Southeast Asia’s longest-running Pride demonstration marches on

Rosette Adel - Philstar.com
Southeast Asia�s longest-running Pride demonstration marches on
A man walks on steps covered in rainbow colors for Pride Month at Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on June 15, 2019 in New York City. Organizers claim it is the largest LGBT pride flag in New York City and measures around 12 by 100 feet (3.6 x 30 meters).
AFP / Johannes Eisele

MANILA, Philippines — Twenty-five years ago, on June 26, 1994, around 60 members of ProGay Philippines and Metropolitan Community Church organized for the very first Pride March. 

The movement, which held its first March in Quezon City, was dubbed "Stonewall Manila" in commemoration of the Stonewall Inn uprising in Manhattan, New York. Stonewall is considered the beginning of the gay liberation movement and of the modern fight for LGBT rights in the United States.

At present, the Pride March adopted by Filipinos seeks to empower the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA) community. It also aims to create a safe space for its members by working towards gender equality and the legalization of same-sex marriage.

In 25 years, the Metro Manila Pride March has grown from less than a hundred attendees to as many as 25,000.

Last year's Metro Manila Pride March, which had the theme "Rise Up Together", was held at the Marikina Sports Complex and saw a 212.5% increase in attendees, historically the largest march in Southeast Asia.

According to a joint research project by Rainbow Rights Philippines and Metro Manila Pride obtained by Philstar.com, 72% of attendees in 2017 were there for the first time. Around 82% of those at the march in 2018 were also first-timers.

The survey also found that majority of Pride March attendees in those years joined the demonstration "to show support to the community." Around 59% of respondents in 2017 and 80% of respondents in 2018 said they were there to support the community.

RELATED: #RiseupTogether: Colorful moments at Metro Manila Pride March 2018

The same survey showed that in 2017, 87% of attendees identified as LGBTQIA while only 13% categorized themselves as allies.

In 2018, 67% of attendees were LGBTQIA while the proportion of people there as allies jumped to 33%

The study was based on 400 respondents from the 2017 and 2018 Metro Manila Pride march attendees and has a margin of error of ±4.87%.

Before attendance ballooned in 2018, the Metro Manila Pride March in 2012 only had about 1,000 attendees.

Previous Pride marches mostly had love and equality as their theme although the tone is shifting towards resistance and protest against issues that affect the community and the rest of the country..

Here is a rundown of Metro Manila Pride Marches since 2012:

• December 8, 2012; Makati City Hall Quadrangle - 1,500 attendees
Theme: Sari-Sali Pride in Action
•December 7, 2013; Remedios Circle, Malate Manila - 1,000 attendees
Theme: Strength in Colors
•December 6, 2014; Remedios Circle, Malate Manila - 1,000 attendees
Theme:  Come Out for Love Kasi Pag-ibig Pa Rin (Come Out For Love Because It’s Still All About Love)
•June 27, 2015; Rizal Park, Manila - 2,000 attendees
Theme:  Fight For Love: Iba-Iba. Sama-Sama
•June 25, 2016; Lapu-Lapu Monument, Rizal Park, Manila - 5,000 attendees
Theme: Let Love in: Kahit Kanino, Kahit Kailan 
•June 24, 2017; Plaza de los Alcaldes, Marikina City - 8,000 attendees
Theme: #HereTogether 
•June 30, 2018; Marikina Sports Complex - 25,000
Theme: #RiseUpTogether 

This year’s Metro Manila Pride March is themed "Resist Together" as a call to action against the injustice and oppression experienced by the community.

It will be held in Marikina Sports Complex on Saturday.

An organizer told Philstar.com that Metro Manila Pride 2019 eyes a 60% increase in attendees, or a crowd of around 40,000.

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