Melanie Nathan – Dec 04-2010 LGBT Activists in the Philippines are pushing for legal rights, to include civil partnership, protection against discrimination at work, in school and hospitals, as well as other rights which have been denied them. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transexuals and supporters came out onto the streets of Quezon City wearing extravagant costumes and riding colorful floats to celebrate gay pride. LezGetReal has supporters in the area who e-mailed and expressed great excitement at the chance to express their pride.
This year’s theme “One Love” was to highlight that “we are all one humanity who shaare the same love,” explains Rica Paras,the vice president of STRAP, or Transexual Women of the Philippines. “We are in the streets because we want to declare that we exist while, at the same time, asking for compassion and sympathy [because] we are marginalized and we are seeking a quality life,” Paras told ABC-CBN News.
“We are in the process of making sure that the anti-discrimination bill is passed in congress to protect the LGBT community.” Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casiño commented that gatherings of support such as this provide a critical element to passage of non discrimination laws, such as the Anti-Discrimination Bill which having been stalled will stand a chance of consideration if a critical mass were to develop; “Congress has a macho culture. Despite its posturing that it is a democratic institution, in many ways, it is still difficult to push for democratic legislation. Plus, the fact also that the Philippines, being a predominantly Catholic country, [brings in] a religious aspect [into the congressional debates]. These are the things we are up against,” he said.