The Philippine LGBT+ community had it’s 24th Metro Manila Pride March and Festival on the 30th of June.
It was my second time attending but now as a volunteer together with my friends.
It was also my first time volunteering in such a big event so I can just imagine the introvert and anxious me the day before the event.
This didn’t stop me since I really want to give back something to the community that has secured me a safe and loving space.
We were asked to help around in different committees. Since our job is more about gathering orgs for the parade, we anticipated the orgs assigned to us around 12 noon when the gates were expected to open.
Our zone was near the stage so I was able to witness most of the spectacular performances.
My favorite part of the program was the moment volunteers went up the stage with different flags representing the different sexualities and genders in our community as Andra Day’s Rise Up played in the background. I’m so glad Pride acknowledged them this year and I hope they would keep acknowledging them in the coming Pride march and festivals.
The historic step-off of the 24th Metro Manila Pride March got delayed and it rained hard before our zone and some the zones before us were able to march. Undeterred, these wonderful people were still able to make it like a party.
I remember my first Pride March was quite emotional for me. Now that I got to be a volunteer, I could see people getting ready to march and how eager and excited they were especially the first-timers. It made my heart sing with joy and pride for all of us.
Of course, there would always be the anti-gay, homophobic protesters but who cares? We’ve got each other’s love to drown their hate.
What I also love about Pride are the witty and colorful placards people create and carry with them. I admire them for showing their statement of what they are or what they are fighting for. That’s why I am glad Angelica Reyes from facebook posted about Pride being a protest and explaining why (It’s in Filipino but if you can’t understand, just tell me and I am willing to translate it for you in English.)
Yes, pride is a protest. It is not just a celebration but also a revolution. “Remember: The first Pride was a riot” (I read this somewhere). I also found a photo online of gays holding a banner saying “Stonewall means fight back! Smash gay opression!” We won’t have this yearly March and Festival if it isn’t for the LGBTs back then that finally fought back for their rights, our rights. We wouldn’t have come this far if it isn’t for them.
But of course the fight is still not over. We are still fighting for our rights to exist without prosecution and other people who are experiencing the same discrimination and oppression.
With this year’s theme as Rise Up Together, it is only appropriate to stand up and rise up against discrimination and oppression — TOGETHER. We are not alone in this. We’ve got each other’s back and our allies who are willing to take a stand with and for us.
Being a volunteer at this event is one of the best experience I ever have. I got to talk with others, which is a move that I don’t usually do, but being able to guide and answer people’s questions is fulfilling.
It was tiring, my feet were already killing me before the March starts and I am not really feeling that well at the end of the March but seeing everyone safe, smiling, enjoying and loving the moment make everything worth it. So worth it.
Just knowing that I’m able to help and contribute in this wonderful community with my friends is a great accomplishment.
So if you have time to volunteer next year with your friends, please do so! Pride needs a lot of help from everyone. You will definitely meet and interact with people who have the same views and passion: Making Pride a fun, safe, and loving space.
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The Pride March and Festival ended past 11 PM literally with a bang:
Pride Month might be over but it doesn’t mean that we will stop living for who we are and fighting for our rights. PRIDE lives on in every one of us in this community.
See you again next year!!