'Pride' Is A Long History Of Struggle For The LGBTQ+ Community

By: Francis Lianro Bulado


The month of June marks the celebration of LGBTQIA+ Month or popularly known as the Gay Pride Month where members of the community and even allies celebrate in a number of different ways with Pride Parade as the most anticipated event.


Pride Parade in the Philippines | Photo from TripZilla.ph
'Pride' Is A Long History Of Struggle For The LGBTQ+ Community | Photo from TripZilla.ph

While many Filipinos think that Pride Month is merely about marching in the street with drag queens and people wearing unique outfits inspired by the color of the rainbow, the celebration actually highlights the struggles of individuals from this community.


In the 1900s, it was illegal in New York City to solicit homosexual relations and thousands of gay people were publicly humiliated or harassed, therefore gay bars were havens and safe places for gay men and lesbians.


An appealing Anti-gay video from the 1950s that warned boys against homosexuality which an obvious act of discrimination and ignorance.


However, many of these establishments were frequently harassed by the authorities. It was during this month that the movement accelerated to what we are celebrating this month as we commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, New York, which was a turning point in the United States' Gay Liberation Movement as well as the world's call for equality. On June 28, 1969, a group of police invaded a popular bar that functioned as a gathering place for young LGBTQIA+ individuals and detained the staff for allegedly offering liquors without a license, but customers outside the bar did not flee and fought for what they believed was right, which resulted in a riot. This historical event became a symbol of resistance to any state-sponsored violence and homosexual discrimination.


In the Philippines, the first Pride Parade can be traced back to June 26, 1994, which happened in Quezon City, an event dubbed "Stonewall Manila or "Pride Revolution" as a commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, and about 50 members of the LGBTQIA+ groups from the Progressing Organization of Gays (ProGay) and Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) helmed a marched from Quezon Boulevard to the Quezon Memorial Circle. This transpired the Philippines as the first country in Asia and the Pacific to hold a march related to Pride.


The first Pride march in the Philippines | Photo By: Fr. Richard Mickley
The first Pride march in the Philippines | Photo By: Fr. Richard Mickley

For some, Pride month is a form of protest to end inhumane treatment among those people in the marginalized sector. Despite the efforts of people from the past to make the lives of the members of the LGBTQIA+ more bearable, gender-based violence is still evident and present in today's society.


Jennifer Laude, a transgender woman from the Philippines, died in a hotel room in Olongapo City on October 11, 2014, after Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton, a member of the United States Marine Corps in the nation for joint military operations, realized she was transgender. Pemberton was found guilty of strangling and drowning Laude to death, but Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte used his executive power to grant him a pardon.


On January 26, 2021, in Negros Oriental, a member of the LGBTQIA+ community was shot and killed inside a car parked on the roadside of the Diversion Road in Barangay Isugan, Municipality of Bacong.

These are only a handful of the numerous documented accounts of violence that the members of the LGBTQ+ community has been subjected to in the country. To address this, Senator Risa Hontiveros, Representatives Geraldine Roman, and Tom Villarin introduced the SOGIE Equality Bill in Congress, which aims to eradicate gender-based discrimination. Several government officials, on the other hand, saw the law as dubious and ambiguous. As of May 2019, it was the Senate's longest-running measure during the interpolation period, however it was turned down because Senate President Sotto III stated that the SOGIE Equality Bill had little chance of passing. Hontiveros then reintroduced the proposed legislation in the 18th Congress on December 2020.


Members of the LGBTQIA+ community have already gone through a lot of grief and suffering, and stories of being treated unfairly, being denied of basic human rights, and being forced to hide their true identity from the past to the present are reflections of the kind of society we live in. We can only claim that the constitution's provisions on equal protection under the law have been protected if we integrate their struggles into our political agenda. Hitherto, the history of all gender-based violence is the reflection of our deteriorating patriarchal system.