Thursday, July 07, 2011

Pro-gay groups parade in the Philippines

Supporters of LGBT show a placard during a parade Wednesday, July 6, 2011 in Los Banos in Laguna province.

/ July 7, 2011) - More than 500 people supporting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) gathered at the University of the Philippines here and paraded in an effort to raise awareness about human rights for gay people.

Dubbed as "Shameless, Fearless Equality," the July 6 parade was organized by the LGBT group called "UPLB Babaylan" and was also joined by party-list groups Bayan Muna and Gabriela.

A giant rainbow flag carried by paraders snaked through the major car lanes around the forested university. Students supporting LGBT demanded justice for murdered gays and to put a stop to the rising anti-gay messages from what they called "hate groups."

The school icon, a nude male figure called Oblation, was festooned with giant butterfly-shape wings in the colors of the rainbow to symbolize the flight of gay rights in the campus.

The left-wing Bayan alliance also held a simultaneous sympathy LGBT pride parade in Rosario town in Cavite province. “We are overjoyed to see overwhelming support of even from heterosexuals, despite threats of bad weather and the short notice we issued,” PROGAY Southern Tagalog spokesperson Corinna Hope Marañan said in a statement sent to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.

Rep. Teddy Casiño, of the BAYAN MUNA party-list and Laguna provincial board member Angelica Alarva, of the National Movement of Young Legislators, supported the Pride parade.

Also present was the controversial Metropolitan Community Church, the gay religious group that set the city of Baguio abuzz with a publicized same sex wedding for eight homosexual couples.

"We decided to organize this Pride march in support of our brothers and sisters in other parts of the country who are presently being persecuted and even killed on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity," said Jan Erick Abay Alim, who serves as the Punong Babaylan or head shaman of UPLB Babaylan.

Alim was referring to the frenzy of anti-gay actions initiated by Catholic groups in Baguio in response to the same-sex union ceremonies. He claimed that even in UP Los Baños, considered as the bastion of democracy in the region, rights of the LGBT are continuously violated.

"Some transgendered students are prohibited to express their gender identity, on the pain of not being allowed to graduate," Alim said.

He said the parade was likened to a "sounding board" to the campus community to report to UPLB Babaylan any incidents of violence, hate language and discriminatory acts against LGBTs.

The group has submitted to Rep. Raymond Palatino, of KABATAAN Youth party-list, a partial list of violations that school authorities allegedly inflicted on some transgender and lesbian students in connection with the congressman's measure, House Resolution No. 1333, that called for the investigation of unjust discrimination against LGBT in schools.

BAYAN MUNA Southern Tagalog coordinator Adrianne Mark Ng ended the parade with a somber candle-lighting memorial for 160 LGBTs murdered since 1996.

House Bill 1483 or the “Anti-Discrimination Bill” is authored by Casiño, a steadfast straight supporter of LGBT rights. He also authored House Bill 4385 calling for a declaration of a National Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, which the participating organizations also supported.

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