them human dignity. – Rappler.com