Oldest Pride in Asia sees 1,500 march in Manila

Groups demand that congress pass the Anti-Discrimination Bill to protect the rights of LGBT people

1,500 people marched for LGBT rights in Manila on Saturday at the 18th Metro Manila Pride parade in the Philippines’ capital.

The primary demand of the dozens of advocacy groups was for congress to pass the Anti-Discrimination Bill.

‘After eighteen years of marching and shouting for our rights, we still do not have the basic law to guarantee that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Filipinos freedom from discrimination,’ said Goya Candelario, spokesperson for ProGay Philippines, the group that pioneered the first Pride march in Asia in 1994.

‘We ask local governments, especially here in Makati city, the business sector, education institutions to protect the rights of LGBTs,’ said Bemz Benedito first congressional nominee of Ladlad, the world’s only LGBT political party, when she addressed the crowd of outside city hall in Makati.

This year’s Metro Manila Pride marched through the financial district of Makati for the first time and the groups asked that the Makati local government pass an anti-discrimination ordinance like one passed in the southern city of Cebu.

Transgender women’s rights group GANDA Filipinas marched in santa dresses with a banner that read ‘Transgender rights are human rights’ and LGBTS Christian Church spread their message that Christianity and homosexuality are not incompatible.

As happens every year, Catholic ‘moralists’ turned-up to protest the parade with banners that read ‘It’s not ok to be gay! It’s a sin!’ and ‘Sexual immorality: the road to AIDS and hell’.

An alliance of GBT groups also called on President Aquino and his cabinet to take HIV tests to help dispel the stigma associated with the disease, which is fueling tragically preventable deaths from AIDS in the Philippines.

ProGay Philippines were also protesting the Cyber Crime Law, currently in congress, that will criminalize transgender sex workers who are safer online than on the streets.

See more photos from Saturday’s parade on the official Facebook page here.

by Anna Leach
Source – Gay Star News